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McMaster's Parking Problem: Next Level

I'm sharing a recent article published in the Dundas Star News about McMaster's plan to build a - get this - $17-million dollar parking structure. Seventeen million. Yes,
That's a lot of money to provide temporary shelter for vehicles of people who choose to drive to campus.
We will be following this closely. Here's the article. 

Cootes Drive six-storey McMaster University parking garage under review

Variances or amendment to zoning bylaw expected to permit parking structure

Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News, Friday, March 5, 2021

Zoning bylaw variances, or amendments, could be required for a planned six-storey, 567-space McMaster University parking garage west of Cootes Drive, and north of Thorndale Crescent.

University spokesperson Michelle Donavon said the $17-million structure on parking lot K at Westaway Road will help ongoing efforts to re-naturalize parts of the west campus, by moving some surface parking into the structure.

“These plans will increase green space and reduce the amount of surface parking, and the plan for the new parking garage complements these efforts to allow the rehabilitation work to continue,” Donavon said.

McMaster’s campus master plan includes three potential parking garages west of Cootes, around Westaway, but the university has only applied to build one so far.

“We’re piloting a different approach with this project as we look to provide parking spaces on a smaller footprint that takes up less land,” Donavon said.

The property’s current zoning allows surface parking, but apparently does not permit a parking structure. The maximum height for any building there is 2.5 storeys, and 11 metres, while McMaster’s proposal is six storeys and 20.4-metres.

City of Hamilton spokesperson Michelle Williams said the application has been circulated to internal city staff for comment.

“If there are any zoning deficiencies identified in the review of the proposal, planning staff would be the ones to suggest the appropriate planning application to address those deficiencies,” Williams said. “However, it is the applicant’s decision on how they wish to proceed.”

A group of artists, professors and other community members have participated in Designing Paradise, in support of naturalizing the west campus, which abuts a creek connected to Cootes Paradise.

English professor Daniel Coleman called the proposal “a huge boon” for the surrounding ecosystem. He said surface parking lots currently covering the valley floor create a bottleneck for water and living things travelling up or down the valley between Ancaster and Sulphur Creeks and Cootes Paradise.

Coleman said the lots also can send water carrying pollutants into the creek.

“The lots also interrupt the flood plain’s capacity to filter the water that flows down the valley toward Cootes Paradise marsh, with the result that pollutants and sediments flow more readily into Cootes,” he said.

Long-time Cootes Paradise supporter Randy Kay said he hasn’t seen details of McMaster’s proposal, but he’s eager to see if there is a direct relationship between the proposed “very expensive” parking garage and the supply in lot M next to the creek.

“I’d also like to know what McMaster is doing to reduce demand for parking, to manage demand,” Kay said. “I’m really hoping McMaster is being prudent with spending, since parking garages are not really money well spent, in my opinion.”

A capital plan update to the university’s planning committee on Feb. 10 states “the university is in need of additional parking spaces off central campus. The university currently leases land at Ward Avenue and this lease is set to expire in fiscal 2024 with no option to renew.”

Hamilton Conservation Authority had not yet received the proposal for review, as of March 2.


Randy said…
"Lot K Parking Structure ▪ This $17 million project will build a parking structure on the current Lot K parking footprint. The University is in need of additional parking spaces off central campus. The University currently leases land at Ward Ave and this lease is set to expire in Fiscal 2024 with no option to renew."

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