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Turtles top parking lot at Desjardins Canal in Dundas

RBG working with Hydro One on turning Cootes parking lot into turtle nesting area
Hamilton Spectator 
By Craig Campbell

Working with land owner Hydro One, the Royal Botanical Gardens has created a management plan that will turn an informal Cootes Paradise parking lot into a meadow and turtle nesting area.

There is no plan to reopen public access through Hydro One's Olympic Drive property to the Desjardins Canal and an unofficial trail.

"The authorized water access for Cootes Paradise is Princess Point," said Tys Theysmeyer, RBG director of lands.

He said access through the private property became "totally abused" with, among other issues, illegal dumping, overnight tractor trailer parking and vehicles destroying grass areas.

Hydro One and the Royal Botanical Gardens have agreed on a plan to manage the location.

"Much of the gravel will be removed and the area turned into a meadow," he said. "Some of the gravel will be used to build turtle nesting sites."

Theysmeyer told Dundas Community Council in a presentation that Hydro One has experienced problems with endangered and threatened turtle species nesting in their truck parking area.

The company and RBG are working together to provide alternate spots for turtles to safely nest.

Although the area has been a popular location for people to access a trail along the Desjardins Canal, and also launch canoes into the waterway, it's never been officially recognized for those purposes and is private property owned by Hydro One.

Hydro One spokesperson Alicia Sayers said the company closed access in order to minimize impacts on the environment.

"One of the primary reasons for this was due to nesting turtles in the area. Hydro One worked with the Royal Botanical Gardens to install turtle nesting beds and we have also modified our maintenance practices in the area, particularly, our grass-cutting schedules, to support nesting turtles," Sayers said.

Hydro One also installed mesh at the base of fencing to prevent nesting turtles from entering facilities beyond the natural landscape.

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LINK TO ARTICLE: http://www.thespec.com/news-story/5799277-rbg-working-with-hydro-one-on-turning-cootes-parking-lot-into-turtle-nesting-area/ (Hamilton Community News)


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