Go-kart track told to go jump

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#1
Go-kart track told to go jump



Lakeland Go-Karts has been a part of beach-strip family fun for 50 years. But that could end soon.
By Peter Van Harten
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 4, 2005)
For 50 years, Lakeland Go-Karts has drawn families and their children to the beach strip's Confederation Park for a fast spin around the track.

Now Rose Firmi, the 64-year-old owner-operator of the go-kart track, says she is being driven out by the Hamilton Conservation Authority.

"They say, 'No way can you stay.' They won't consider it," she said.

Firmi says the authority won't grant her a long-term lease for the waterfront property.

Officials tell her the operation doesn't make enough money, but she claims they've rejected her "fantastic" $80,000 to $100,000 plans to spruce up and put up a new building.

She's endured the "lean years," when the beach strip was scorned, and she sent out her children and employees to help keep conservation land clean. Now she wants to benefit from the area's recent popularity.

Tony Horvat, director of land management for the authority, confirms a go-kart track with its noise and pollution no longer fits into the authority's long-term vision.

That area is going to be converted to green space some day. No long-term leases will be granted, and there is no chance of relocating to other parts of the park, he said.

That narrow strip of lake frontage is a "high-value piece of real-estate," and Horvat said any park businesses helping fund the authority has to produce.

"It's a business that moves along at a steady pace but doesn't generate a lot of money for the owners or ourselves," he said.

It's a seasonal business that takes up space year-round, unlike Hutch's restaurant, which is open every day except Christmas and brings in a steady stream of money from sunrise to sundown, Horvat said.

"It (the track) makes money, but it's not going gangbusters," he said.

Firmi said Lakeland Go-Karts, which is usually open from about April to October, pays taxes and $500 monthly rent on a year-round basis. It also pays 10 per cent of the take to the authority when it reaches a certain level.

"I'm all for making improvements to generate more money, but you need a long-term lease to do that," she said.

Her current two-year lease extension expires at the end of 2006.

The track was there even before the conservation authority took over the land and lease from the city. Her husband rebuilt the go-kart track without compensation after Lake Ontario flood waters wiped out the track in the early 1970s, she said.

Horvat says the authority will give Firmi notice when it is time to go. He noted that there are no plans to convert the area to green space in the near future.

Hamilton councillor and waterfront champion Chad Collins says the track has been attracting thousands to the beach over the years. It's mostly families and young people, and the track complements Wild Waterworks pool and Adventure Village with its miniature golf, batting cages and climbing wall.

"It's a good fit with everything already there," he said.

Collins said Firmi is being kept "in limbo" without the medium and long-term leases to allow improvements.

"She is willing to go above and beyond what most people expect of her from a business point of view," Collins said.

pvanharten@thespec.com

905-526-3328


Photo
Cathie Coward, the Hamilton Spectator
Rose Firmi, 64, who owns Lakeland Go-Karts on the beach strip, feels the Hamilton Conservation Authority is driving her out by not giving her a long-term lease.
hs1174245_1.jpg
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#3
Burke said:
How do I post an attachment?
Burke; :wavey:
When you are replying to, or starting a thread, look below for "Manage Attachments". You then "Brouse" for the picture or file you want to upload. Click "Upload" and wait for the file to do just that. Close the window and submit your post or thread. Pictures can be no bigger than 1055 X 1055.
If you can't get it to go, e-mail it to me and I will do it for ya.
Scotto
 

shamsson

Registered User
Jul 30, 2004
35
0
0
Near Atlanta, Georgia
#4
Ye Olde Go Kart Track

I have so many vivid memories of the track. I ran away from my dad's store when I was 4 years old and rode my bike to the Go Kart track..my dad had to come looking for me. But I remember how I loved riding Go Karts back then. I still remember the mural of Donald Duck on a Go kart.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#5
Yes that place is older than me, :D sounds like the Conservation Authority is going to shoe horn something in there, we are getting it at both ends of the Beach. :inn:
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#6
Member Burke in the Spec.

The people must come first in new pool-in-the-park plan
By Burke Austin, Hamilton
(Jul 7, 2005)
RE: 'Go-kart track told to go jump' (July 4)

It seems ironic that the Hamilton Conservation Authority promotes Lakeland Go-Karts on its website as a family favourite designation, but Tony Horvat, the director of land management, says that go-carts no longer fit into the authority's long-term vision.

