Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from January, 2014

CONSERVATION COIN

A happy ending for conservation lovers, as the Hamilton Conservation Authority Board buys into removal of Maplewood Hall (and the long roadway and parking area) to rehabilitate the natural lands at this beautiful property.

Money from private donors saved the day, swaying the HCA Advisory Board to finally agree to what the HCA staff report had previously unequivocally determined was the best course of action.

Yet this victory for nature leaves me somewhat disconcerted about how this all played out, and what it might mean for the HCA's future.

Here's how I interpreted the chain of events: Maplewood is losing money, the HCA decides to examine it's future. HCA staff prepare a detailed report outlining various options and recommend removing Maplewood and naturalizing the area as the preferred option. The HCA Board decides to wait and seek other options, though it seems there was no formal process to seek options. At some point Tony Evans of the Dundas Montessori school gets tol…

One Win for the Public Good!

Donors convince HCA to abandon valley lease plan By Richard Leitner (January 22, 2014, Hamilton Community News)
An outpouring of financial support to pay for the demolition of a former Dundas Valley outdoor education centre has effectively killed a bid by a private school to rent the building.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority's advisory board voted unanimously last week to recommend Maplewood Hall be torn down after donors pledged $213,000 toward the project, which will also see the 13-hectare Artaban Road property restored to a natural state.

While the recommendation must still go to authority directors on March 6 for final approval, their OK is likely a formality because five of 11 directors were on hand to support the advisory board recommendation.

"It's the largest single spontaneous outpouring of funds from one community I've ever seen in such a short time," said authority vice-chair Jim Howlett, one of the directors who helped make the recommendation unanim…

Maplewood Not Out of the Woods Yet

From the Conservation Advisory Board, to the Full Conservation Board last Thursday, and now back to the Conservation Advisory Board we go. Maplewood isn't quite dead yet. Soon, hopefully, the idea of a private school in the middle of public conservation lands will be dealt a final blow, and the natural lands will be allowed to regenerate, as suggested by HCA staff in a thorough report (that keeps getting ignored by the board)

I'm using more time than I thought I would need on this file, getting my car-less self to far flung meeting locations only to see this thing kicked around despite all the good arguments for demolition, so I'm going to borrow from the recent update from the Hamilton Naturalists Club.
Hamilton Conservation Authority Meeting: Thursday, January 16th, 7pm at Ironwood Hall, Westfield Village (follow Hwy 8 north-west through Dundas, cross Hwy 5 and continue to Kirkwall Road/RR#552 just past Rockton. Turn right and follow for 1.5km) The Club reports that
"…

Research Roundup

Well well, those amazing McMaster Arts and Science students are certainly giving Cootes Paradise a look in a way that Restore Cootes appreciates. From Lot M' s 30m buffer, transportation demand management for McMaster, McMarsh, McMaster Forest and yes, even Cootes Drive, they're all here (and more) in this online presentation:
http://prezi.com/h0uam4f60rjb/artsci-4cg3-2013-research-posters/

It is great to have the support of McMaster students and professors as these real-life local issues take on a new life. Thanks to OPIRG McMaster as well for supporting the project.


December Ends with No Construction

At the end of November McMaster's Director of Parking and Security told me that construction to create the 30 metre naturalized buffer would begin in December, and planting in the spring. A visit to the site today reveals that while no parking spots have been removed from the edge of Lot M along Ancaster Creek, some equipment to do the job is in place (unconfirmed assumption - rk).

I hope to be there to get some time-lapse images when the construction starts. This is an important phase in a realigning of our values to better reflect care and concern for the health of the natural world. Removing parking to bring back a cleaner and healthier Ancaster Creek is a small but significant step in the right direction: Kudos to McMaster for doing the right thing.