Special Report: Dundas EcoPark

Greenspace is More than an Environmental Investment

The Dundas EcoPark is an opportunity to reclaim our natural settings and redefine Hamilton in different terms.

By Steven Watts
Published February 14, 2014

Author's Note: This is the final installment in a series of articles featuring the Dundas EcoPark Campaign. My intention is to explain what the project is, who is involved, and why the project is important for the surrounding areas.

The Dundas EcoPark can have a significant impact on the identity of Hamilton as a sustainable city. Having such an impressive piece of greenspace in a densely populated area is a rare accomplishment in an era of urban development.

Paddling in Cootes Paradise (Image Credit: Kenneth Moyle/Flickr. Licenced under CC BY-NC
Paddling in Cootes Paradise (Image Credit: Kenneth Moyle/Flickr. Licenced under CC BY-NC

The EcoPark can send a message that the city of Hamilton does value natural systems. This is an opportunity to reclaim our natural settings and redefine Hamilton in different terms.

Once identified as a steel city, Hamilton can be known for its sustainability efforts and undeniable natural beauty. The EcoPark project can paint Hamilton as a progressive city, akin to New York City with Central Park.

With flourishing biodiversity, the EcoPark is a special haven that we must support.

Eco-Tourism

The EcoPark can provide a space for eco-tourism, which would generate discussion about the city and encourage visitors to explore our natural systems.

Eco-tourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.

Eco-tourism can seem counter-productive as we are trying to preserve the natural land and avoid harming the ecosystem. In order to achieve a successful eco-tourism program there are certainly some precautions and guidelines that must be considered.

Through eco-tourism, Hamilton could: build environmental and cultural awareness and respect, provide positive experiences for both guests and hosts, provide direct financial benefits for conservation, provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people, and raise awareness to the value of Hamilton.

If done right, eco-tourism can benefit the community and the environment in many ways. By prompting conversation about Hamilton and recognizing the value of nature, the EcoPark adds an element of ecological dignity to the city.

Environmental Education

Greenspaces can also offer significant opportunities for environmental education and nature comprehension.

We need to utilize greenspaces as valuable resources and important settings for learning. Students can both learn about the theoretical aspects of the environment and get a hands-on experience.

Being in nature and physically touching, feeling, smelling what you are learning can dramatically impact the learning experience.

In addition, seeing the nature you are learning about can motivate students to do more to protect the area. Understanding what the EcoPark really is and its relationship to Hamilton could prompt a greater appreciation for the environment.

Remarkable Legacy

The EcoPark can serve as a remarkable legacy for our city and is something the next generations can enjoy. This ambitious investment will contribute to a more sustainable Hamilton overall. Not only will it bring recognition for environmental respect, but it also will bring economic, social, and ecological benefits to the region.

The EcoPark is more than just trails, marshes, forests, and wildlife - it is an opportunity to bring even more pride to Hamilton. Having something so valuable and accessible in our backyard should not be taken for granted. Let's make Hamilton a city that works with nature rather than a city that exploits it.

At this point I would like to thank all of the organizations that have supported the campaign. The work being done to complete this project is incredible and should not go unnoticed. Without the ambition and commitment from everyone involved, the EcoPark would not be what it is today.

Steven Watts is a local environmentalist who is attempting to raise awareness about ecological issues in the city. His goal it to highlight environmental initiatives around the city and expose ecological concerns that deserve attention.

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted February 15, 2014 at 00:01:32

Please know I appreciate and value your efforts. It does strike me as a shame, however, that there is a need to justify and rationalize something that is inherently good in simply being.

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By ddaearegydd (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2014 at 21:19:33

Really hope the Cootes-to-Escarpment project takes off. Ontario still has huge tracts of boreal forest (not much of it is old-growth, mind) but has barely any good-sized temperate forest stands left.

Anything that helps to hem in the city and prevent sprawl is also good, to protect the farmland that lies beyond it from death by sprawl (we should be building UP, not OUT!).

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