Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2009

restoration work by the old canal

Conservation authority hopes to remove 14 greenhouses

Craig Campbell & Mike Pearson, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Dec 11, 2009

By requesting a $131,822 interest-free loan from the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Conservation Authority is taking a first step towards remediation of the former Veldhuis greenhouse property purchased nearly one year ago.

If everything goes according to plan, the long process of cleaning up the site should begin early next spring.

Tony Horvat, the HCA director of land management, said last week the requested loan would pay for the removal of 14 unused greenhouses on the property. It will not pay for removal of five existing commercial and residential buildings, and one operating greenhouse, which will remain there for at least another full year.

“We’d like to be finished by the first of May (2010),” Horvat said of removing the first 14 greenhouses. “I might have to adjust that date.”

The loan request is expected to be considered by city councillors in Ja…

safe at home?

Heartening to see this valuable natural area upstream from Cootes protected from being "developed" - I hope we are on the way to re-developing our views on the importance of natural areas threatened by sprawl. One more strike and the developer is out? Way to go Ontario!
Strike two against 760-unit Dundas retirement projectTheSpec.com - BreakingNews - Strike two against 760-unit Dundas retirement project
Hamilton Spectator
DUNDAS — The Ontario government is taking another step to block construction of a 760-unit retirement community on York Road in the rural Pleasant View Neighourhood.

Having passed a new law that sets the stage for protecting Pleasant View under the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the province now says it plans to reject an application to amend the Parkway Belt West Plan to allow the project, which is opposed by area residents and Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin, who recently said there was no way it would be built.

A letter from Robert Taylor, assistant deputy minister o…

peace, but for the noise of traffic

Princess Point, sunset, November 10, 2009, with a wall of traffic noise from highway 403 behind the lens.

longwood and vine

Remains of the former Longwood Road between Cootes Paradise and Snake Road, now located in the Royal Botanical Gardens' Hendry Valley. Nature eats away at the asphalt, slowly reclaiming the forest floor. Roads can be reclaimed, and natural areas expanded, and here is a little bit of proof.

saving the climate, Royally

Everyone can see the irony in sprawling suburbs named after the thing they replaced: "Meadowlands," "Headon Forest," and such, but the green thumbs at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington/Hamilton are doing their part to bring some ideas about nature back to the suburbs with their "No Mow, No Blow, No H20" display at the Laking Garden.
There is no doubt that the climate changing Carbon Dioxide-saturated atmosphere is being fuelled by human activities, and yes, your gardening practices have something to do with contributing to the problem.
So as a healing step in the right direction, check out these alternatives to monoculture lawns with an eye on aesthetics and the climate we all share.

PODcast at OMB

Dundas fight moves to OMBTheSpec.com - Local - Dundas fight moves to OMB Developer appeals move to block warehouse near canal

Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator,
DUNDAS (Aug 25, 2009)

Environmentalist Julia Kollek says the citizens' group Protect Our Dundas and several individuals will join Hamilton city council in fighting off an Ontario Municipal Board appeal aimed at winning approval for a self-storage warehouse almost beside the Desjardins Canal.First Dundas Leasing Ltd., owned by J. Douglas Hammond of Ancaster, is appealing council's rejection of a rezoning application. Hammond is the former owner of the nearby Canadian Tire store.Opponents say the two-hectare property on the northwest corner of King and Olympic Drive should become part of a proposed urban eco-park in the corridor between Cootes Paradise and the Niagara Escarpment.Hammond says the land has already been covered with fill excavated for a city sewage storage tank and is zoned for restaurants and commercial…

dam humans go back to nature...

A good move for conservation and restoration of the natural habitat: well done!

Bid to save Crooks Hollow dam failsTheSpec.com - Local - Bid to save Crooks Hollow dam fails Deteriorating dam to be demolished

Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator
GREENSVILLE (Aug 24, 2009)

The scenic Crooks Hollow Reservoir will be drained this fall when the 96-year-old dam that forms it is demolished.A spirited grassroots effort to save the deteriorating concrete structure on top 0f the Niagara Escarpment near Highway 8 and Brock Road in Flamborough, failed to raise money for repairs, so Hamilton Conservation Authority board members voted recently to proceed with demolition.The decision leaves area resident Renate Intini bitter and disillusioned. She feels the authority neglected the dam for too long and didn't listen to those who think it's worth saving."They should take conservation out of their name and just call it the Hamilton authority," says Intini. "I'm just amazed at …

