Hamilton Artist Update: #H24

Hamilton Artist Update 20 – a weekly review of art related activities by Chris Erskine.

This week:

  1. June 3rd – Open House for the Heritage Inventory Project held at Whitehern Mansion
  2. June 6th – Final demolition of the James Street Baptist Church
  3. June 7th – Hamilton 24 Hour Film Festival

 

June 3, 2014: Open House for the Heritage Inventory Project

Hamilton City Staff held an open house for the report submitted to City Council a few weeks ago.  The report created rationale for what should or should not be designated as heritage buildings.  This rationale will apply across different communities that once had their own systems.  As a test, the city staff examined the downtown core to determine what buildings might be recognized.  As a result, nearly 1,000 buildings were identified as heritage designated worthy.

 

June 6, 2014: Final demolition of the James Street Baptist Church

As reported earlier, the developer appeared to be moving quickly to complete the demolition process and this assessment proved correct when the balance of the building was demolished on Friday.  Friends and twitter traffic noted the demolition.  A co-worker took the following photos of the demolition around 8 am on Friday morning.

Raise the Hammer covered the story but the comments still focused on the merits of the demolition rather than the process of approval.  It is still my impression that this demolition was ok by a few community volunteers and city staff.  I am not aware of any politician actually voting for its acceptance.  Again, it is my understanding that community volunteers gave a partial alteration permit to do essentially a partial demolition.  This label allowed the permit to bypass the Heritage Committee, the Planning and Economic Development Committee, and City Council. Thus no elected officially actually approved the decision.  It is also my understanding that the decision to accept this process was ok by city staff.  There is also the question of the list of conditions.  The Permits Committee set a list of conditions, but where and when were these conditions addressed by the above committees?

James Street Baptist Church - Friday morning
James Street Baptist Church – Friday morning

 

James St. Baptist Church Demolition
James St. Baptist Church Demolition
James Street Baptist Church Partial Demolition on June 6, 2014
James Street Baptist Church Partial Demolition on June 6, 2014

 

June 7, 2014: Hamilton 24 Hour Film Festival

On Saturday morning, we got our marching orders for the 2014 Hamilton 24 Hour Film fest.  This year’s challenge was to use the following items in a 5 minute or less film.

Line: Carpe diem. Seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.

Prop: Watering can

Location: by Candle light

The kick off was held at the 41 King Williams on the 3rd floor.  It was very much twenties to thirties crowd.  I have since discovered that some of the other teams are very experienced.  I saw one photo of a team using a “Black Magic” 4K camera, these things are very expensive.  Also, some seemed to have access to professional editing equipment.  Meanwhile, I sat in Tim Hortons’s doing my film editing on my laptop.  I am very proud of my creative team and I believed we did a very good job, much better than I was originally expecting.  Hopefully we will make it into the top 10.  There were 35 teams at the start but only 27 submitted by the 9 am deadline on Sunday.  I can’t believe how tired I was from the storyboarding, filming, and editing.  Other members of the team felt the same way.  We find out the results this Friday.

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

 

 

5×5 James Street Baptist Church – June 6, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014 – the developer of the James Baptist Church began the final phase of the demolition.  They started around 7 am in the morning and according to friends, the process was complete by early afternoon.  Here are the sights and sounds of the site in the early evening, around 7:00 pm.

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

 

5×5 Hamilton’s Heritage Inventory Project – June 3, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014 – Hamilton City Staff presented the results of their efforts to create a criteria for selecting important heritage buildings from different period of Hamilton’s history at an open house.  The event occurred at the 1850s Whitehern mansion, located just a block away from the partially demolished James Street Baptist Church.  Here are the sights and sounds of the late afternoon event.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

5X5 Update 1: James St. Baptist Church

Five different shots, each lasting five seconds, using natural sounds.  James Street Baptist Church on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Hamilton Artist Update 19: James Street Baptist Church

Special thanks to the blogger of NotMyTypeWriter who flagged to my attention the start of the external demolition of the James Street Baptist Church.  She writes a great blog and I encourage everyone to take look at her postings.

