City mulls buy­ing for­mer hospi­tal lands on Moun­tain

Site des­ig­na­tion al­lows for some res­i­den­tial use

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - MARK NEW­MAN

The city is con­tem­plat­ing a mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar pur­chase of for­mer Hamil­ton Psy­chi­atric Hospi­tal land on the west Moun­tain.

“I think this is our last bas­tion of premium land on the west Moun­tain and this is a real op­por­tu­nity to leave a legacy-type plan­ning process that truly cel­e­brates this lo­ca­tion,” said Ward 8 Coun. Terry Whitehead, who rep­re­sents the area.

He said he sup­ports pur­chas­ing the 8.7-hectare prop­erty next to St. Joseph Health­care Hamil­ton’s West 5th cam­pus, which stretches north from Fen­nell Av­enue West to the Moun­tain brow.

The land is owned by the prov­ince, which has de­clared it sur­plus and to be sold off. The sale would not in­clude the am­bu­lance com­mu­ni­ca­tion cen­tre and pub­lic health lab near Fen­nell Av­enue.

Whitehead said by pur­chas­ing the land, the city would de­ter­mine the use of the prop­erty and could gen­er­ate rev­enue by sell­ing off a por­tion of the site with the ap­pro­pri­ate zon­ing in place.

He noted the city would also be able to save the Cen­tury Manor build­ing, which dates back to 1884 and car­ries an On­tario Her­itage Act des­ig­na­tion.

Whitehead agreed the cost would likely be “sev­eral” mil­lion dol­lars.

Queen’s Park has in­di­cated it will be giv­ing the city another 2.9 hectares of wood­land and green space along the Moun­tain brow to the north and west of the site. This land is deemed en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive.

Chris­tine New­bold, the city’s man­ager of com­mu­nity plan­ning and geographic in­for­ma­tion sys­tems, said the prop­erty is des­ig­nated for a num­ber of uses.

“The lands are des­ig­nated ma­jor-in­sti­tu­tional in the of­fi­cial plan which al­lows a va­ri­ety of in­sti­tu­tional uses as well as some low- to medium-(den­sity) res­i­den­tial uses,” she said.

Low-den­sity uses in­clude sin­gle and semi-de­tached homes and town­houses, New­bold said. The city has be­gun a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process to help it de­ter­mine whether to pur­chase the land and what it should be used for.

About 50 peo­ple at­tended a com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion meet­ing at Mo­hawk Col­lege re­cently. On the mat­ter of land use, New­bold said the pub­lic wanted to see as much land as pos­si­ble pre­served as park­land or open space for pas­sive re­cre­ation such as walk­ing trails. They also said the city should con­sider in­sti­tu­tional uses for the prop­erty but main­tain the open space con­cept.

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