Eramosa Karst feeder lands officially leased to HCA

The lands adjacent to the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area are now under the protection of Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) by way of a lease agreement with the Province. In a letter received this week, Infrastructure Ontario notified HCA that the land lease had been approved, and “as a result the commencement date of the lease shall be February 7, 2013”.
Through this agreement the Province “wishes to conserve, protect and preserve the Leased lands as a conservation area and as part of a natural heritage system in Ontario…” The lease applies to 37.5 hectares (92.67 acres) of “feeder lands” adjacent to the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area at a cost of one dollar per year for a period of twenty years.

The feeder lands contain natural water systems which feed into the existing conservation area, a vital component in the formation of the Eramosa Karst’s unique natural features including sinkholes, springs and underground caves and streams. The lands are also home to a number of species of wildlife including the threatened Bobolink.

HCA Chair Brian McHattie sees this as a significant milestone for the Authority. “The opening of the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area in 2008 was a good news story for the community and natural area preservation in Hamilton. Securing the protection of the remaining feeder lands is the happy ending to that story.”

Community support played an important role in achieving this agreement. Friends of the Eramosa Karst (FOTEK), a community based volunteer organization formed to ensure the feeder lands were protected, became an important voice in the community, gaining the support of residents, environmentalists and environmental groups. FOTEK Chair Brad Gautreau says, “We are very pleased with this outcome. This is a wonderful example of how citizens and community partners can work together with one voice to make sure natural gems like the Eramosa Karst are preserved forever. We are grateful to all our partners in this effort.”

Gautreau invites partners and members of the public to celebrate this milestone at their final dinner and dance on Saturday March 9 at Michelangelo’s Conference Centre, 1555 Upper Ottawa Street. Tickets are $30 and are available at the HCA main office and through their website, www.friendsoferamosakarst.org.