Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2014

Trickle Down Coldspring News: no one will lose a parking space

With construction crews tearing up McMaster's Lot M Parking asphalt to create the minimum requirement of a 30 metre naturalized buffer between parking and the cold-water Ancaster Creek, nary a peep in the McMaster Daily News or Parking's web site news.


I've asked a few people with parking passes in Lot M if they know what is going on with the large scale construction project: no one had an inkling, thinking it was a just a repaving job.

I e-mailed the parking office April 16 to ask what was going on, and have not received a reply.

So today I was in the school bookstore on other business when I noticed a parking desk/kiosk in the store. I spoke with the person staffing the booth and asked about Lot M: they explained the work was a project for the Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) to protect the creek, and when I asked about loss of parking effecting current parking pass holders, they explained that drivers who had a permit in lot M and wanted renewal would get a spot o…

Ponds To Parking: The Historical Talk

From Ponds to Parking, and Back Again: The History of Coldspring Valley.The relationship between McMaster and the Royal Botanical Gardens is intwined by a mutual history, and confounded by conflicting requirements. In 1963 McMaster purchased the Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary property from a reluctant RBG and turned it into a massive parking lot. 50 years later is there a chance for the lost floodplain to make a come-back?


How's that for a title and synopsis? Would you come and listen if I promise not to go on too long? Pencil in Oct. 9, 2014 at the Dundas Historical Museum (7:30pm start)

Hands On Research

Undergraduates are already benefitting from research in the west campus that will expand once the McMarsh project is a reality. These students are working at a site where the springs are discharging that would eventually feed McMarsh. Professor Mike Waddington is a key member of the McMarsh team, and his expanded engagement with this project has him creating a brand new course titled "Field techniques in Hydrology" starting in September.

These are exciting times of major changes for McMaster as we revalue land use, from excess parking to rehabilitation of natural lands with a hands-on teaching and research component that enhances the learning environment of the campus.

There's already a lot more activity in Lot M with several classes from McMaster engaging with the site as an opportunity to further educational goals across disciplines. Courses doing work in the area include Integrated Science ISCI 1A24, ISCI 2A18, ISCI 3A12, Environmental Science 3B03, 4B03, Engineerin…

5 years

Yes, it's been over 5 years since the south west section of Lot M was closed for a major construction project to install a combined sewer overflow tank. The original notice with map of area (the closed section was actually larger than just the CSO tank shown, since the city needed the parking lot to store equipment and the earth dug out to create the underground holding tank)


If the University Administration agrees to extend the development of the Forward with Integrity grant through the McMaster President's Office, this south-western former parking lot could be transformed into McMarsh, a unique, hands-on outdoor teaching and research facility for McMaster students and researchers, and include public access to learning opportunities on wetland/floodplain rehabilitation.

LOT M CHRONOLOGY

One thing leads to another: with Restore Cootes' founding focused on Cootes Drive's negative impact on habitat, further historical research deepened our understanding of the massive changes wrought on this special place by human development. Our selected chronology touches on some key moments in the pursuit of restoring the natural connections lost to car-centric development, and the amazing opportunity we are presented with today to gain ground, literally, for rehabilitating the ecology of lost floodplains and specialized habitat. 

August 2001 - Restore Cootes founded with proposal to restore wetland lost when Cootes Drive built by removing Cootes Drive: “Ecologically, it makes wonderful sense." HRCA Ecologist Bruce Duncan quoted in Dundas Star News
March 2002 - Reading through the McMaster Campus Master Plan reveals a project on paper that we will later pursue on the ground:

“7.3.12 A number of opportunities exist for campus development to contribute to enhancing the wate…

Big News in LOT M

It is exciting to see McMaster finally taking action to tear up asphalt in Lot M to create the 30 metre naturalized buffer between the parking lots and the cold water creek known variously as Ancaster Creek, Red Creek (historically), and Coldwater Creek after Restore Cootes started advocating for action.

What strikes me as a little bizarre, and disappointing, is the lack of communication on this good news initiative from McMaster. No news updates on the Daily News website at McMaster, nothing on the Parking News site, it appears that parking pass holders in the lots were not notified about the changes (which we understand will mean no parking pass holders will lose a space due to excess capacity of campus lots).

A more complete post will come shortly, but for now, happy days for the natural world and the health of Ancaster Creek in the former floodplain!

Fencing in the natural world in a biodiversity hotspot is a band aid, not a solution

This article appeared in the Hamilton Spectator today (April 10, 2014) - from our own headline (above) I want to ensure it is clear we support the RBG fence as a temporary fix for a long-term problem. We need to protect vulnerable species from extirpation, due in large part to road kill. But a better solution is to be found at the core of  Restore Cootes' vision. More on that soon.  - rk

RBG wants permanent fence to protect trekking turtles TURTLERon Pozzer,Spectator fileA Blandings turtle seen in 2004. New efforts are underway to protect turtles along Cootes Drive. By Mark McNeil The Royal Botanical Gardens and the Hamilton Conservation Authority Foundation are ramping up efforts to prevent a fragile population of turtles and other wildlife from getting run over by vehicles on Cootes Drive. The RBG wants to build a permanent fence, three-quarters of a kilometre long, that is expected to cost more than $30,000, on the east side of the road near the edge of McMaster University prope…