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road removal

This story isn't about Cootes - but a nearby natural area - the Ancaster Councillor exhibits a less than novel argument, that old "Drive-Thru Nature" one where car access trumps environmental integrity. If you don't know this area, it is certainly just barely a road, and a very muddy rutted almost-road at that.

Conservation Authority puts Dundas Valley road closure bid on hold
Richard Leitner, Dundas Star News Staff, Published on Mar 13, 2009

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is delaying a request to close and acquire a 1.4- kilometre stretch of a Dundas Valley road to allow for discussions with the city on how to limit access by four-wheel-drive trucks, dumpers and bush partiers.

Directors agreed to hold off on a bid to close the “badly rutted” dirt track on Martin Road after Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson implored them to consider other solutions that will maintain it as a public right-of- way.

He suggested the road might be upgraded to allow one-way traffic and give “the elderly and disabled the opportunity to drive though nature,” as well as to potentially host events like bicycle marathons and community fundraisers. Martin Road, which runs between Jerseyville and Mineral Springs roads, is narrower than standard municipal streets and the section in question isn’t maintained by the city.

“I’m just a touch thin about taking privileges away from the elderly in our community because kids want to come in and get tanked up at bush parties,” Mr. Ferguson said.

“This is a real jewel right dead centre in Ancaster,” he said. “My fear is that if we just go and close this, what else are we going to lose?”

Chief administrative officer Steve Miazga said the authority can continue to allow access for special events, but the goal of the closure is to limit the dumping and damage created by unauthorized use.

If it assumes ownership from the city, the authority plans to create a public trail on the section, which comprises about the inner third of the road.

“This goes through an environmentally sensitive area, that being the Dundas Valley. It is a very important broad-leaf forest in that area and has many ecological features,” Mr. Miazga said.

“In global terms, the Dundas Valley also has endangered species. If, in fact, the road was to be established here in the future at any time or improvements undertaken to the dirt track, then of course we would have to undertake a study to show if any rare or endangered species were affected.”

While agreeing to defer action to allow for talks with the city, other directors expressed support for closing the road.

“I don’t want a battle over it,” said Flamborough Councillor Robert Pasuta. “We have vehicles moving in and bringing in material and dumping it off,” he said.

“I like the trail idea, that people can walk through and we maintain that. I walked that last year. It’s a beautiful walk.”

Vice-chair Don McKay said he believes authority ownership would improve the state of the roadway and still allow for appropriate community events, including the existing annual Autumn Stroll hosted by Ancaster’s Rotary clubs.

“It would be a bonus,” he said. “I think there would probably be a better opportunity because it would be maintained, would be looked after by the conservation authority, there would be trails there.”

http://www.dundasstarnews.com/news/article/166551

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