Majority favour expansion of Hamilton urban boundary – Nanos research

By Mike Collins-Williams
November 09, 2021

A new scientific survey conducted by one of the top professional research firms in Canada, Nanos Research, found that Hamilton residents prefer balanced growth that comes with a small urban boundary expansion. The Nanos poll of 700 randomly selected residents, found that 38 per cent of respondents want the city of Hamilton to expand the urban boundary, while 32 per cent prefer to keep it the same. One of the most concerning finds of the Nanos survey is that only one in five respondents even recalled receiving the survey on urban boundary expansion and intensification the City of Hamilton mailed out earlier this summer.

“The fact that only 20 per cent of Hamilton residents even recall receiving an official survey from the City of Hamilton on how the city could grow suggests that the other study is not representative of the views of residents,” says Nik Nanos, chief data scientist of Nanos Research. In fact, 87.9 per cent of the younger residents (ages 18 to 34) – who were twice as likely to prefer expanding the urban boundary (51 per cent) compared to older residents of Hamilton who are 55 and older (26 per cent) – do not remember receiving it at all.

Very good place to live

The Nanos Research found that although 45 per cent of participants rated Hamilton as a very good place to live and raise a family, 43 per cent rated their city “very poor” as a place where one can afford to buy a home. More than three in four residents (76 per cent) say they would consider moving out of Hamilton and to a nearby community if their preferred type of housing was not available for the price they could afford. Since 2015, Hamilton has been losing some of its younger residents to neighbouring communities due to increasing costs of housing in the city. This exodus of young talent and families represents a multi-million-dollar loss of annual municipal tax revenue that could eventually result in a decline in economic activity and growth.

Today, over eight in 10 residents say they are concerned (66 per cent) or somewhat concerned (16 per cent) about the cost of housing in Hamilton. In order to tackle the skyrocketing housing prices and address the rapid population growth, Hamilton needs balanced growth solutions that include growing upward with taller buildings around transit and central arteries, inward with denser infill housing in existing neighbourhoods and, outward with new complete communities built on existing and new greenfield sites at the edges of the city. A growing city requires more diversity in housing options and housing choices – no less.

Strong focus

The provincial government has a strong focus on ensuring municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas build enough new housing to respond to a growing population and that the new housing built is based on demographic and market demand.

It is critical that the City of Hamilton make realistic and achievable plans to respond to population growth and to provide stability through new housing supply of all types to future renters and owners. Hamilton can balance our new growth to meet the needs of our community and aim to ensure residents can find housing that suits their needs, no matter their stage of life.

About Mike Collins-Williams

Mike Collins-Williams, RPP, MCIP, is CEO West End Home Builders’ Association.

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