Important Area for Amphibians and Reptiles

Barry Gray, the Hamilton Spectator Photo Courtesy of Environment Canada Turtles well looked after hereTheSpec.com - Local - Turtles well looked after here Group forms to help critters get across the road at Cootes Drive

Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator
(Jun 25, 2009)

Cootes Paradise at the west end of Hamilton Harbour is now labelled an IMPARA -- an Important Area for Amphibians and Reptiles -- by a national organization concerned with conservation of snakes, salamanders, turtles and similar critters.As if to prove the designation is deserved, Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) staff found a rare stinkpot turtle (a full-grown male) this spring at the Cootes Paradise Fishway where unwanted carp are turned back to the harbour and desirable species, including turtles, are allowed to enter the marsh.The stinkpot, or eastern musk turtle, earns its name by releasing a musky, skunk-like smell when disturbed or handled. Growing to no more than 13 centimetres, it is among the smallest turtles in O…

hard (shell) travellin'

Our turtle love has come out of its shellTheSpec.com - Local - Our turtle love has come out of its shell
Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator, (Jun 25, 2009)

Hamilton is turning on to turtles.Dozens of newly recruited Dundas Turtle Watch volunteers have started patrolling Cootes Drive each morning and evening to protect and rescue female turtles crossing to lay eggs.The busy, four-lane road even sports turtle crossing signs provided by the Toronto Zoo.At the other end of the city, Stoney Creek's Community Beach Turtle Ponds Association is savouring victory in its fight to protect turtle habitat from residential development.Ontario Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield will visit the Royal Botanical Gardens today to announce funding for species-at-risk work that includes radio-tracking turtles to learn where they travel. Cansfield will try to locate a rare Blanding's turtle in Hendrie Valley by following signals from a transmitter attached to its shell.

OMB; OMG!

Owner files OMB appeal
Council rejects plan for storage facility near Olympic
Craig Campbell, Dundas Stars News Staff
Published on May 08, 2009

No mediation meetings or hearing dates have been scheduled in the Ontario Municipal Board appeal of city council’s decision to reject applications for a storage facillity development on King Street East.

Karen Kotzen of the OMB confirmed the appeal from property owner Doug Hammond, through the City of Hamilton, on April 23.

Councillors on the city’s planning committee and the full city council both unanimously rejected the application to construct four storage buildings on 201 King St. E. at Olympic Drive, within the Cootes Paradise environmentally significant area.

Councillors rejected a planning staff recommendation to support the rezoning and official plan ammendment applications because of concerns about the report’s accuracy and completeness, and extensive public opposition.

Submissions from some commenting agencies were not included or considere…

going bald is thrilling!

Tom Thomas, Special to the Hamilton Spectator Bald eagles 'fooling around' at CootesTheSpec.com - Local - Bald eagles 'fooling around' at Cootes Remote location of nest prevents check for eggs

Eric McGuinness
The Hamilton Spectator

(May 8, 2009) Birdwatchers want to know if bald eagles with a new nest in Cootes Paradise plan to raise a family this year or are just fooling around.With their nest hidden nine or 10 storeys up in a white pine tree on the north shore of the Cootes marsh, no one has been able to confirm if there are eggs or not."It seems they're just playing house," said Jody Allair, a Bird Studies Canada biologist in Port Rowan.That wouldn't be unusual, he said. "It might be a practice nest. It's common for a pair to give it a try, figure things out. Hopefully next year they will nest. If they're bonding and building a nest, that's all good. It looks great for next year."But Ancaster birder Mike Street, a member of the Ha…

Cootes Drive History

http://www.dundasstarnews.com/news/article/172863

Community apathetic over new Cootes Drive
Controversial road was result of now fading car culture

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff, Published on May 01, 2009


Dundasians of the mid-1930s were apathetic towards construction of Cootes Drive –as long they weren’t paying for it.

But according to research by former Valley Town resident and transportation activist Randy Kay, the Dundas Diversion project was not without controversy. Local merchants, property owners and town councillors worried about the new road’s route, connections and possible impact on local business.

As Mr. Kay explained to those in attendance at the season-ending Dundas Valley Historical Society meeting, one thing nobody questioned in 1936 or 1937 was destruction of valuable wetland as pavement carved through the Cootes Paradise ecosystem.

Mr. Kay dug into microfiche copies of the Dundas Star and Hamilton Spectator to trace the tale of the road that has raised problems its…

out of control?

An image of Princess Point after a contolled burn by the Royal Botanical Gardens, part of their effort to maintain now rare Oak Savannah habitat. The area of Cootes Paradise is beautiful, and these ongoing restoration and conservation projects are necessary and good; but we must ignore the loud and poisonous highways adjacent to this natural area. The sound of traffic penetrates even the remotest parts of the Cootes sanctuary, detracting from the tranquility that would otherwise offer respite.

