Main Trail Head 3
Viaduct/Mt. Albion Road – Bridging the Valley
Albion Road was once a trail that connected a watermill operated by William Davis and the lake front. In closing this section of the Albion Road, we open a “new” trail that leads to the Great Bridge that carries the new highway. These parallel “paths” symbolize the reordering of the environment, nearly two hundred years apart.
The Expressway created a cut in the Escarpment, 13 metres deep by 80 metres wide, affecting human movement along trails, and wildlife movements. To soften the impacts, a viaduct or bridge 220 metres in length was constructed. Groundwater seepage under the viaduct will help to promote greening of the area. The closure of Mount Albion Road to traffic at the Escarpment will also improve conditions for wildlife movements through the area.
Defending the Valley
Demonstrations of public concern and opposition to the use of Red Hill Valley for an expressway are well documented as far back as the early 1970s. In 1974 they convinced the City and Regional Councils to unanimously adopt a resolution “to retain the natural character of the Red Hill Creek Valley and to maintain permanently its present natural state.” But plans changed. An expressway was then planned.
In 2003, there were many protests against the expressway project, including a huge camp-in near Greenhill Avenue. Picketers turned back construction vehicles. The city sought an injunction and lawsuits followed. A group of Haudenosaunee joined the protesters. However, all attempts to stop the project failed. As a result of the protests, the City of Hamilton negotiated a series of agreements with the Six Nations Confederacy to provide for long-term protection of the valley.
On May 31, 2004, two people climbed up a tree in this area, protesting the destruction of the forest and the proposed blasting of the face of the escarpment to make way for the expressway. The following month about 75 people joined them and brought food and water to the tree sitters. The tree sitters finally came down and the trees they occupied are still standing at this location. The protest did cause the Red Hill Valley project to seek ways to mitigate the environmental impact of the expressway.
Natural Corridors Keep the Valley Healthy
The Red Hill Valley is a network of corridors. There are forested corridors, by which stands of a variety of trees provide natural cover for plants, birds and animals. There are animal corridors by which the deer, squirrels, chipmunks, and other pass through the valley safely. There are stream corridors that connect the escarpment to the lake. The integrity of these corridors determines the overall healthiness of the Valley. We have attempted to minimize the impact of the transportation corridor by protecting, enhancing or restoring the forested, animal and stream corridors. It is our hope that the spirit of the earth will regenerate itself and these natural corridors will the essential veins of life in the valley ecosystem.