To Members of NEN and Residents of the North End,

Recently a flyer was distributed in the North End advertising the NEN Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on October 7th at HWT Centre. The flyer commented on a number of issues and our Councillor Jason Farr has taken issue with its contents. NEN would like to make clear its position on the Flyer and clarify its position on the issues raised in the flyer.

First, the flyer was written by an ad-hoc group of interested residents of the North End, some of whom were and are members of NEN. The Board of NEN did not write the flyer, nor did it officially endorse the contents.

Some board members were aware of this ad-hoc group as there was much discussion about Sarcoa related noise complaints and Waterfront development amongst North End residents in the weeks leading up to NEN’s AGM. It appears that this ad-hoc group sought to get people to attend the AGM and distributed a flyer outlining several issues of concern to them, as well as the date, time, and location of the NEN AGM.

Contact information for the NEN President and Secretary were included at the bottom of the flyer. This information is publicly available to anyone, but NEN recognizes that its inclusion gave the flyer the appearance of being a NEN flyer; it was not. It is NEN practice to use NEN letterhead or include our logo on official communications to avoid this sort of confusion.

We have written this letter to clarify the NEN’s Board position about the points raised in the flyer.

  • Noise – NEN is very aware of noise issues in the neighbourhood, and especially those related to music being played on Sarcoa’s outdoor patio. Several Board meetings have been attended by residents with concerns about this issue. We have been in contact with City of Hamilton Bylaw Enforcement, and the Manager of Sarcoa attended a recent Board meeting. We have on-going concerns about this issue and are not satisfied that Sarcoa will respect its North End neighbours and comply with all City By-laws in future with respect to noise and the playing of loud music after 11pm on their outdoor patio. It concerns us that Sarcoa has attempted to gain a legal exemption for their activities. We are also concerned that one of the clauses in the West Harbour Zoning Bylaw currently under appeal at the OMB appears to exempt future outdoor patios on Piers 6 and 7 from a Zoning Bylaw provision that prohibits amplified music or live entertainment on outdoor patios.
  • Traffic – NEN worked hard to get a Traffic Management Plan into our neighbourhood. A major concern during the Setting Sail planning process was the impact of proposed residential development on Piers 7 and 8. In order to have these concerns addressed NEN (and others) filed an OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) appeal in relation to the Traffic Management Plan included in Setting Sail. During the subsequent hearing at the OMB, the City’s expert witness, a land use planner retained by the City, testified “that in Setting Sail, Pier 8 is designated primarily for residential use and that Pier 7 is designated for mixed-use development, with about 750 residential units presently planned for Piers 7 and 8.” NEN wishes to acknowledge that Councilor Jason Farr was not yet a member of Hamilton City Council during the Setting Sail Public Process and may be unaware of this number and how it relates to the Traffic Management Plan. We also wish to clarify that our OMB appeal of Setting Sail pertained to the Traffic Management Plan, not the entirety of Setting Sail. NEN supports the responsible redevelopment of the West Harbour, including Piers 7 and 8.
  • Housing Mix – NEN has seen no plans for future high rise development at the city housing site between James and MacNab. We understand the area is zoned Medium Density Residential 1(60 -150 units per gross hectare, 3 – 5 stories) in Setting Sail.
  • Parks – NEN has opposed using Bayview Park as an underground parking garage since the idea first surfaced in 2010 as part of the West Harbour Waterfront Recreation Master Plan. Our concerns have increased as the Official Plan Amendment (OPA) that adopts the Hamilton West Harbour Recreation Master Plan as part of Setting Sail takes Bayview Park from “stable areas” designation in the original Setting Sail Secondary Plan, where it appears to be protected from major change, and places it within the purview of the Hamilton West Harbour Recreation Master Plan—a plan that shows it becoming an Underground Parking Garage.
  • Listening to Neighbours – Our Councillor, Jason Farr, has told NEN that he will not discuss matters before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in advance of any proceedings. There is some confusion as to which matters are relevant to the OMB appeal and therefore off limits for discussion. We acknowledge that certain subtle differences may have led to a misunderstanding or mischaracterization by others of our Councillor’s position on communication and dialogue with NEN. Jason has engaged in dialogue with us on many other matters.
  • Finally, NEN will continue to advocate on behalf of its members and our North End neighbours/residents. NEN has taken an active interest in planning and development matters over the years, because it believes that the North End neighbourhood should remain a neighbourhood where families can live and enjoy life. NEN advances the health and safety of our neighbourhood by working for a friendly walkable, bikeable community, welcoming and safe for all.

    Setting Sail gives us some protection stating as changes happen in the West Harbour, “both on the Waterfront and in the neighbourhood, it is important to ensure new development respects and enhances the character of the neighbourhood”.

    North End residents must be viewed as stakeholders and consulted in matters that directly impact North End residents and our quality of life. We do not have a default position on what is “good” for our neighbourhood or the areas near it and seek the input and guidance of North End residents on the positions and actions that NEN takes on behalf of its members.
    We encourage all interested North End residents to become members of NEN (membership is free) and participate directly in NEN.

    Thank you,
    North End Neighbours Board of Directors October 16, 2014