Tony Valeri, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs, ArcelorMittal Dofasco, announced the funding at A Day On The Bridge, Sunday, June 11. The event aimed to raise funds to purchase and protect land that will become part of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System, one of the most biologically-rich areas of Canada.
At the announcement, Tony highlighted the vast expanse of natural land in all directions, as well as the bustling and productive working waterfront to the east. “The harbour is our home and we are committed to continuing to improve and protect the environment in this region,” he said. “This is a microcosm of the beauty of the Canadian landscape and we believe with the addition of lands, it has great potential to one day even become a designated park – protected and preserved for public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment.”
Hamilton Conservation Authority CAO Lisa Burnside thanked ArcelorMittal Dofasco for the support. “This property is the final property within the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark that is located within the Hamilton watershed,” she said. “We are grateful to ArcelorMittal Dofasco for providing funding to make this purchase possible.”
The McQuesten High Level Bridge was closed to traffic June 11 for the fundraising event. About 3,000 people biked and walked the bridge and enjoyed music, art, food and activities, all in the name of supporting and promoting the EcoPark. The bridge offers a special vantage point from which to view Cootes Paradise, Hamilton Harbour and the Niagara Escarpment.
The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is a collaborative initiative to protect, restore and connect more than 3,900 hectares of natural lands at the western end of Lake Ontario. This is one of the most biologically rich areas of Canada, home to nearly a quarter of the country’s wild plants and more than 50 species at risk. It is also the last intact ecological connection between Lake Ontario wetlands and the Niagara Escarpment.