Reducing speeds might be a way to reduce the noise pollution on highway 403 at the eastern end of the marsh. "The Noise Pollution Clearinghouse recently reported that when we raised the speed limit from fifty-five to sixty-five miles per hour, it was the noise equivalent of doubling the number of cars on the road." (Hundred Dollar Holiday, Bill McKibben).

Closing Cootes Drive and restoring the wetland at the west end of the marsh would obviously do much for this area's natural poten…

Cootes as Provincial Park?

Ministry and Royal Botanical Gardens differ on whether Cootes Park is dead
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Apr 10, 2009

Ontario Parks and Ministry of Natural Resources officials say the vision of a Cootes Paradise Provincial Park is dead, while Royal Botanical Gardens executive director Mark Runciman maintains the door hasn’t been closed.

“We’d like to have more discussions,” Mr. Runciman said last week, after Ontario Parls spokesperson Greg Maude suggested the RBG itself backed out of provincial park discussions in March 2008.

“The RBG confirmed they had no interest in pursuing provincial park status,” Mr. Maude told the Dundas Star News. “We met, discussed the concept and a decision was made not to pursue it.”

Last week, Mr. Runciman said talks with ministry staff last year were based on a general concept, following up on the once proposed idea of a National Park, but there was never anything firm. And while he hopes the idea isn’t dead, he suggested the province and R…

upstream factors

MOE probes Biedermann plant permit

Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator, DUNDAS (Apr 17, 2009)


The Ontario Environment Ministry is reviewing an air emissions permit for the Biedermann pesticides packaging plant, where a huge fire in July 2007 flushed toxic chemicals into Spencer Creek, killing thousands of fish.

The review results from a request filed under the Environmental Bill of Rights by Environment Hamilton, which continues to press for greater regulation and scrutiny of the Head Street plant that packages insecticides, rat poison and fertilizers.

At issue is a certificate of approval for a dust collector on machinery that handles a variety of toxic chemicals. Environment Hamilton is asking specifically for stack tests to ensure nothing hazardous is being released into the air.

Calling the review "nothing unusual," Biedermann technical director Brian Peirce said: "We keep our equipment very well maintained. There's nothing we're hiding."

Biologist Joe …

history of Cootes Drive

Tour paradise for speaker series finale

Published on Apr 03, 2009, Dundas Star News

The Dundas Valley Historical Society concludes this season's Speaker Series with writer and historian Randy Kay presenting Drive-through Paradise, A History of Cootes Drive at the Dundas Museum & Archives, 139 Park St. W. on Wednesday, April 8.

Cootes Drive was the first dual carriageway road built in Canada, having been completed in 1936 with cutting-edge construction methods. It runs 3.1 kilometres from Main Street in Hamilton through the western-most area of Cootes Paradise and concludes at York Road in Dundas. Originally known as the Dundas Diversion, Cootes Drive has not been without controversy during its existence. This presentation will cover the history and controversies of the former Highway 102.

Mr. Kay lives in Dundas with his wife and their three daughters. As a freelance writer and reporter he has published in the Hamilton Spectator, Hamilton Magazine, H Magazine and several others.

Mr…

road removal

This story isn't about Cootes - but a nearby natural area - the Ancaster Councillor exhibits a less than novel argument, that old "Drive-Thru Nature" one where car access trumps environmental integrity. If you don't know this area, it is certainly just barely a road, and a very muddy rutted almost-road at that.

Conservation Authority puts Dundas Valley road closure bid on hold
Richard Leitner, Dundas Star News Staff, Published on Mar 13, 2009

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is delaying a request to close and acquire a 1.4- kilometre stretch of a Dundas Valley road to allow for discussions with the city on how to limit access by four-wheel-drive trucks, dumpers and bush partiers.

Directors agreed to hold off on a bid to close the “badly rutted” dirt track on Martin Road after Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson implored them to consider other solutions that will maintain it as a public right-of- way.

He suggested the road might be upgraded to allow one-way traffic and …

route canal: historical designation an overdue idea

Heritage committee wants Desjardins Canal designated historical
Kevin Werner, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Mar 06, 2009

Hamilton’s heritage committee has asked staff to consider designating the Desjardins Canal under the Ontario Heritage Act.

