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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local Hamilton > Urban, Urban Design & Heritage Issues

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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2008, 3:46 PM
LikeHamilton LikeHamilton is offline
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Eramosa Karst

Quote:
ORC set for public input on karst lands

Richard Leitner Mar 28, 2008 Stoney Creek News

A group seeking to protect Stoney Creek's Eramosa Karst says it's concerned an environmental assessment on neighbouring lands is biased toward development.

Rita Giulietti, spokesperson for Friends of the Eramosa Karst, said she's glad to see the province's Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC) is conducting a thorough review of four properties it owns near the existing 73-hectare park. But she said the public agency's mandate to get the maximum value from land holdings skews the process.

The ORC gave notice last week on the province's environmental registry it is set to begin the public consultation portion of a Class C environmental assessment initiated four years ago.

The city has frozen development in the area to allow for the study.

"I think when you define value simply as monetary value, you're just going to develop it," Ms. Giulietti said. "But if you see that there's value in preserving the landscape, maybe your perspective is a little different," she said. "There are other places to develop in the Hamilton area that are not as environmentally sensitive."

Imshun Je, the ORC's environmental assessment coordinator, said the study will consider whether the buffer zone for the karst should be expanded, as several experts contend.

But she said the focus is to prepare the four sites - 87 hectares of land located east of Mount Albion Road between Rymal and Highland roads - for sale because they are "surplus to government needs."

The largest is an 80-hectare field to the immediate east of the karst, home to an abundance of caves, sink holes, dry valleys and sinking streams created by dissolving limestone.

The other parcels are to the south, along Rymal Road.

Ms. Je expects the first of two required public information meetings on the properties' future to be held in May.

Technical studies, including on area surface-water flows, are being completed, she said, calling expansion of the karst's buffer zone "an option."

"The Eramosa Karst Park definitely warrants protection," she said.

Donated to the Hamilton Conservation Authority by the ORC in the fall of 2006, the park is being readied for its official opening on June 20.

Sandy Bell, manager of design and development, said the authority hasn't taken a position on the expansion of boundaries.

Before doing so, it will review the ORC's studies, he said.

"Obviously we're interested in seeing what they've come up with because there's been a fair amount of discussion on those lands to the east," Mr. Bell said.

"These were the technical reports that were going to say what would be the impact of development on those lands, what would be the impact on karst features," he said.

"That's what we don't know right now and we haven't said too much about it, (waiting) until we receive the reports."

Those backing an expansion of the park include Marcus Buck, a cave expert who played a key role in convincing the province to protect the karst in the first place.

In a letter last August, he expressed concern that construction in the area has already ignored recommendations designed to ensure neighbouring development doesn't alter water flows into the karst.

As an example, he cited "extensive dumping of fill" within the catchment of Nexus Creek - located on ORC land to the east - that flows into Nexus Cave, the karst's biggest and rarest geological feature.

Co-author of a 2003 report that led Queen's Park to donate the karst to the conservation authority, Mr. Buck warned altering water flows may change erosion patterns in ways that "may not become apparent for many decades."

That erosion may be exacerbated by road salt and other contaminants, he cautioned. In the case of hydrocarbons - the components of fuels like methane gas - they may "create explosive atmospheres within caves."

"Ultimately, the impacts from urban development cannot be predicted entirely and this leads to some uncertainty regarding protection of the karst," Mr. Buck wrote.

Information on the ORC's consultation process is at www.ebr.gov.on.ca, registry number 010-2236.

StoneyCreekNews.com
Friends of the Eramosa Karst

http://www.friendsoferamosakarst.org/
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 31, 2008, 3:48 PM
LikeHamilton LikeHamilton is offline
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Quote:
Support karst with spaghetti dinner

Mar 28, 2008

Friends of the Eramosa Karst is holding a spaghetti dinner April 11 to raise funds to help spread awareness and to support the Hamilton Conservation Authority with its development of the conservation area.

As the Ontario Realty Board continues to study the lands in question and while the development process is on hold, this group is proceeding with plans to assist the HCA in having the lands added to the existing Eramosa Karst Conservation Area.

The event will include prizes, a silent auction, cash bar, entertainment andinformation at Michelangelo's Banquet Centre. Doors open at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. Cost, $20. To request tickets, e-mail

directors@friendsoferamosakarst.org .
Friends of the Eramosa Karst

FOTEK is a volunteer not-for-profit organization.

www.friendsoferamosakarst.org
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2008, 3:12 AM
DC83 DC83 is offline
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some related stories that were posted before SSP:Local format was established:

Fate of karst land to be debated
Residents would like to see 'Central Park' on Mountain

Nicole Macintyre
The Hamilton Spectator

(Sep 4, 2007)
Home builders are challenging community efforts to protect land beside the Eramosa Karst in upper Stoney Creek from development.

Some 800 houses are at stake in the land battle that will ultimately be decided by the province, which owns the 36-hectare parcel of former farmland.

A year ago, the province gave 73 hectares of the karst northeast of Rymal Road East and Upper Mount Albion Road to the Hamilton Conservation Authority. The Ontario Realty Corp. is now deciding what to do with leftover land around the protected zone.

