Remnants of Steeltown

Black and White BW B&W Hamilton Ontario Canada contemporary street photography

Operation: Sector K

This is a special mission, soldiers. The steel mill is idling. It affects infrastructure and everything.

We attack at dawn!

20 thoughts on “Remnants of Steeltown

  1. Interesting. I wonder how long the operation sector K going to take… Here, where I live it used to be known as steeltown too until it was shut down around 1999 ( I think ). Gradually the town is picking up in other areas.

      • Oh.. Where do I start? 😆 I can give you a gist of it. Otherwise my reply might end up into a 108 pages of thesis.. NOT!!!
        Anyway, the city centre itself is still in the process of reviving. Atvthe moment there are still lots of empty shops. Some investments on the development of cultural and educational like the new court house/ uni campus. Housing – more units/apartments as the city centre is close to the beaches/foreshore.

        The railway tracks going to the city were dismantled recently and will be replaced by a light rail system which is still under discussion due to disagreement on the route choices. The residents/public want to preserve the heritage characters in the city. Thus, another proposals/discussions on the repurposing of the railway station.
        The vineyards in the Hunter Valley area is one of the major attractions. Cruise ships have also make their stop over at Newcastle annually. This would and have opened more opportunities for cafes/restaurants/entertainments which also benefit locals.

        So some are in constructions and many are still under discussion and proposal stages. It a long long road to revival indeed.

        Hope it’s not too long. Thanks again for your questions.

      • Actually, I very much appreciate this response. Thank you!

        It sounds like a cross between Hamilton and Buffalo, NY; a couple hours drive from here.

        The loss of Buffalo’s steel industry contributed considerably to Buffalo’s economic downturn. I believe the city actually declared bankruptcy back around 2004 or 2005. Neighbouring counties like Niagara and Amherst were also adversely affected but it appears that they’ve sustained themselves through their merchandising industries for all of these years.

        In 2012, NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced the “Buffalo Billion” program which brought new construction contracts and hundreds of new jobs to the area through grants and tax breaks to stimulate economic regeneration. Buffalo has been steadily climbing out of its hole ever since.

        Hamilton has had serious issues for many years but it hasn’t actually had to file for bankruptcy yet. The importance of US Steel Canada and its competing next door neighbour Arcelor-Mittal in this city is that they, as their former steel empires Stelco and Dofasco respectively, contributed considerably to building the wealth of Hamilton. Both corporate giants employed thousands, and kept the city from becoming literally a ghost town for decades.

        Steel in the Hammer is said to not be dead but it has diminished tremendously in recent years. Like Buffalo, we survive by pumping more power into the commercial merchandising and healthcare industries. The arts industry has increased some as well here.

        Modifying transportation to reduce congestion, cut long-term maintenance costs and improve the environment has become a major mission for the Province of Ontario. So many municipalities are carefully planning to add LRT’s to their municipal infrastructures. Hamilton is neck deep in a debate on whether an LRT system would be viable to our community. This is especially a concern given that a couple decades ago, the city ripped out the rails out of the street that had been in place since the early 20th century for its old electric streetcars. Now we’re going to have to spend wild money put them back for an LRT.

        Many in the city are against the expense, and the inconvenience it will place on local business to construct the LRT but there is now serious incentive to move ahead with the transition.

        Similar to Cuomo, the provincial government headed by Kathleen Wynn has stood up to offer Hamilton $1 Billion, in a one-time offer, for the city to install an LRT system and complete its currently ongoing GO bus and train station projects.

        Here’s a fact about any municipal public rail transit system in North America. All of the city’s that have introduced a subway or something of the sort since the late 1800’s or within the past 30 years have been prosperous cities. The question is, is Hamilton getting involved with this too late?

      • I agree that these cities are going through a similar process of revitalisation. A very interesting reading indeed.
        It is the opposite here in terms of incentives. The State government seems to favour other cities within Sydney area itself than Newcastle. Thus locals feel they’re being treated like 2nd citizens.(politics ????).

    • There’s not a real attack on mill but the mill is certainly in danger from threats within. This is the looming silhouette of US Steel Canada, formerly known as Stelco. I’m about to quote myself here:

      When it was Stelco, 14,000 citizens were employed during the company’s hay day, back in the 70’s. Eventually; however, Stelco ran into critically hard times and filed for bankruptcy by 2007. The corporation was purchased by US Steel out of Pittsburgh by August 27 for $1.9 billion. I’m afraid that the troubles didn’t end there. 1,500 jobs were cut in 2009.

      On October 29, 2013, US Steel Canada publicly announced that the blast furnace and steel making parts of the Hamilton operations would be permanently closed on December 31, 2013 after a century of existence, and it was a done deal. US Steel Canada in Hamilton now only rolls steel.

      USSC lost $26.8 million in the first quarter of 2015. It’s been recently announced that they’ve also lost $54.7 million in the first quarter of 2016. The company’s up for sale again but is anyone making any realistic bids?

      Organized workers have long held the belief that Stelco could have eventually revitalized itself. They feel certain that US Steel purchased Stelco with the sole intent of running it’s leading Canadian competition into the ground.

      • What you describe here is the threat so many places, due to social dumping and transfer of business from higher income area to low income area. It’s very sad indeed.

  2. All the steel manufacturing went to China didn’t it . . . I remember coal and steel workers from my childhood loathing the hard work of their jobs and wanting better for their children and now the ugly facts of idle steel mills, closed coal mines and idle populations of young unemployed have us wringing our hands. At least I hope so but I don’t know what the solution is. Great shot Allan!

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