“This is a landscape of concern,” said Francis Thorp-Neufield, the committee’s Dundas representative. “It was important to the (community’s) history. I think it is worth it.” Ms. Thorp-Neufield introduced the motion to have the landscape designated at the committee’s meeting last week. She said later the Desjardins Canal needs to be protected because of its historical importance the surrounding community.

“This is for history reasons and to preserve the integrity of the landscape,” she said.

When asked if the designation was in response to a proposal to build a storage facility in the area, she dismissed the idea.

“It has nothing to do with the storage proposal,” she said.

“There are buildings and landscapes in Dundas that we, as a community, are …

Binkley's Pond, gone for parking

Jacob Binkley (1806-67), great grandson of Marx [Binkley], built the handsome stone house that still stands at 54 Sanders Blvd at the head of a ravine. The house was completed in 1847 and named Lakelet Vale, as it had a little spring-fed lake at the rear. Binkley's Pond, as it was known, was used for skating, fishing, and good times. It is now the Zone 6 parking lot at McMaster University on the west side of Cootes Drive.

Loreen Jerome, The Way We Were "The House that Jacob Built"
Ainslie Wood/Westdale Community Association of Resident Homeowners Inc.
(AWWCA) http://www.awwca.ca/articles/






Skater's on Binkley's Pond circa 1917, now a McMaster parking lot

committee shift

Rezoning request deniedTheSpec.com - Local - Rezoning request denied Owner says he's not giving up on Dundas storage plan

Jackson Hayes, The Hamilton Spectator, (Feb 18, 2009)

Doug Hammond's plans to build a self- storage facility in Dundas hit another speed bump yesterday as his rezoning application was denied by the economic development and planning committee.And though he anticipates another rejection when city council votes on the committee recommendation next week, he says the fight could be far from over."This is going to fall on the taxpayer," Hammond said after the committee's unanimous vote. "The city is going to have to hire a planner ... but that's the process and you live with it."Hammond, the former owner of the Canadian Tire in Dundas, was hoping for a change in zoning to allow him to build a self-storage warehouse on King Street East along the Desjardins Canal.He said he has owned the two-hectare plot for many years and said he may appea…

trade talks

Authority, city should swap land: CouncillorTheSpec.com - BreakingNews - Authority, city should swap land: Councillor
Eric McGuinness (Hamilton Spectator)

Hamilton Mountain Councillor Tom Jackson suggests swapping city land for a vacant Dundas site that conservationists say is key to a potential urban eco-park that expands the Cootes Paradise nature sanctuary.

He and five other directors of the Hamilton Conservation Authority voted unanimously Thursday night to oppose rezoning two hectares at King Street East and Olympic Drive for a self-storage warehouse. Their position now goes to city council’s economic development and planning committee, which will consider the rezoning application Feb. 17.

The directors’ action supports a unanimous recommendation by citizens on the authority’s conservation areas advisory board.

Chair Chris Firth-Eagland, who doesn’t often take part in debates, argued passionately against the warehouse proposal, even though authority staff voiced no technical objection…

Scharper looks at Car Freedom

The Hamilton Naturalist Club is presenting a lecture by Stephen Bede Scharper, Monday, February 9, 2009, at the Royal Botanical Gardens, starting at 7:30pm. I include this short piece here, because it gives a taste of Scharper, but also because we need to re-examine our car habits, especially the way servicing cars destroy nature, as in Cootes Drive/Cootes Paradise.

On Sacrifice, Spirituality and Silver Linings - Stephen Bede Scharper
Reproduced from the Toronto Star

Did you ever think of giving up your car?

When I posed this question to my wife two years ago, she rolled her eyes and the bubbles above her head flashed the words “Ridiculous!” “Impossible!” “Recycling and composting are fine, Dear,” I heard her thoughts missile toward me, “but this is going way too far.”

I felt like Galileo proposing a heliocentric universe to Pope Urban VIII. Suddenly, I was questioning a sacred tradition. After all, this was the way the world had been since the ancient Greeks. Wasn’t it Heraclitus who sai…

a vision for nature in Cootes

View the Eco-Park Document here


Make Cootes national park, group urgesTheSpec.com - Local - Make Cootes national park, group urges Create eco-park in urbanized area
Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator
(Jan 28, 2009)


