Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pipeline Trail Bus Tour

“We should all be allowed to have exposure to nature and nice things--not only those who can afford it.” Elizabeth Seidl, Coordinator of Pipeline Trail Crown Point Action Planning Team.

Elizabeth Seidl describes herself as a “listener.”
“I’ll hear something, other people’s suggestions; if there is a problem.” That’s how this interior designer and resident of Crown Point neighborhood got the idea of reinvigorating the Pipeline Trail last summer to a place of beauty and recreation for everyone.

After organizing a “Jane’s Walk” along the trail last spring (Jane Jacob was a sustainable urban planner) Seidl was introduced to the idea of planting milkweed. “I went home and learned about the problem with declining pollinator populations.”
The vision fell into place at this point.

The 5km-long pipeline trail running from Main at Ottawa, all the way to Woodward Museum of Steam and Technology is important: Not only is there a history of water, but there is also a story to be told about what was here even before that, “And we are bringing some of that back,” Seidl enthuses.

A few other people shared the vision and together, in less than a year’s time, got things rolling in and key stakeholders conversing with one another.
Photo credit-seam Hurley.

Some of these players include the Pollinator Paradise Project (PPP), who are now in the midst of working with the newly formed Pipeline Trail Crown Point Action Planning Team—the group that emerged in order to naturalize the trail and make it “a beautiful place in which to linger,” as Seidl puts it.
“I randomly discovered the PPP and connected with Jen Baker (HNC). We submitted a proposal together for a neighbourhood action grant and got it.”

Over the weekend, in order to move forward on the revitalizing trail project, many of the players, including City of Hamilton landscape and traffic staff, rode an HSR chartered bus to examine critical areas of the trail: What are some of the obstacles to pedestrian traffic (for example, there is an industrial area that is impossible for pedestrians to go through)? What are the challenges?

Over the two hour-long trip, the group stopped at six main spots. “They needed to have an understanding of what the issues are,” Siedl explains.

When the group reached the Steam Museum, they received a lesson on the historical waterworks. “It was fantastic—we can see how important it is to underscore the connection to other water trails—such as the Red Hill Valley trail and the Waterfront Trail, all the connections with each other.”

Photo credit-Sean Hurley.
Seidl has “wild ideas” about making the museum “a destination spot,” perhaps even a restaurant or cafe could be added: “The potentials are endless.”

Over the next few months, while waiting for the snow to melt, the gardeners will be planning the gardens patches, connecting with the other neighbourhood groups through which the trail passes through and public art.

Seidl says she is a worrier: she questions our way of life. A Mother of a three year old, she says this project was something she felt she had to do: “Here’s this space, this opportunity. We can all create habitat and bring back the birds and the bees.  But we need the stewardship in place so that is about connecting with neighbours, and taking ownership over their section.”