Tracey Carr, Greensville
It is a place that offers a rare chance to be in close touch with the lively temperament of the water and falls, and the calm and peaceful spaces of the park and trails.
It has nourished my soul and given me perspective many times as I’ve recognized that the beauty, power and gentleness of nature so wonderfully manifested there also resides in me, in everyone.
The Hamilton Conservation Authority, the Greensville Optimists and the community have been amazing stewards of the park, living true to a desire to preserve nature’s gifts while enabling people to more directly experience oneness with nature. Walking through the park used to feel like an informal celebration of Hamilton’s diversity of culture and cuisine.
Delightful smells wafted from barbecues while people of different faiths, ethnicities and interests harmoniously shared this space. Playfulness lived in the form of picnic games, volleyball, soccer, frisbee, badminton and wading in the stream.
Sadly, there came a time that use of the park fell out of balance.
Parked cars consumed large parts of the park’s green space, and some difficult encounters in this crowded context signalled that something needed to be done.
The Hamilton Conservation Authority responded, convening community consultations and leading efforts to create a master plan for the parks in Greensville.
At the first of these consultations, I asked that we strive to find an optimal balance that prevents overcrowding of the park while preserving what is good. I was dismayed later to see signs posted that barbecues were prohibited and people were to stay out of the stream.
Then came the temporary fencing blocking off all access to the places I love to go, and now iron fence posts have been erected for a permanent fence. My heart constricts as this place of harmony and community is imprisoned and we are cut off from fully experiencing all that it offers, from learning how to be in respectful relationship to its power and fragility.
People and playfulness have gone away. Our response to the need for balance has tipped too far. We are at risk of destroying the spirit of this paradise that we seek to protect.
Please, allow the barbecues back. Post signs of caution and education rather than restriction.
Remove the fencing from all areas except those where the steepness of the embankment in proximity to the path warrants a barrier.
Please let us sit close to the falls, wade in the streams above or below and meander along trails that are continuous through the park. Please let the spirit of Webster’s Falls live freely again.
I believe that, together, we can find the balance that honours nature’s gift and enriches our relationship to it.