The idea of a Cootes Paradise National Park is being revived by local conservationists.
But they say it is jeopardized by plans for a self-storage warehouse beside the Desjardins Canal at the east entrance to Dundas.
They point to a new vision of an urban eco-park -- maybe a national park -- incorporating the Cootes marsh, drafted by Urban Strategies Inc., the firm responsible for McMaster University's campus master plan among other Hamilton projects.
Joe Berridge, a partner who has helped reshape waterfronts in Toronto, New York and London, produced the concept document at the invitation of Ben Vanderbrug, retired general manager of the Hamilton Conservation Authority; McMaster University professor Brian Baetz; and Dundas environmentalis…

watershed down

Public meeting for creek plansTheSpec.com - Local - Public meeting for creek plans
The Hamilton Spectator, (Jan 26, 2009)

Efforts to improve water quality in Hamilton Harbour are moving further upstream as the Hamilton Conservation Authority develops environmental action plans for Borer's, Logies's and Sydenham creeks.The creeks are within the watershed of Spencer Creek, which flows through Flamborough and Dundas before emptying into Cootes Paradise at the west end of the harbour.Draft plans to restore and protect the health of the creeks and their ecosystems will be presented at an open house from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow at Rock Chapel United Church, 451 Rock Chapel Rd.Individuals, businesses and community associations are invited to share their thoughts, concerns and knowledge of the local landscape.Removing the harbour from an international list of Great Lakes pollution hot spots by 2015 still requires sewage treatment plant upgrades and better stewardship of streams feedi…

re-mediate

HCA is offering mediation for storage dispute
Gateway site would make ‘a lovely community acquisition,’ chair says
Richard Leitner, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Jan 16, 2009

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is offering to host talks aimed at finding a friendly way to stop a controversial proposal to build a self-storage facility at the eastern entrance to Dundas.

After more than two hours of presentations and discussion, board directors last week deferred voting on a resolution opposing the development to allow for a meeting between proponent Doug Hammond and a group of residents headed by former Dundas councillor Joanna Chapman.

Authority chair Chris Firth-Eagland said he’s encouraged both Ms. Chapman and a lawyer representing Mr. Hammond committed to meet to review options for the vacant property, located at the northwest corner of King Street and Olympic Drive. He said the two-hectare site, purchased by Mr. Hammond from the former regional municipality in 1999, “would make a lo…

Driving dangers

Intersections and collisions.
Kaz Novak, The Hamilton Spectator Cootes Drive is closed due to a collision between a fire truck and a sub compact at the corner of Olympic Dr. One injured in firetruck crashTheSpec.com - BreakingNews - One injured in firetruck crash Cootes Drive at Olympic Drive closed

John Burman
One person is in hospital and Cootes Drive is closed after an accident involving a car and a fire truck. A Hamilton fire department pumper truck on its way to a Dundas call was westbound on Cootes when it collided with a car in the intersection at Olympic Drive. It’s not clear which had the right of way.While it appears the pumper suffered little damage, the driver’s side of the small, four-door sedan was stove in from one wheel to the other.The driver of the car was taken to hospital. Officials haven’t released the extent of that person’s injuries.Traffic using the intersection was re-routed over King Street between Olympic and downtown Dundas until Hamilton police eventually c…

building resistance

Conservationists want warehouse alternativesTheSpec.com - Local - Conservationists want warehouse alternatives
Eric McGuinness, The Hamilton Spectator,
DUNDAS (Jan 9, 2009)

The Hamilton Conservation Authority wants to try to broker a deal to find alternatives to a proposed warehouse at the Cootes Drive entrance to Dundas.A motion to oppose rezoning the two-hectare site at King Street East and Olympic Drive was tabled last night after lawyer Brian Duxbury, representing landowner Doug Hammond, agreed to meet Joanna Chapman and other citizens opposed to the project.Duxbury said he was asking the city's economic development and planning committee to defer action on the application until Feb. 17, after the authority's next board meeting.Authority chair Chris Firth-Eagland said he would convene a meeting of the two sides to explore ideas. Puslinch Councillor Don McKay offered himself as a neutral party from outside Hamilton.In her presentation to the authority board, Chapman suggeste…

nature or self-storage?

Development opponents seek support
Conservation board to discuss construction proposal
Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News Staff
Published on Jan 02, 2009

Opponents of a proposed storage facility within the Cootes Paradise ESA are appealing to city councillors to quash recommendations for amendments that would pave the way for development.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s board of directors is scheduled to hear two public presentations and discuss a report on the proposal at a Jan. 8 meeting. A City of Hamilton planning staff recommendation to permit rezoning and official plan amendments to allow a commercial storage facility on property currently zoned “parkland” is expected to be considered by city councillors on the Economic Development and Planning Committee on Jan. 20.

Over the past two weeks, emails have been circulated from concerned residents to Mayor Fred Eisenberger, and some city councillors, expressing opposition to the development and requesting support – apparently focussing…