In 1929, the City of Hamilton purchased the Red Hill Valley, declaring the valley would be, "parkland that would be outstanding on this continent."
Three quarters of a century later, the Red Hill Valley is Hamilton's largest park. It is the only natural area in the city's east end, and the creek running through it is the last of fourteen streams that once flowed through the city into Lake Ontario.
In the last year, construction began on the Red Hill Creek Expressway - a 7.5 kilometre link that will join Highway 403 with the Queen Elizabeth Way. 40,000 trees must be cut down to make way for the expressway. According to Friends of the Red Hill Valley, the roads and associated interchanges will carve the Red Hill Valley into at least 30 separate pieces.
One year ago, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper launched a process under the environmental assessment act that would allow the Ministry of Environment to review the project, reassess its impacts on the community, and undertake whatever actions are required to ensure the health and viability of the valley and its community.
As of this week, the Ministry is still "reviewing" our request. As circumstances change and construction plows ahead, Waterkeeper continues to forward evidence to the Ministry. The Ministry continues to "review" it.
Dozens of community members have also written to the province asking for a review. Brave individuals set up camp in the canopy of the valley to demonstrate their opposition to the blasting of the Niagara Escarpment. They have been living on elevated platforms for more than sixty days.
This Thursday, we will do what most people do when they're waiting: we will read. We are honoured to have the support of some of Canada's most celebrated CanLit authors - Dave Bidini (Rheostatics, Tropic of Hockey), Paul Quarrington (Whale Music), Gary Barwin (Granpa's Snowman), and John Terpstra (Forty Days and Forty Nights). Excerpts from a tree-sitter's journal will also be read, and Sarah Harmer will join us for special interludes.
The Literary Festival is a celebration of the Red Hill Valley: its natural setting and the diverse, talented community that it continues to inspire. The Festival is free and family-friendly. Please join us.
Meet at 6:00 pm at the Rosedale Arena or Mud Street parking lot. We will walk to a location across the valley from the sitters. Reading will start at 7 pm.
For map & directions, see Red Hill Valley Trail Map. Parking is at the #2 and #5 trail entrances, marked on the map. Click on the trail entrance locations for more info.