Residents and Councillor Brad Clark want the land to the east to be designated as parkland to protect feeder streams that flow into the karst.

But the Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders' Association is prepared to fight the move, arguing instead that the land should be developed as long-standing plans indicate.

"The infrastructure is there already," said president Vince Molinaro, noting the city budgeted for the land in growth plans. If the province protects the land, that will only push development farther out, he argues.

"We feel it encourages jumping outside the urban area," he said, noting the association will only accept the move if the city is prepared to find new development land elsewhere.

With upward of 40,000 homes planned for the area, developers should leave the small parcel alone, argues resident Tom Zietsma.

"Do we need more development in the area or do we need a showcase park?"

Clark said that the developers are only motivated by money and argues the only way to ensure the karst's protection is to stop development.

"Wouldn't it be great to have Hamilton's own Central Park on the Mountain?" he said of the land's potential.

The province is currently studying the land to determine the potential consequences of development. There are conflicting opinions so far, as the mayor continues negotiations with the province.

The city doesn't have the funds to buy the land to protect it.

Staff are recommending that planning and road studies for the area be delayed until the land matter has been decided.

Councillors will debate the issue at today's planning meeting at City Hall.


City tables decision on development near karst, hopes to hear from province

September 05, 2007
Sharon Boase
The Hamilton Spectator
(Sep 5, 2007)
The city's planning committee has called a time out on development plans for a sensitive parcel of land next to the Eramosa Karst in Stoney Creek.

Some 800 homes proposed for 36 hectares to the east of the magnificent limestone arrangement of underground caves and passages have been put on hold until later this year when city council hopes to find out what Queen's Park will do with it.

Delegates to yesterday's economic development and planning committee said the land ought to be designated as parkland so that feeder streams on it flowing into the karst will be protected from encroaching development.

The committee also voted to stall an environmental assessment for a roadway through the Trinity neighbourhood, which includes the Eramosa Karst. Instead, it wants to wait and earmark $200,000 from the 2008 budget for a roadway "master plan" for the area.

The committee gave the OK to secondary planning for development west of the karst and north of Rymal Road.

Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark, who has joined area residents in calling for the land to the east to be designated parkland, said home builders have been opposed to protecting that land from the get-go.

During yesterday's lengthy discussion, Clark said the Ontario Realty Corp. overseeing the land appears to have already made up its mind in favour of development.

The Eramosa Karst contains life forms that survived the last Ice Age, biologist Dr. Joe Minor told the committee. "Life in the caves needs a supply of clean water and development will affect that."

In 2006, the province gave 73 hectares of the karst to the Hamilton Conservation Authority. It's up to the Ontario Realty Corp. to decide the fate of land surrounding the protected zones.

The Hamilton-Halton Home Builders' Association wants to build houses on the contested parcel. President Vince Molinario told a committee yesterday that association representatives need more time to develop a response.

The province is studying potential consequences of development.
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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2008, 3:14 AM
DC83 DC83 is offline
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Quote:
"Wouldn't it be great to have Hamilton's own Central Park on the Mountain?" he said of the land's potential.
Brad Clark is a fool. The point of having CENTRAL park, Brad, is for it to be CENTRAL! ie: Gage Park, not Elfrida/Summit Park/Whatever the area is called now-a-days haha Thank god he's not my councillor!
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2008, 3:31 AM
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waterloowarrior waterloowarrior is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DC83 View Post
But the Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders' Association is prepared to fight the move, arguing instead that the land should be developed as long-standing plans indicate.

"The infrastructure is there already," said president Vince Molinaro, noting the city budgeted for the land in growth plans. If the province protects the land, that will only push development farther out, he argues.

"We feel it encourages jumping outside the urban area," he said, noting the association will only accept the move if the city is prepared to find new development land elsewhere.
.
who knew the developers were so concerned about sprawl and outward growth?
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2008, 4:01 AM
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HAMRetrofit HAMRetrofit is offline
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How about some jumping into the inner city. The home builders will be bouncing their heads off the wall for the next ten years until they figure out growth policy is now directed inside the city. By that time, they will be broke from all the financial wheels they keep spinning. Shameless drifters, it is good for the little guys for the time being, making money off of turning around old properties is so easy right now.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jun 7, 2008, 1:37 PM
LikeHamilton LikeHamilton is offline
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Battle looms over karst buffer zone

Richard Leitner Jun 06, 2008 Stoney Creek News

Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark wants the city to force the province's hand on expanding the protection area for the Eramosa karst by rezoning government-owned land to the east as open space.

He said Queen's Park is "playing games" by suggesting the city supports developing the area, even after council passed a unanimous resolution calling for its preservation.

The economic development and planning committee recently directed staff to study the possibility of rezoning the land to prevent development.

"Let the province be the ones to actually say, 'No we want to develop the land," Mr. Clark said.

"We froze the secondary plans (in the area)," he said. "To say that we want to develop it is slightly more than disingenuous."

The call for the municipal hardball comes as the Ontario Realty Corp. prepares to hold an open house this Wednesday as part of an environmental assessment on 87 hectares of land near the existing Eramosa Karst Conservation Area, most of it to the immediate east.

