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Project partners celebrate milestone at Courtcliffe Park in Carlisle

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On Tuesday, April 18, project partners in the restoration of Courtcliffe Park in Carlisle celebrated an important milestone in the ongoing work, the completion of Phase 2. Conservation Halton, Trout Unlimited and the City of Hamilton gathered with people and organizations who funded or supported this long-time restoration project. By the time the entire restoration project is completed, it will result in habitat improvements for the fish, birds and mammals which live in and around the waterways.

Phase 2 of the Courtcliffe Park project involved the reconstruction of the historic Mountsberg Creek watercourse using natural channel design techniques, the creation of a floodplain wetland and the installation of three new span bridges. This phase of the project had a budget of more than $300,000 and included in-kind contributions of nearly $150,000. You can learn more about the project by visiting the webpage - www.conservationhalton.ca/courtcliffe-park-restoration. Later this spring, when the ground is drier, contractors will return to the park to complete repair work on the trails.

Tuesday’s event also included some great news for Phase 3 of the project, which is scheduled to take place this summer. Union Gas announced a contribution of $25,000 towards the final phase of the project which will include Mountsberg Creek being restored to its natural and historic flows.

“The restoration work which has been done in Courtcliffe Park has been ongoing for years and is a true partnership involving Conservation Halton, Trout Unlimited Canada, the City of Hamilton, who operates the park, and countless community organizations and volunteers,” said Hassaan Basit, Chief Administrative Officer. “We would like to acknowledge the Courtcliffe Park Committee who demonstrated tremendous leadership in the early days to ensure this park became the community asset it is today.”

“We at Trout Unlimited Canada are absolutely delighted to see the amazing progress that can be made when partners come together to restore the natural infrastructure of our local watersheds,” commented Jack Imhof, Director of Conservation Ecology with Trout Unlimited Canada. “This set of projects in conjunction with our works in Lowville Park will hopefully help improve the quality and health of the Bronte Creek watershed and its coldwater fish and fisheries resources.“

“I would like to thank Conservation Halton, Trout Unlimited Canada, Courtcliffe Park Committee, corporate partners like Union Gas, and indeed everyone who has been part of this transformation,” said Judi Partridge Ward 15 Councillor for the City of Hamilton “We have so many great parks and greenspaces in our community and Courtcliffe Park is an absolute jewel in the City of Hamilton.”

“These wonderful things in our community don’t happen by accident, they are the result of committed people who provide their time, energy and passion to a worthwhile initiative like Courtcliffe Park,” said MPP Ted McMeekin, MPP Ancaster-Dundas, Flamborough-Westdale. “I was involved with this project as Mayor of Flamborough at the start and I can attest to the great work done by the members of the Courtcliffe Park Committee who represent the strength of our community, the people.”

“We believe that it is important for businesses to invest in the well-being of the communities where they operate,” said Mark Egbedeyi-Emmanuel, Union Gas district manager for Hamilton/Halton. “That’s why we are pleased to support Conservation Halton’s restoration of Courtcliffe Park so that visitors can continue to benefit from all the park has to offer. We look forward to the completion of the third phase of this important project.”

The City of Hamilton has been a major supporter of this environmental project and has provided in-kind resources and financial support. The major sponsors are the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, RBC and Union Gas. Additional funding has been provided by Conservation Halton, the Conservation Halton Foundation, the City of Hamilton and Trout Unlimited Canada. Thanks go out to local community support from the Courtcliffe Park Committee and the Ted Knott Chapter of Trout Unlimited Canada.

About Courtcliffe Park Restoration Project

The initial phase of this current environmental restoration project was completed in 2015, by Trout Unlimited Canada who led installation of a spanning bridge over Bronte Creek and removal of a straightened manmade side channel of Bronte Creek. The Phase 2 project construction included installation of a new spanning bridge over Bronte Creek. This bridge, similar to the one installed in 2015, will be a part of the park’s walking path network and replaced existing culverts that were backing up water flow and acting similar to a dam. The creek restoration work also included repair of the original channel of Mountsberg Creek in the park. Riffle and pool habitat was installed by construction machinery and an online pond was retrofitted into floodplain wetland habitat.

This locally and provincial significant project are part of Conservation Halton’s Brookies in Bronte Forever! initiative which aims to stabilize the local population of Brook Trout that is currently in decline. It is also part of Trout Unlimited Canada’s Reconnecting Canada national campaign to remove barriers to fish movement and migration.

The target fish species of this project is Brook Trout, also known as Speckled Trout. Brook Trout are an indicator species of aquatic ecosystem health. Although, they used to live in the Bronte and Mountsberg Creek in Courtcliffe Park they have not been seen in the park in approximately 30 years. Conservation Halton and Trout Unlimited Canada, who are leading this work, are hoping that Brook Trout will eventually return to the creek once it has been repaired.

There is still some trail repair work to be done this spring before Phase 2 is fully complete. The final phase of the project, Phase 3, is planned to commence in the summer of 2017 and will see the full flows of Mountsberg Creek, currently being diverted into a straightened man-made channel, returned to their original and newly restored creek channel.

For more information on this project visit: www.conservationhalton.ca/courtcliffe-park-restoration.