I have been a proud resident of the Hamilton area most of my life. I have travelled fairly extensively and I feel our deep water, bountiful farmland, rolling topography, recreational parks and trails makes us as good as any place on earth and better than most.
That being said - we do have some problems. We have a reputation and I feel we have earned it - of being a difficult city to do business. The common phrase - Go to Brantford and they roll out the red carpet, Go to Hamilton and they roll out the red tape!
Now I have friends who work for the city and for all accounts seem sincere and hard working. When I go to City Hall, people are friendly and appear to genuinely want to help. Why are we bogging down? Is it our elected officials? As much as they irritate me from time to time, I don't think so. I think it's continuity, we have somewhere around forty departments in the city, each one with an inflated opinion of themselves. I believe they not only do not work together but actively try to sabotage other departments in an attempt to enhance their own importance. This policy has been deteriorating for some years and the distrust and resentments are choking our cities ability to more forward in difficult times.
A perfect example would be the Pearl Company, an art gallery and performance art centre started in an old factory in the Beasley area. This building, although steeped in character was destined to become low income housing. When they bought the property gaining rave reviews from their own neighbours and community recognition for miles, so much so that council and planning recognized that a solution to these beautiful old buildings might have fallen in their laps. Now some departments worked diligently to try and accomodate them so that something so clearly beneficial to the city could operate legally, the by-law department worked just as diligently to shut them down - only to desist under court instruction. We need one city hall working in unison for all people!