Insauga: Hamilton renter activists succeed as realtor’s tax grant application nixed, for now

Posted October 7, 2021

For the second time in the past 30 days, a City of Hamilton committee has shot down a private equity firm’s tax increment grant bid after hearing delegations from Hamilton ACORN representatives.

In a 5-4 vote with one abstention, the general issues committee rejected five grant applications from Malleum Real Estate Management en masse on Wednesday. All together, Malleum was seeking about $152,000 in grants.

The members of Hamilton ACORN, a tenant union that represents low- to moderate-income people in the city, will have wait and see whether the decision is ratified by the full council on Friday this time.

The last time that it delegated against a Malleum application on Sept. 8, the general issues committee concurred and turned down the grant, against the advice of staff. The full council, though, reversed the decision a few days later, which rendered the earlier decision symbolic.

Malleum, which HamiltonACORN says engages in renovictions, was seeking grants at five different properties in the lower city:

  • 675-681 Barton St. E., for an estimate in the range of $45,000, over nine years;
  • 571-575 King St. E. and 6-8 Steven St. for about $19,000 over a maximum of five years;
  • 408-414 King St. E. and 4 Victoria Ave. S. for about $24,800 over a maximum of five years;
  • 152-154 James St. N. and 4-6 Cannon St. E. for about $32,400 over a maximum of five years;
  • 289-293 Kenilworth Ave. N., for about $30,720 over a max of nine years.

Councillors John-Paul Danko (Ward 8), Tom Jackson (Ward 6), Nrinder Nann (Ward 3), Esther Pauls (Ward 7) and Maureen Wilson (Ward 1) voted down the motion. Three of the applications involved properties in Nann’s ward.

The yes votes came from Ward 9 Coun. Brad Clark, along with three councillors who represent suburban and rural areas: Couns. Lloyd Ferguson, (Ward 12), Brenda Johnson (11) and Judi Partridge (15). Ward 10 Coun. Maria Pearson, who was chairing the meeting, did not vote.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who voted for Malleum’s earlier application at committee and in front full council, was absent on Wednesday.

The James North/Cannon application is in Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr’s area and the Kenilworth one is in Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla’s area. Both representatives were also absent on Wednesday.

 

 

 

Renter groups and other social justice advocates have been calling on Hamilton’s elected leadership to address property-flipping and renovictions for quite some time.

City council says it is looking at ways to curb property-flipping. One proposed rule is to require that vacant properties must be empty for two years before a grant can be applied for, and that applicant must be receiving some form of government affordable housing funding. Installing those rules would involve revising the city’s Downtown and Community Renewal Community Improvement Plan. It was suggested last month that this could not be formally considered until Oct. 19.

 

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Article by Nathan Sager for Insauga

 

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