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The Hamilton Conservation Authority is moving ahead with the task of removing a dam and restoring the original watercourse on Spencer Creek at Crooks Hollow.

Restore Cootes has supported this move since it was first announced.  This type of project is philosophically central to this blog's mandate: i.e. to restore disrupted patterns of nature. Human interventions have weakened the natural world's ability to sustain life, and looking at local projects that can restore natural processes and enlarge habitat for biodiversity, well, that's exactly what we want to see more of.

Below is the news article from the Hamilton Spectator.


Deadline for a beloved dam

Gary Yokoyama/The...
DUNDAS A $1-million project to demolish Crooks' Hollow Dam and rehabilitate the area will be finished by the end of 2012, says the Hamilton Conservation Authority's chief administrative officer.
Despite hundreds of residents protesting the removal of the aging structure near Greensville, the authority has recently contracted Hatch, an engineering consultation company, to determine the best way to take down the dam and rehabilitate the river system in the area, said Steve Miazga.
The demolition of the dam, which is almost a century old, and the restoration of Spencer Creek will start in 2011 and be completed in 2012, he said, adding the public consultation phase will begin by late winter.
“The environment will be restored to what it was originally — that was a creek or river system … It has shifted away because the history of established mills or dams on the creek created artificial ponds and reservoirs,” Miazga said.
“The most important concern currently is that, with a major storm — for example a one-in-100-year storm which we had two to three instances of last year — the dam could blow out and create downstream damage both to the natural environment and possibly the built environment,” Miazga said.
The dam, built in the early 1900s as a water supply to Dundas, does not serve a flood-control purpose, he said.
Renate Intini collected more than 700 signatures to stop the demolition.
She said she believes the authority didn't take the public input into consideration when it made decisions to move forward.
Intini said people were initially presented with options, such as repairing the dam or building a weir, but the group of neighbours could not raise the $1.2 million needed to fix the structure.
“We poor suckers think we have options,” Intini said. “We don't have options. They already have in their mind what they're going to do.”
The 58-year-old has lived in Greensville for about 35 years. The dam and reservoir have been a beloved part of her memories, including a moment 25 years ago she shared with her daughter. Intini had bought the toddler three ducks and they canoed out on the water so the ducks could swim.
“Everybody's got a story about going to this dam,” she said.
Community members have rallied to keep the dam over the last year.
The Optimist Club of Greensville held a walkathon to raise money for the dam and reservoir in 2009.
The authority's board of directors voted September, 2008, to demolish the dam, but asked for an updated staff-recommendation report when residents protested the decision.
The updated report still recommended removing the dam as a better option than repairing it or constructing a weir.

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