Mr. Horvat says the narrow strip of lake frontage is a highly valuable piece of real estate. Hey, wait a minute, I always thought Confederation Park belonged to the citizens of Hamilton.

In the '60s, the beach was the place to go with lots of things to do. The go-carts were there and Lakeland Pool was surrounded with amusement rides and venues. That's what the public wanted. It seems to me that the authority only wants members of the public who have a lot of cash in their pockets to spend at the wave pool.

With much community support we struggled year after year to keep Lakeland Pool open. Lakeland Go-Karts, which is always busy in the summer, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. As one of the last original icons in the park, it -- and the Firmi family -- deserve to have at least a 10-year lease.

This August, a new Lakeland pool and community centre with a 7-acre water park will open on the site of the old Lakeland. I hope the Confederation West Implementation Committee will have some input on how the facility is run to meet the needs and wants of the community at an affordable cost. After all the park belongs to the people.
 

Burke

Registered User
Jul 5, 2005
15
0
0
#7
Thanks

for posting my letter. The Beach Community is a very unique niche in the city of Hamilton. If it were not for a fiesty group of people that formed the Beach Preservation Committee the Conservation Authority would have made your whole strip greenspace.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#8
Burke said:
for posting my letter. The Beach Community is a very unique niche in the city of Hamilton. If it were not for a fiesty group of people that formed the Beach Preservation Committee the Conservation Authority would have made your whole strip greenspace.
Burke;
You are very welcome, feel free to post anytime. Yes the Strip was saved, now we have the Port Authority trying their best to make a mess of it.
Scotto
 

Burke

Registered User
Jul 5, 2005
15
0
0
#9
The Port Authority

The Port Authority, the Conservation Authority, too darn much Authority I say!
I know that the Port wants to plug in as much Industry along Eastport drive as they can and I saw a peice a couple of weeks ago about tar ponds, Jim Howlett was quoted in that whole mess. Windemere Basin has always interested me, wasn't it nice of them to give it to the taxpayers of Hamilton. It needs to be dredged anthother smelly mess, especially if they decide to just put it up on the shores. As a child I used to ride my bike over the crosswalks that used to cross over Burlington St. and head to the beach. Windemere basin was a black sess pool, the turtles were black. I think thats what sparked some of my environmental activism. Do you think the basin could become a passive parkland?
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#10
Burke said:
The Port Authority, the Conservation Authority, too darn much Authority I say!
I know that the Port wants to plug in as much Industry along Eastport drive as they can and I saw a peice a couple of weeks ago about tar ponds, Jim Howlett was quoted in that whole mess. Windemere Basin has always interested me, wasn't it nice of them to give it to the taxpayers of Hamilton. It needs to be dredged anthother smelly mess, especially if they decide to just put it up on the shores. As a child I used to ride my bike over the crosswalks that used to cross over Burlington St. and head to the beach. Windemere basin was a black sess pool, the turtles were black. I think thats what sparked some of my environmental activism. Do you think the basin could become a passive parkland?
Many of Jim's media quotes are in the Beach Preservation section, let me know if you need a link. From what I hear some parkland is planned near the basin, but for now, I believe the City want to add some wetlands there. Yes what a mess.
 

Burke

Registered User
Jul 5, 2005
15
0
0
#11
Hi again

I would appreciate that link, Scottie. Jim and I are good friends and he is our "in" with the Conservation Authority. I am writing a letter to all the people that were involved with the Confederation West Implementation Committee. Elizabeth Nethesby and Brian Butler were two of about five beach residents. We have not met since 2002. We insisted that the seven acre waterpark be free or low cost and no parking fees. What worries me the most is that the Conservation budget for the complex runs at a $106,000. loss because of a loan repayment to the city.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,916
198
63
The Beach Strip
#12
Burke;
If you meet again or have more info, please let us know what is going on. I have attached the links from the Fourm that have media articles concerning Jim and his friends at the HPA.
Thanks, Scotto

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=417

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=329

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=422

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=360

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=331
 
Top Bottom