Hamilton’s Waterfront upgrades force the move to boaters

Upgrades to Hamilton’s Waterfront means some people will lose their homes.

The City Planning Committee decided yesterday to help find a solution for the people who live on their boats year-round, in a marina that will soon be shut down to make way for new construction.

About 20 boats at Mcdonald Marine are lived in year-round, but now that the city is taking back this space, they need somewhere else to dock their homes.

Glenn Wise has lived on a boat for most of his life, since his twenties. His kids grew up on a boat and this is where his grandkids visit. His 51-footer is like a split-level home, with a fireplace in the living room and two bedrooms that each have their own bath.

But now his dock is leaving, and he needs a new place for his home.

McDonald Marine has been here more than 40 years but their lease expired at the end of May. This is where Hamilton wants to build a new Police Marine Unit.

Wise was at city hall yesterday, asking councilors to help find a solution.

He says most, like his wife, have jobs in Hamilton, and would have to leave those as well as the city if they have nowhere for their boats.

In the winter, the boats are framed and shrink-wrapped, while agitators keep the lake water from freezing around them.

The community of boaters pitch in to shovel the snow and ice off the docks.

But marinas can usually only manage a small number of winter residents because of the extra power the boats require for heat. Wise says the Royal Hamilton and the harbour west clubs both got more slips with the Waterfront development, and he hopes some of those will become available to his community this winter.

The city has told the boaters they can stay where they are until September. Staff will help them negotiate with nearby marinas for accommodation, and report back to council this fall.


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