Mr. Clark and other karst supporters argue development will threaten the 73-hectare park's abundance of caves, sink holes, dry valleys and sinking streams.

Adding fuel to the debate is the re-emergence of a buried sinkhole on the ORC land near the corner of Richdale and Fairhaven drives.

Marcus Buck, a cave expert who helped convince the province to establish the karst park is not surprised the sinkhole resurfaced.

Unless properly re-engineered, such sinkholes can be expected to reappear because the park is only a small portion of the geologic formation, he said.

"If you look at the backyards (in the area), there are low lying depressions. I don't doubt for a second that they've been filled in over the years," Mr. Buck said. "To put it in perspective, the karst continues 10 kilometres to the east and several to the west," he said. "This (park) is only a piece of it and there's other issues to the west all the way to Upper Ottawa (Street) and beyond."

ORC spokesperson Bill Moore said the sinkhole is part of the assessment.

It has been fenced off and has a yardstick inserted into its centre.

"I'm not aware that it was filled in," he said. "The whole area is part of the review and that particular area, they wanted to protect and prevent people from entering into it."

In an earlier interview, Imshun Je, the ORC's environmental assessment coordinator, told the Stoney Creek News the study will consider expansion of the karst's buffer zone as "an option." But she acknowledged the focus is to prepare the land - located west of Second Road West between Rymal and Highland roads - for sale to developers because it is "surplus to government needs."

Mr. Buck said the report he co-authored on the karst took a conservative approach to protection because the entire area was slated for development. He supports the city's efforts to expand the park because recent development already placed fill in feeder areas and diverted water flows.

"The process of building housing is extremely complicated and there's a lot of issues," Mr. Buck said. "You've got a lot of priorities in there that are way above trying to worry about whether there's a karst there or not, whether it's a natural heritage feature," he said.

"You've got public safety, a whole bunch of things. My concern now is, they go to develop that, ultimately the preservation of the karst will not be at the top of the priority list."

The ORC open house takes place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hamilton Firefighters Drum Corps Banquet Facility, 175 Dartnall Rd. S.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2008, 3:28 PM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Eramosa Karst Official Opening June 20

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, Ted McMeekin, Government and Consumer Services Minister, Doug Duke, Chairman of Heritage Green Community Trust, Aldo DeSantis, President of Multi-Area Developments Inc. and former regional chairman Terry Cooke will join HCA Chairman Chris Firth-Eagland, former HCA GM Ben Vanderbrug, Hamilton Conservation Foundation Chairman Matt Casey, HCA staff and members of the public to officially open Hamilton’s newest conservation area, the Eramosa Karst.

Date: Friday, June 20
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Eramosa Karst Conservation Area. Parking is off Upper Mount Albion Road between Rymal Road and Highland Road West.

Located in the south-western Stoney Creek area of Hamilton, the karst property extends from Highland Road to south of Rymal Road, and from Upper Mount Albion Road to Second Road West.

Karsts are geological formations including underground drainage, caves and passages caused by dissolving rock; found in limestone formations like the Niagara Escarpment. The Ministry of Natural Resources designated the Eramosa Karst lands as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) in 2003, because it is believed to have the largest number of unique karst features in any single protected area in the province. Several of its karst features are provincially significant. These include: soil pipes, a high concentration of suffosion dolines (sinkholes) and sinking streams, overflow sinks, dry valleys and a 335 metre-long cave (the tenth longest in all of Ontario).

The new conservation area will offer a community trail to allow people to easily and safely access its many interesting features, as well as an interpretive kiosk with displays and information about the karst features visitors will see during their trip.

Following the official opening, which will begin at 2 p.m., Dr. Stephen Worthington and Marcus Buck, two of the men responsible for writing the report that resulted in the Eramosa Karst’s designation as an ANSI, along with HCA’s Customer Service and Operations Manager and naturalist Bruce Mackenzie, will offer short tours of the area until 4 p.m. Refreshments will also be available.
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  #9  
Old Posted Jul 11, 2008, 2:27 AM
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finally got a chance to check this out this evening.. really cool.. must go again when i have more time to explore the actual caves and whatnot
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  #10  
Old Posted Aug 15, 2008, 11:19 AM
markbarbera markbarbera is online now
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from today's edition of thespec.com:

Quote:
Rules laid out for greenbelt expansion


August 15, 2008
The Hamilton Spectator

Ontario has unveiled rules that will allow for the expansion of the greenbelt in the Golden Horseshoe and along the Niagara Escarpment.

This could help residents who are seeking to protect a parcel of environmentally sensitive land beside the new Eramosa Karst Conservation Area in Stoney Creek from development.

The property is owned by the Ontario Realty Corp. and open to residential development. The Public Infrastructure Renewal Ministry is reviewing the residents' appeal.

Adam Grachnik, spokesperson for Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson, said it's "hypothetical" to say this could help protect the land, but expansion is designed to help municipalities protect more forests, wetlands and farmlands. Watson unveiled six criteria for municipalities to follow. One is to consult with the public and aboriginal communities.

The province won't consider trading land in the greenbelt for land outside the greenbelt.
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