by Mac Christie Flamborough Review
Conservation Halton is proposing to restore the natural wetland on a one-hectare portion, marked in red on the map, of Flamborough Centre Park. – Conservation Halton photo
Conservation Halton is looking for feedback from the public on a plan to naturalize a portion of Flamborough Centre Park.
Conservation Halton has been discussing options with the City of Hamilton to restore the natural environment on a small portion — one hectare — of the 4.8-hectare property, which was a treed deciduous swamp before the land was cleared.
In a project document, Conservation Halton said the 969 Centre Rd. park has “a seasonably high water table, limited recreational opportunities and challenging maintenance requirements.”
The proposal would see the rear baseball diamond at the west side of the property be naturalized into a wetland that would dry out in the summer. Conservation Halton project manager Nigel Finney said the east baseball diamond, located next to Centre Road, will not be impacted by the project. “The feedback we collect through the public consultations will be used to inform preliminary design, which serves as the basis for final design plans and construction.” — Conservation Halton
The work would involve removing topsoil to create the wetland, as well as creating small pitted topography to mimic ground conditions in a native swamp, capturing rainwater and providing habitat for plant and wildlife species.
The area would also be planted with wetland trees, shrubs and seeds — such as bur oak acorns — that are tolerant of wet ground conditions.
Ward 15 Coun. Judi Partridge said naturalizing the park makes sense because, for the majority of the year, much of the park is under water.
“Increasingly over the years, it is becoming more and more saturated,” she said. “There haven’t been any bookings allowed there for, I believe, the last eight or nine years.”
Partridge noted the city had looked at the Flamborough Centre location as a possible dog park, but it was deemed not to be a good location.
“Certainly there has been a need — there have been lots of requests for a dog park in Flamborough,” she said. “We did assess that one … but increasingly the wetlands have taken over.”
Partridge said COVID-19 has impacted the timelines for the project, but said she wanted the community outreach to take place as quickly as possible.
“I do want to make sure that the public has a say in whatever happens in their area.”
Conservation Halton is asking the public to share their current use of the area, perspective of the surrounding ecosystem and to learn more about potential changes.
“By consulting with surrounding residents and those who access the park, we can gather important information about how the community currently uses the park as well as priorities and aspirations for the future state of the park in relation to ecological restoration,” Finney said in an email. “The feedback we collect through the public consultations will be used to inform preliminary design, which serves as the basis for final design plans and construction.
“Future opportunities for community engagement in this restoration project will include volunteer opportunities such as tree planting.”
In terms of a timeline, Conservation Halton is planning to complete preliminary designs on the project this summer and get feedback on the design in August 2020. Tree planting would take place in September and October, with the final design completed in the fall.
The seasonal wetland is slated to be constructed in August 2021, including planting the area with native trees, shrubs, native grasses and wildflowers.
Design for the project is being funded by the Greenbelt Foundation and the City of Hamilton is providing in-kind support for the project. No municipal tax revenues are proposed to be used for the initiative.
However, Finney said they are currently investigating funding options to cover the project costs of the wetland restoration slated for 2021.