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Showing posts from October, 2013

Back to Nature at Maplewood

"Based on the information presented on this report, it is recommended that the Maplewood Facility be demolished and the area naturalized"

We wholehearteldy agree. However....
The Hamilton Conservation Authority is flirting with the idea of upgrading the facility for use by a private school. Read the report - there are plenty of reasons in there why ignoring the staff recommendation is a bad idea - here they are: 1. The Maplewood facility is in need of $560,500 revenue for immediate upgrades due to its age and requirements to meet regulatory standards.

2. Due to its location on the end of steep winding gravel road with limited water service and on-site sewage system and no access to natural gas, the facilities annual operation and maintenance costs are high.

3. The return on investment if the required upgrades are implemented will be low or nonexistent. This will negatively impact the HCA budget and will also limit the attractiveness of the facility to a private operator.

4. …

Speaking of McMaster Satellites

We heard about the Ancaster Satellite Campus plan from the 1960s. Here's a plan that also didn't materialize, again, thankfully due to resistance from the community. McMaster's need for 1,000 more parking spaces also never became in issue as the parking projections were unrealistic.


The article reveals the car-centric attitude of both McMaster and the City of Hamilton staff - and illustrates the opposing viewpoint sagely expressed by Dr. Brian Baetz: "parking demand evaporates when you don't have parking. People get creative when there is no parking. When there is parking, people drive."

We certainly encourage McMaster to keep this in mind when they look at their parking programme. Reducing parking will open up much better land-use options than storing cars for short periods of time.

Ancaster Campus

Periodically when I am sorting through research archives I come across tidbits that don't relate directly to my pursuits, but connect in a tangential way.

Case in point: looking into the history of how McMaster turned a Royal Botanical Garden nature sanctuary known as Coldspring Valley into a massive parking lot in the late 1960s, I have found references to a McMaster satellite campus plan in Ancaster.

As anyone around McMaster knows, we don't have a campus in Ancaster, but there were plans as far back as the 1960s to build there, at a spot now being referred to variously as the McMaster Forest, the 115 Acre McMaster Forest, and as part of the McMaster Conservation Corridor.

The land is located upstream of McMaster, along Ancaster Creek, accessed by vehicle via Lower Lions Club road, just off of Wilson Street in Ancaster.

When I was first looking into the history of west campus I wasn't aware that McMaster owned property here. But revisiting the archives recently, the ment…

Ugliness of Vast Chunks

"Regrettably, there is not one statement about the importance of aesthetics or the ugliness of vast chunks of land being utilized for parking lots. Surely aesthetic considerations are an integral part of any policy dealing with parking."

B.N. Rosenblood to Dr. H.G. Thode, 25 June, 1969 re. Evaluation of Acres Report on Traffic and Parking, April 1969

Corridor Connecting Eco-Community

Here is the poster for the upstream component of an integral Ancaster Creek conservation corridor. While a wonderful project in isolation, we can see this as part of a larger project linking upland river valley to the floodplain in the lower valley (our Lot M) where the McMarsh project is being promoted.

These project have been selected for funding through the Forward With Integrity programme through McMaster University's President's Office.

You will see here, too, reference to artistic input, so integral to the interdisciplinary nature of these projects, again through the environmental arts at McMaster in the person of Judy Major-Girardin, again, funded through Dr. Patrick Deane's FWI.

Thanks to Professors Chad Harvey and Susan Dudley for their work on this initiative at the upland site, a magical place that will hopefully be preserved as a natural site for research and low-impact recreation.

Mapping Paradise: The poster

Yesterday's Forward With Integrity event at McMaster University featured poster boards of various projects funded through the FWI process initiated by McMaster President Patrick Deane.

McMarsh: McMaster's Living Lab, Mapping Paradise: An Environmentally Responsible Art Initiative, McMaster Conservation Corridor Teaching and Research Facility are three projects that received FWI funding and that related directly to Restore Cootes' interest in rehabilitation of degraded natural spaces connected to Cootes Paradise.

We've written (enthusiastically) about Mapping Paradise previously, but since I managed to get a photo of the display, I wanted to share it here as a way of acknowledging Judy Major-Girardin's continuing contribution to the natural world through her art classes.

Somehow in my haste to visit the displays and hobnob with both the University President and VP Administration as well as students I work with who are actively contributing their talents, I missed t…

Forward with McMarsh

Here is a poster display created to showcase the work being done on gathering baseline data for McMarsh, a Living Lab being pushed by professors at McMaster (Waddington, Quinn, Dudley, Harvey, Doubleday, Coleman, Cruikshank, Baetz, Faculties of Science, Humanities and Engineering). The outdoor facility would create hands-on research and teaching opportunities converting an unused and superfluous section of parking lot in west campus into a wetland rehabilitation project.

Restore Cootes provided details on the timeline of the area for use in creating the poster.

It was opportune to run into non other than University President Patrick Deane standing at the poster board today. When I asked him how this fit with his vision for the area he said he would like to see less parking and a more functioning ecosystem in its place!

McMarsh received funding through Dr. Deane's Forward with Integrity mission for campus, and the project has all the hallmarks of a successful blending of disciplin…