Always amazed by the number of people who stop and comment on heritage when I do my filming.  It is too bad that I never have the camera on when they start to talk.

As I mention in the video, my principle concern with the partial demolition of the James Street Baptist Church is the process and the role the Heritage Permit Review Committee played.  I emailed the City Manager several weeks ago to ask him to look into the decision-making process.

At the rate that the demolition is going, I would suspect that most of the building will be demolished by the end of June. So, if you want to see the James Street Baptist Church you better do it now.

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

Letter to City Manager – Re: James St. Baptist

May 21, 2014

Attn: City Manager

I wish to express my concern over the recent approval process for a partial demolition of the James Street Baptist Church.

It is my understanding that the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee recommended the granting of a demolition permit based on the Developer fulfilling a number of conditions.

This Committee (made up of community volunteers), then directed City Staff to ensure that the conditions were fulfilled before allowing the partial demolition by the Developer.

It is also my understanding that the Director of Planning approved the permit without the decision coming before the Heritage Committee or City Council.  Apparently, there is a committee bylaw that allows for minor alternations to heritage designated buildings to be addressed by City Staff.

It is my view that recommendations by the Permits Sub-Committee (an advisory committee made up of community volunteers) should have their decision reviewed and approved by the Heritage Committee, the Economic Planning Committee, and then by City Council. I believe my view of the decision making process is supported by the mandate descriptions of each of these committees.

If my information is correct, then a bylaw intended for minor decisions was used to make a significant impact to a heritage designated building.  I do not feel volunteers and city staff should be placed in such a decision-making role.  Such decisions are the responsibility of elected city leaders.

Finally, I am concern that no elected officials reviewed the efforts of City Staff to ensure that the conditions were addressed.

While I support the James Street Baptist Church project, because the City deemed the building to be unsafe, I am concern over future demolition requests.  Elected officials could easily be bypassed by City Staff on such important issues as the Hermitage Ruins or the Kerr Buildings.

I would appreciate you looking into this situation, and if required, ensured that good decision-making procedures are established.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hamilton Artist Update for April 21, 2014.

A weekly review of art related activities by artist, Chris Erskine.  Updates are posted every Monday.

This week:

  1. Heritage Decision-Making Questioned
  2. Another Demolition in the Works
  3. Historical TH&B Bridge Prepares to Come Down
  4. Putting Hamilton into Updates
  5. Sounds Better – new equipment

 

  1. Heritage Decision-Making Questioned

The Durand Neighbourhood Association questioned why the Heritage Permit Review Sub- Committee’s decision to allow the partial demolition of the James Street Baptist Church in Hamilton Ontario was not reviewed and approved by the Hamilton Municipal Heritage Committee and Hamilton City Council.  The Heritage Committee argued that the Permits Committee had the authority to delegate decision-making to staff.

 

  1. Another Demolition in the Works

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is seeking the partial demolition of the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster, Ontario.  The HCA wants to demolish the surviving walls to a height of three feet.  The request goes before the Heritage Permit Review Sub-Committee this Wednesday (April 23, 2014).

 

  1. Historical TH&B Bridge Prepares to Come Down

The City of Hamilton is preparing to demolish the last surviving TH&B Bridge.  The Bridge was built in 1894 and provided street access over the railway line that cuts through the Durand and Corktown neighbourhoods.

 

  1. Putting Hamilton into Updates

To make the Updates more unique, I have changed the title of the Updates from Monday’s Artist Update to Hamilton Artist Update.  Hopefully, this will make it easier to locate within Google and Youtube searches.

  1. Sounds Better – new equipment

As anyone who follows my blog knows, good quality sound has been a challenge.  This past week, I started using the Rode shotgun microphone with a dead-cat wind screen.  The results seem fairly good and will help with outdoor location shootings.