Transformed Veldhuis tract set to become Canal Park
Favoured name one of seven submitted in public contest
The new park on the former Veldhuis Greenhouses property is set to draw its name from the waterway that makes it a popular spot for people and wildlife.
Hamilton Conservation Authority directors are being asked to approve Canal Park over six other monikers suggested by the public in a naming contest earlier this year.
They included Big Chimney Nature Park, Turtle Run Park, Turtle Crossing The Canal, Founders’ Green and Desjardins Gardens.
Grace Correia, executive director of the Hamilton Conservation Foundation, said a staff committee favoured Canal Park because of the Desjardins Canal’s historical connection to Dundas.
The park will officially open Aug. 20 during the Cactus Festival, when the contest winner and donors will be recognized.
“The individual that submitted the name talked about the significance of the canal to Dundas and certainly to what’s there now,” Correia told members of the conservation advisory board at their July 14 meeting.
While staff had hoped the board would endorse the name, it couldn’t do so because there weren’t enough members on hand to make the quorum required for a vote.
As a result, the recommendation will go to the Aug. 4 directors meeting for approval.
“It’s a nice name,” said advisory board chair Maria Topalovic, who is also a director. “It’s sad that we can’t approve your recommendation tonight.”
The authority bought the one-hectare property in 2008 and demolished its 14 greenhouses and buildings in ’11, but retained a chimney that is now its most prominent feature after discovering it was a nesting spot for endangered chimney swifts.
It then imported 20,000 cubic metres of clean fill from a McMaster University building site in 2013 for a one-metre cap to prevent people from being exposed to the site’s heavy metals and other toxins.
Dundas’s two Rotary clubs have contributed $125,000 in work and donations to a public square by the chimney, now flanked by two distinctive steel arches.
The park also includes a series of paths, a restored wetland and gravel nesting areas for turtles by the canal’s banks, a safe alternative to ones on the north side of King Street that require them to risk being killed by traffic.
Chief administrative officer Chris FirthEagland said a shaded viewing platform along the canal will be added once funding is in place, but the park is otherwise as planned.
He said it was overplanted because some plants won’t survive, but those that do will be allowed to grow naturally.
“It’s how it’s supposed to look at this stage,” Firth-Eagland said. “It’s going to take years to mature.”
The site of the former Veldhuis Greenhouses in Dundas. A section of arbour was all that remained from the original buildings in 2013.