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Showing posts from April, 2012

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 i…

It could have been even worse!

Which of these proposed lots in West Campus were never built?

(From "McMaster University Internal Traffic and Parking Report, Ultimate Campus Development" February 1969)


(answers: W4 - 90 spaces  and Lot W6, 200 spaces on the west side of Ancaster Creek, both to be built in 1972. Also, the G4 section was to be a parking structure to hold 1,000 vehicles with a completion date of 1975)

take care...

"...we can look to hunter-gatherer cultures for a certain kind of tolerance and patience – a sense that things take time. Any developments should be pursued only with great caution; changing the environment is a serious matter; the construction of mega-projects is a matter for scepticism. These too are to do with respect – of the land that is going to be devastated by these things and for all the creatures, animal and human, that are at risk."
Hugh Brody
"Very few, if any, can express the views of the Royal Botanical Gardens, as can W.J. Lamoureux, in his recent review of the situation of taking over of the property of Cootes Paradise for the expansion of McMaster University….few know of the many people that enjoy the untouched and original places that the Royal Botanical Gardens preserve and maintain and it would be to the discredit of Hamilton and district if this area were ‘whittled away a little at a time’ as expressed by Mr. Lamoureux.”
· June 29/66 – Letters to t…

McMaster 81 in Hamilton

McMaster University as an education institution is celebrating 125 years, though the campus in Hamilton is 81 years old.

McMaster's start in Hamilton, which began with the opening of the academic year 1931, is entwined with the origins of the Royal Botanical Gardens, and one of the prime movers in both these institutions was Hamilton's Thomas Baker McQuesten. In fact McMaster Chancellor Howard P. Whidden, who served in that capacity from 1923 to 1941, credited McQuesten with being "one of the great big factors which has made the whole thing possible."
"Do not forget that from the beginning I have been under indebtedness to you for constant support and inspiration in connection with the bringing of McMaster to Hamilton, and the making possible of its beautiful surroundings and setting." (Whidden to McQuesten, quoted in Tragedy and Triumph, Ruby and Thomas B. McQuesten, by Mary J. Anderson) It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the natural sett…

Threat to Fisheries Act "Stupid Idea" - expert

CATCH News – April 11, 2012 Water protection law threatened The city of Hamilton was charged and convicted under the Fisheries Act of polluting a local creek and Hamilton Harbour with toxic chemicals, and was forced to pay a record fine a decade ago and spend millions to fix the problematic leaking landfills. Now the federal government is poised to drastically weaken that legislation apparently to speed approval of a pipeline across British Columbia that would carry Alberta tar sands bitumen to foreign refineries. The widely reported planned changes to the Fisheries Act referred to in the recent federal budget could also prevent prosecution of parties responsible for other pollutants entering local waterways including the chemical contamination running off Hamilton’s airport. Whether charges should be laid on the latter contamination is a specific question now before the federal auditor general as a result of a petition filed last month by Environment Hamilton board member Joe Minor. W…

Spring spring, terminating in a drain...

The beautiful spring weather is evident in the North-facing slopes of the former Coldspring Valley, now McMaster Parking. Skunk Cabbage, considered an "edge-of-wetlands plant," thrives as the cold spring waters trickle down the hillside.

Whereas formerly the spring might have fed into the now vanished Binkley's Pond or contributed to a spring creek moseying through a "wet woodland" (as marked on a historic Royal Botanical Gardens trail map), it now terminates at a drain, a rather ignoble end to such a magical and delicate operation of nature.  Restore Cootes is seeking the cooperation of the University to reclaim the adjacent lands from their current use for parking McMaster's cars (on a lot which for the majority of each week remains near empty) so that it can be restored to its former natural glory.

QuadCopter View of McMaster Campus and Parking

Thanks to my friend Szara for alerting me to this video. A fun way to get a bird's eye view of campus from just west of Cootes Drive at the Westaway Bridge. You get a good sense of how large the footprint of the campus is.