City of Hamilton debating ways to “beautify” construction sites

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

With a goal of reducing the damage they say has happened to “the Hamilton brand,” city council is asking developers to reduce the amount of hoarding that is happening around construction sites. 

he goal, according to Mayor Fred Eisenberger, is to make building sites – including an area on King Street in the downtown – more appealing.

Councillors are encouraging developers to “beautify” their hoarding and construction materials when they start building in the city to replace what has become a “blighted war zone” in parts of the community.

“The effort here is to try and make it a much more attractive process,” said Eisenberger said, who introduced a motion at a planning committee meeting last week, requesting staff to allow developers to have better-looking hoarding around construction sites. 

Eisenberger said instead of plywood and other barriers that are usually installed as part of the hoarding process, developers could include advertising, public art or even an artist rendering of the proposed building under construction. He used Europe as an example, where developers install screens of the building design “so it doesn’t look like an unsightly construction site.”

Construction projects are booming in Hamilton this year — with the city seeing a record $1 billion in building permits  — and construction site hoarding is attracting ugly graffiti transforming the building locations into “massive eyesores.”

If approved, the plan could force developers to hire local artists.

Although hoarding is overseen by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Eisenberger said he hopes Hamilton officials can convince the province to change the regulation with improved bylaws “that have teeth.”

Staff is expected to present updated hoarding guidelines will be presented to councillors later this year.

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