Skip to main content

a vision for nature in Cootes

View the Eco-Park Document here



Make Cootes national park, group urges
Create eco-park in urbanized area

, 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 environmentalist Joanna Chapman.
It points to the large amount of public open space stretching from the Desjardins Canal and Cootes to the Niagara Escarpment above Dundas, saying there is an opportunity to "physically span and connect these remarkable environmental and ecological assets into an eco-park in the centre of a highly urbanized area."
It goes on to say: "What is needed for this entire area is a broader vision that can direct urban growth and development in ways that enhance its unique natural setting.
"Creation of the urban eco-park and establishing a clear future for the lands between Cootes Paradise and the escarpment are decisions commensurate with the significance of the creation of the Niagara Escarpment Commission or Rouge Park (connecting the Oak Ridges Moraine north of Toronto to Lake Ontario)."
It says the corridor along the old canal -- including the potential warehouse site -- is crucial to forming a gateway to the park.
"The commercial use proposed, a significant departure from the existing parkland designation, has no connection to recreation or natural systems and is therefore inappropriate."
Vanderbrug says he called Berridge "for a second opinion from a professional planner," before pressing the case to preserve the open space at King Street East and Olympic Drive, which owner Doug Hammond is trying to have rezoned. Vanderbrug says Berridge was so impressed by the potential of a park or nature sanctuary at the heart of the Golden Horseshoe that he offered to do the work free.
The rezoning application goes to Hamilton's economic development and planning committee next month. The conservation authority is trying to broker an alternative in the meantime. Urban Strategies' plan has been delivered to members of city council and to area MPs and MPPs.
Dundas Councillor Russ Powers pushed the concept of a Cootes Paradise National Park several years ago, but the Royal Botanical Gardens, which owns the marsh at the head of Hamilton Harbour, suggested instead a 1,000-hectare sanctuary that would include conservation authority property and be funded by all levels of government.


Map Courtesy of Urban Strategies Inc.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Urquhart Butterfly Garden speaker series

A lovely butterfly garden is the perfect setting for this annual speaker series.
August 4, 2018, Guest speaker: Doreen Nicoll You cannot have Monarch Butterflies without milkweed.  Doreen Nicoll has recently become a heroine for monarch butterflies, by insisting on her rights to grow milkweed in her naturalized garden in Burlington.

Doreen  Nicoll has long understood that garden with nature and not against her is the best thing for our planet. She also knows that native plants are great at attracting butterflies and bees of all species.

Doreen will be the first presenter in the Summer Series at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden and her topic will be Monarchs and Their Milkweed and naturalized gardening. She has wealth of information and is fun as well!

The session will begin at 11 am Saturday on August 4 and last approximately one hour.  Please bring a chair.

If it rains the session will be cancelled.


For more information about the Urquhart Butterfly Garden please visit urquhartbutterfly.c…

Turtle Watching: Volunteers Needed

By fragmenting the western end of Cootes Paradise with a four lane highway (Cootes Drive 1936) and McMaster parking (1969), car drivers gain at the expense of intact habitat for a multitude of species. Road kill on Cootes accounts for a severe threat to the survival of at risk species, and perhaps none so glaringly as the slow moving turtles who inhabit the remnant marsh.
A local volunteer group has, for the last few years, formed to assist the turtles and increase awareness, and (hopefully) survival rates. 
Please consider giving some of your time to the turtles of Cootes Paradise.
April 2012

Turtles will begin to move from their wintering sites in late May and their peak nesting period is mid-June. Dundas Turtle Watch identifies, monitors and rescues turtles at risk from traffic, and protects nests from predation wherever possible.
 The group  is  looking for people with a digital camera  who are  prepared to volunteer regularly, for approximately 2 hours week, plus some record keepin…

stepping up the battle for trails

I share the columnist's (see below) angst about some of the trail closures in Cootes Paradise and the observation that the impacts of walking on habitat are less damaging than driving. Nevertheless, I can appreciate that some of the trails can and should be closed to preserve sensitive habitat.
It is because Cootes is surrounded by a city that the impacts of both cars and yes, even feet, can cumulatively degrade the integrity of this nature sanctuary.
Blocking trails with bushes generally seems to occur on "unofficial" trails, though I havepreviously expressed my concern with closing trails that once provided access through Cootes to hook up with the Spencer Creek Trail in Dundas. The utility of a trail as a path to someplace, rather than just a recreational loop, means a lot to me, and I have hoped the RBG would reconsider the trails layout with this in mind.
Again, with so many people accessing Cootes, on foot and on mountain-bikes, the threats to the lands …