[ Cue Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song please ]
Now, this is the story all about how My City got flipped, turned upside-down.
And I’d like to take a minute, Just sit right there.
I’d like to tell you why I decided to stay right here.
In Hamilton, Ontario born and raised – it was the Bruce Trail, Bayfront, Gage Park and the West Mountain where I spent most of my days.
Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool, I just finished up Real Estate school. When a bunch of guys,
Who only meant good,
Started making conversation in the neighbourhood.
It started a debate and some got scared
I said thats it, I`m movin’ my business outta here!
The debate I speak of is the ever-so-sensitive “Stadium Debate”. The one I think most people try to forget. At least I do.
Just to be clear, yes, the opening lines of this article were a parody of the intro song from The Fresh Prince of Bel- Air. However,this article is no parody. It’s the real story of why I almost left Hamilton.
I was 23, just completing my first year in the real estate business. Things were good, but I like to believe I’m a long-term thinker. The “Stadium Debate” was heated and had the city divided. West Harbour or a facelift of the existing location? Keep the Tiger Cats or let them go?
This debate shook my confidence in the city I loved. How would I grow a business in this city? It was then that I started to look at other cities in which I could build my business. It made sense to look elsewhere, as everywhere around Hamilton had higher property values. Real estate works on percentage-based commission, and so the math is easy: higher property values equal a more profitable business. I was ready to go, convinced there was a better place for me. Goodbye Hamilton, it was nice while it lasted. Good luck with your “Stadium debate” and your other issues.
Then it struck me. I couldn’t give up on this city just yet! I made a commitment to myself that I would not sit back and complain about these issues when I’ve done nothing to contribute to a change. From that point I jumped in headfirst. I found Hamilton Hive and joined up with YEP Hamilton (Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals – a division of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce). I realized I was not alone. There were many others from many different industries doing the same thing. All were committed to one thing: to make Hamilton the best place it can be. Since then I’ve embraced everything Hamilton. I’m a walking, talking billboard for this great city. I’ve invested in the core and continue to do so. I’m even moving into one of the newest condo developments (Witton Lofts). This city has come a long way in the last couple of years. Successes include the completion of the Farmer’s Market and Library, The Lister Block, new hotels, new restaurants, an expansion of Williams Cafe, a new outdoor roller skating/ice rink, two-way street conversions with more to come, numerous condo developments, plans for a grocery store in Jackson Square, all-day GO service coming to Liuna Station, another billion-dollar year in building permits, national recognition as the #1 place to invest in real estate, and achievement of the highest level of new industrial/commercial activity in CANADA!
I’m not naïve enough to think that all of our problems are solved. But I encourage you to look closely, and you’ll see that this is a great city. Before we reactively criticise City Council or attack other opinions, ask yourself what you’re doing to make this city better. This is your Hamilton. Make it the best it can be.
DEREK DOYLE is a born and raised Hamiltonian, passionate about promoting Hamilton to all the naysayers. Derek is a full-time licensed Realtor with Royal LePage State Realty were he strives to always exceed client expectations. Derek’s services extend beyond real estate; he now offers full service construction management to all his clients in an effort to always go above and beyond. Derek can be reached at 905 574-4600 – firstname.lastname@example.org – www.derekdoyle.ca. He urges all Hamiltonians to speak positively about our city and take advantage of all it has to offer.