Skip to main content

wa$te not, restore lot

This is what permeable paving looks like at McMaster's test plot on campus (between parking lot G and the North quad residence buildings).
The goal of using permeable paving is for water to seep back into the earth rather than running off impermeable surfaces like asphalt parking lots. An admirable goal, but the current plan at McMaster is to use this in a section of Lot M that has been closed for a construction project for the past three years.
The problem? well firstly, the lot is not needed to meet parking requirements. There remain an oversupply of parking even without this lot, and there appear to be in excess of 1,000 spaces even at peak demand (McMaster University Campus Capacity Study, April 2011). There have been no supply problems during the last three years, so the experience has shown results.
Further, the city and the university have money for a repaving project, but the money could be used instead for creating a 30 metre naturalized buffer between the parking lots in Lot M, and Ancaster Creek, according to the city. The question becomes, how is the money best spent? paving a lot we don't require, or restoring the riparian habitat next to the creek?
The 30 metre buffer is in the Campus Master Plan as a minimum requirement, so it really comes down to making a choice between the old (parking) and the new (restoration) - supporting the intention of the master plan to create a healthier creek could even go much further than the 30m minimum, and look at the hydrology of the land to re-create the wetland lost when McMaster paved over this former Royal Botanical Garden nature sanctuary, known as Coldspring Valley until purchased by McMaster to create parking in the 1960s.
Restore Cootes loves the idea of permeable paving to replace asphalt or concrete lots, however, we do not see any valid reason why McMaster would insist on using the section of Lot M to do a pilot project. It is likely that the lot would be closed during the winters since a permeable lot presents difficulties with standard ploughing operations because "the material was not specifically design to be completely ploughed"(ENGSCTY 4X03 Inquiry Report, 2010, by Tommy Lee).
So a parking lot that isn't needed now, and if built may only be serviceable part of the year, that would take money that could be used for truly sustainable restoration of natural habitat next the a sensitive creek/wetland...let's look at the sustainability big picture!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Urquhart Butterfly Garden speaker series

A lovely butterfly garden is the perfect setting for this annual speaker series.
August 4, 2018, Guest speaker: Doreen Nicoll You cannot have Monarch Butterflies without milkweed.  Doreen Nicoll has recently become a heroine for monarch butterflies, by insisting on her rights to grow milkweed in her naturalized garden in Burlington.

Doreen  Nicoll has long understood that garden with nature and not against her is the best thing for our planet. She also knows that native plants are great at attracting butterflies and bees of all species.

Doreen will be the first presenter in the Summer Series at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden and her topic will be Monarchs and Their Milkweed and naturalized gardening. She has wealth of information and is fun as well!

The session will begin at 11 am Saturday on August 4 and last approximately one hour.  Please bring a chair.

If it rains the session will be cancelled.


For more information about the Urquhart Butterfly Garden please visit urquhartbutterfly.c…

Salamander Safety!

http://www.insidehalton.com/news-story/4430337-city-closing-king-road-for-salamanders-starting-march-27/

King Road will close from the base of the Niagara Escarpment to Mountain Brow Road from March 27-April 17 to allow the endangered Jefferson salamander safe passage during its annual migration to lay eggs.

Beginning in 2012, the City of Burlington has closed the same section of road completely for a three-week period.

“The closure is a significant conservation measure because the annual migration puts salamanders at risk,” said Bruce Zvaniga, the city’s director of transportation services, in a press release.

“There is good evidence that the effort has allowed the Jefferson salamanders to travel safely across King Road, helping preserve a unique part of Burlington’s biodiversity.”

The Jefferson salamander is a protected species and is nationally and provincially endangered.

In Canada, the Jefferson salamander is found in Southern Ontario in select areas of deciduous forest, mostly along t…

History Hike in West Campus Tuesday, September 11 at 2pm

We're going on a hike to introduce McMaster students (and any other interested participants) to this former RBG Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary and coldwater creek floodplain  - currently a parking lot - to examine the past, present and future of this place that is undergoing an important ecological transformation.
Tour Leaders Dan Coleman (English Professor and author of Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place)Randy Kay (Restore Cootes)Judy Major-Girardin (School of the Arts)