Why support the Dundas EcoPark?

Albion FallsMy favourite parts of Hamilton have always included nature. Having grown up on the countryside, I’ve developed a massive appreciation for everything wild and outside. The option of breathing fresh air is essential to my well-being, and there’s something about greenery that generates happiness and peace.

There’s no question as to why I am interested in the Dundas EcoPark Campaign. It’s exciting to me that Hamilton can be home to such a vast expanse of natural land. But what is it to you?

First of all, you might be wondering what is the Dundas EcoPark? The EcoPark itself is an expanse of land that stretches from Cootes Paradise and Hamilton Harbour up to the Niagara Escarpment and east towards Highway 6. It covers 3325 acres in total, and is home to an incredible amount of biodiversity.

This is the map for the proposed Dundas EcoPark. The purple shaded area with the red star represents the acreage that needs to be acquired to complete the system of natural lands from Cootes Paradise to the Niagara Escarpment.

This is the map for the proposed Dundas EcoPark. The purple shaded area with the red star represents the acreage that needs to be acquired to complete the “eco-corridor” from Cootes Paradise to the Niagara Escarpment.

The Dundas EcoPark Campaign is the Hamilton component of the larger Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark campaign, which involves a broad range of groups, including the City of Burlington and Halton region. The Hamilton component has two main objectives: the restoration of the former Ben Veldhuis Greenhouse complex in Dundas, and the acquisition of key pieces of privately owned natural land. The shaded map on the right shows the boundaries of the EcoPark, and highlights the acreage around York Road that will be need to be acquired (shaded purple with a red star). 75% of the land (shaded in green) is already owned by public groups, including McMaster University, the Hamilton Conservation Authority and the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG).

This film digs into the details of the EcoPark. It’s 42 minutes long, but well worth the watch. Here, you’ll find various perspectives as to why the Dundas EcoPark and open space in general is beneficial to a community.

Aside from its sheer beauty (which can be observed from many points throughout the Dundas Valley, the Niagara escarpment, and Cootes Paradise), the EcoPark is full of plant and animal diversity. As you’d learn in this film, the 10 square kilometres owned by RBG is the richest place in all of Canada for plant species diversity.

Another huge reason to support the inclusion of nature within cities is the concept of preventative health care. Dr. Jim Quinn, a biology professor at Mac, explains in the film how trees are incredible natural filters that work on reducing particulate air pollution. We are constantly being exposed to chemicals in the air that can cause gene mutations and harm us in other ways. Who wouldn’t want trees around to reduce that exposure?

And of course there are major health benefits to spending time in nature. Whether its to walk, run, or ride through the trails, the fresh air is great for our lungs and our spirits. In addition to the endorphins that are released during exercise, there is something about fresh air and open space that makes people feel happy. The mental health impact is fantastic.

These are the few reasons that stood out to me, but the film also highlights reasons such as economic and historical significance. See for yourself, and discover why you might support the Dundas EcoPark.