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Showing posts from May, 2013

Before? and After...

Using my meagre photoshop skills, I took a photo of floodplain land upstream on Ancaster Creek, and cropped Sarah into the current parking lot. Based on a lot of historical descriptions it is probably fairly close to the truth. Biodiversity loss? Oh yeah? Loss of natural floodplain function? You know it. Oh, and if we want to talk about beauty, I guess we can agree that a parking lot doesn't do much for us other than hold a bunch of drivers' cars, many of whom come from 3 to 5 km away.

Maria's (blocked) Walk

"The way leads along for several hundred feet though young deciduous woods until a junction is reached. The trail which goes uphill is Maria’s Walk leading to Thorndale Entrance."

That quote, from 1961, by RBG's ConservationistW.J. Lamoureux is part of a larger description of the trails in the Royal Botanical Gardens' Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary, now McMaster Parking lots M, N, O, and P.

The photo above is from the vantage point at the bottom of Maria's Walk, as described by Lamoureux , but we can see that 50 years later, while the trail is largely intact, the use and meaning of the area has changed drastically. 

Rather than a very nice forest trail, McMaster treats the path as a liability and goes to great lengths to block and hide its existence. People still use it, but obviously in contravention of the University's wishes. That's what happens when you pave a nature sanctuary for parking: remnants of the forest are actively marginalized and steps ar…

Word on the Street

"Cootes Drive, by the way, has got to be the most unnecessary strip of asphalt in the whole city and that's saying something."
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/archive/index.php/t-142753.html



Not if, but when?

Is this the only info available on the 30 metre naturalized buffer we are waiting for?
City of Hamilton Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Tank
Spring 2013
City of Hamilton Project
Agreement with City of Hamilton has been finalized. Work to proceed in Spring 2013.

http://www.mcmaster.ca/mufa/ProjectStatusReport.pdf

Dundas EcoPark: The Feature Film

Drawing Inspiration

Looking ahead, a vision for the west campus parking that scales back the west campus parking surface to replace asphalt with a 30 metre naturalized buffer zone that would eliminate surface run-off and catch basin drains that empty polluted water directly into Ancaster Creek.

At the lower end of the image is the area of the parking Lot M closed for over 4 years for a Hamilton Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) tank construction project; the vision for this section is phase one of an outdoor multi-disciplinary research and teaching facility that would focus on wetland restoration.


As we know, the entire area of Lot M is the floodplain for lower Ancaster Creek, which was lost in the late 1960s as McMaster University wrested the property from the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) to create parking atop what was known as Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary. The spring creeks were diverted, Ancaster Creek was moved into a new channel to create more space for parking, the low lying land filled in, an…

Back to the Future: History Hike

The weather cooperated and we had a warm sunny lunch hour hike through west campus today. This is the first group to see the ghost trail "Maria's Walk" the largest of the remaining Coldspring Valley Trails still somewhat intact. The changes to the landscape have been largely negative i.e. filling in a nature sanctuary floodplain to create surface parking, but good things are happening too.

McMaster has committed to creating a naturalized 30 metre buffer between existing parking and Ancaster Creek which runs along beside Parking Lot M.

A group of professors are advocating that a section of the lot be transformed from overflow parking into Canada's first outdoor research facility focused on wetland rehabilitation. That's right, from paving for parking, to paradise.

It seems that each time there is a little more to report on these history hikes, and as long as the new developments are positive, it keeps it fun.

I really enjoyed my time with these lovely people toda…