When he was building his business in Hamilton would Ron Joyce let someone build a Tim Horton's on one of our corners before he first made sure there would be customers for the location? Not likely. Before we spend $81.5 million on wholesale changes in Harbour West as recommended to Council by Mr. Stewart, staff and consultants, could we look at the customer data:
- Is there any evidence that Hamiltonians who live in Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, Stoney Creek, the West Mountain, the East Mountain, or Winona have been just waiting in their homes for the City to make huge changes in the facilities in Harbour West. I wonder if we could find 100 people in all those areas who actually care? Sort of like the Sodom and Gamorrah test before the City rains fire and brimstone on the existing infrastructure. Should the City not complete basic consumer research to determine "need" before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants designing solutions, let alone before any project is seriously considered? What if we asked the "customer" question and found out that the people in Waterdown are more concerned about the recreational facilities close to them than they are in Harbour West? What if the 81.5 million dollars provided a day at the water's edge for say 10,000 people per year, or $8150.00 per customer? Is that a wise investment? Can anyone show it would be more than 10,000 people per year?
- This project is being sold on the basis that it will help rescue Hamilton's downtown. Is there one bit of data that supports this prophecy? Lets apply the Sodom and Gamorrah test here as well: Are there 30, even 20, even 10 restaurant owners in the downtown who think their downtown businesses will increase and prosper and they will get more customers if the City builds restaurants and meeting rooms on the Harbour West shoreline? In other words, is consumer demand entirely elastic in Hamilton?
- How much is this project needed by the Pubic Works Department, in other words, what amount of construction, planning and maintenance staff will be needed over the project's life? How much will it add to the Department's budget every year? Is that kind of increase really needed by anyone other than the bureaucracy?
The fundamental question: Is the Emperor wearing any clothes or is this all fantasy?