A nice supportive letter that appeared in the Hamilton Spectator March 29/12, following the article about Lot M. Very nice to see people engaging their imaginations to see a better future! Thanks Narina!
Unpave a parking lot, put in a paradise
McMaster paved paradise; Restore Cootes aims to restore wetland lost to campus parking lot (March 24)
With student parking occupancy at McMaster University well below capacity, vacant parking lots such as Lot M are starting to be recognized as unused spaces serving little purpose.
Here is where an amazing opportunity to utilize the space arises. Restoration of Lot M back to the natural habitat it currently rests on has immense potential for the ecosystem’s well-being, as well as the community surrounding it, both in its aesthetic and research value.
Not only does the parking lot back up against Coldspring Creek, but it replaces a large portion of riparian and forest habitat with pavement. This fragments the landscape and limits the ability of animals, such as the muskrat and water shrew, to migrate and feed at various locations along the creek banks. The lot is so close to the water’s edge that many pollutants, such as salt and oil from cars, seep into the aquatic ecosystem and may be carried downstream.
Restoration of the paved area will aid in cleansing the water as well as re-establishing natural corridors for wildlife movement that once existed. Moreover, the value of such a project would be directly felt by the McMaster community. It may not only provide a great learning opportunity for students, but the ability to research first-hand how a riparian area operates.
Addressing the space taken up by Lot M illustrates one of many exciting initiatives directed at restoring and revitalizing Hamilton with people and planet in mind. In this case, renewal will be a small but powerful step to ensuring sustainable health and well-being for wildlife and human generations that follow.
Narina Jabari, Hamilton