November 26, 2012
SCALED BACK PARKING MAKES ROOM FOR
EXPANDED CREEK BUFFER AT McMASTER
While scaling back parking means 318 less parking spaces according to measurements taken by the Hamilton Conservation Authority, a surplus of available parking at peak demand of over 1,000 spaces means no drivers will lose the ability to park on campus.
The news comes from a presentation given by university administration to the President's Advisory Committee on Cootes Paradise on Friday, November 9/12, at McMaster University.
The 30m campaign began with a letter from Restore Cootes to the University Planning Committee in March 2011 requesting the fulfillment of the minimum 30m naturalized buffer mentioned in the 2002 Campus Master Plan. A ongoing series of “Ponds to Parking” history-hikes led by Restore Cootes began in December 2011, introducing dozens of students, faculty, staff and community members to the significant but degraded natural area in west campus dominated by pavement, where previously there were ponds, streams and wetland habitat.
Restore Cootes followed up with the UPC a year later (March 2012) with a repeat of the request for the 30m buffer, as well as an argument against re-paving a section of Lot M closed for three years. This second aspect of the campaign remains alive, as a group of professors have since formed a committee to seek access to this environmentally important section to create an outdoor research facility to restore the paved-over wetland.
The 30m buffer is a small but significant step toward our goal of full rehabilitation of the floodplain that was previously known as the Royal Botanical Gardens' Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary, paved over in the late 1960s when McMaster took over the RBG property.
Over the period of the campaign to date, Restore Cootes has been joined by and drawn invaluable assistance from student volunteers at McMaster, the Hamilton Conservation Authority, the President's Advisory Committee on Cootes Paradise (PACCP), MacGreen, OPIRG McMaster, and the professors in the "McMaster Marsh" group, among others.
Restore Cootes seeks opportunities to enhance and restore natural areas on the periphery of Cootes Paradise that have been degraded or lost to development.