Skip to main content

support in paper

The editorial position of the Hamilton Spectator is in support of the restoration project at Crooks Holllow Dam. Read it below:


Dam decision tough, correct
CROOKS HOLLOW DAM
CROOKS HOLLOW DAM The area conservation authority had to make tough call when it OK'd demolishing the Crooks Hollow dam beloved by local residents.
Hamilton Spectator file photo
Striking a balance between being environmentally and socially responsible is never easy. The Hamilton Conservation Authority’s decision to go ahead with a $1-million project to demolish the aging Crooks Hollow Dam in Greensville is a good example.
In case you missed this story, it centres around the decision to go ahead with the plan to remove the dam and rehabilitate the river system in the area to return it to a pre-dam state. Local residents, hundreds of whom signed petitions and protested the plan, are predictably unhappy. And if you’ve visited the area to enjoy the scenic and sensory pleasures offered by Crooks Hollow, you might understand why they disagree with the decision, which will undoubtedly alter the bucolic landscape they are accustomed to, and in fact might have moved to the area to enjoy.
But the dam, which was built in the early 1900s to serve as a water supply for Dundas, is badly in need of repair and reconstruction. The estimated cost of that work is $1.2 to 1.4 million, which makes it considerably more expensive than the cost of removing all or most of the structure and letting Spencer Creek rush through as it did before dam was built. There are factors other than cost to consider. The dam does not serve any flood-control purpose. In fact, now that Dundas’s water supply is Lake Ontario, the only real reason for the dam is aesthetic — the structure and the adjacent 600-metre-long reservoir offer a peaceful and beautiful respite from urban life, as well as a home for flora and fauna.
What should the conservation authority have done? Pay a higher price to rebuild the dam, or remove it and restore the area creek and river to its original form, before it was altered by the dam and by location of numerous mills and other manifestations of human settlement?
The answer, with greatest respect to area residents and others who have fought to keep the dam, is the latter. In this era of fiscal restraint, any taxpayer-funded organization that chooses a more expensive decision over a cheaper one needs to have a very good reason. And that reason does not exist in this case. Just imagine the furor directed at the HCA had it chosen the higher-cost option with the only rationale being to respect the sensitivities of people who live in the area? And it’s not as if the HCA is removing the dam in favour of less-rustic development. In fact, Spencer Creek and area will end up being closer to its original state than before, and that is bound to have positive impact on the local environment overall.
This had to have been a tough call for HCA board members. But their obligation in the end is to the larger group of stakeholders who have an interest in conservation holdings, and expect decisions to be made with the big picture, not local parochial interests, front and centre. In that context, this is the right thing to do.
Howard Elliott

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 ur

Slow Sign and Turtle Time

THEY SAY: Information Report: April 3, 2017 SUBJECT/REPORT NO: Rare Turtle Recovery, Wildlife Corridor Issues and Roads of Issue at Cootes Paradise (PW16024a) - (City Wide) Traffic Issues on Cootes Drive Traffic Operations & Engineering has been working with the Ward 13 Councillor on traffic signage along Cootes Drive. Four (4) traffic signs (with flashing lights) operating during turtle migration season will be installed in the spring of 2017. The migration period for turtles is generally around the months of June, early July and September but can vary due to weather conditions. The traffic signs are useful in alerting motorists of potential turtle crossings on that roadway. RESTORE COOTES SAYS: Is it working? Is there any evidence that it is helping turtles or even slowing vehicles? We're betting it has little to no impact - the light is always flashing, if turtles are present or not, the road is built for speed and it makes it dangerous to slow down. We hope

In the beginning

I've sometimes wondered how certain plants started growing in our yard. I'm guessing seed dispersal: the wind floats some through the air, sticky burrs caught on a racoon's fur drop as they pass through at night, a nuthatch drops some seeds from its tail-end while searching for bugs on the side of a tree. The methods of delivery are varied, but the process of growth continues with time and the right conditions - rain, sun, soil -  and the wind, the racoon, the nuthatch are forgotten like the seed itself. We see goldenrod, sumach, dogwood, and it appears as though nothing preceded this moment, this forest stands inexplicably before our eyes. This is the way too with social or environmental change. Generations of germination and growth. The fruits may come after the planter has long disappeared. Like a monarch butterfly migrating - it's the generation that begins the journey that makes it possible for the next generation to arrive. I feel a little of this with the