Westfield Heritage Village heads into great outdoors

Community May 29, 2015 by Richard Leitner Ancaster News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is hoping the acquisition of 40 hectares of neighbouring land will turn Rockton’s Westfield Heritage Village into more than a hotspot for history buffs – and lessen its reliance on city subsidies.

Authority chair Jim Howlett said he recently hiked the new property and marveled at the range of natural features, including a nine-metre-high bluff, maple forest and open areas suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

However, he said he was most excited to discover a sinking stream, a phenomenon also found at the Eramosa Karst in upper Stoney Creek.

“It is flowing right into the ground and I can hear echoes and splash and things like that as the whole creek goes into this foot-and-a-half hole in the ground and disappears,” Howlett recalled.

“I don’t know how long that lasts in the year, whether it’s only a spring-melt feature, but that is exactly the kind of things we have going on at Eramosa Karst.”

Howlett said the property also has remnants of three barns – reflecting its distant agricultural past – which can serve as guideposts for visitors to what he envisions as the Westfield Conservation Area.

Perhaps best of all, the authority is paying just $2 for the land, seized by the city for tax arrears in 2009. Council approved the sale earlier this month.

Howlett said although the existing 130-hectare Westfield village is already popular for its pioneer-era buildings, the new property will allow it to appeal year-round to outdoor enthusiasts.

“It needs some zip for another personality group,” he said. “I think it’d be a completely different experience.”

The acquisition comes as the authority has also assumed ownership of the heritage village after managing it for the city for decades.

As part of the ownership switch, the city agreed to continue to subsidize operations. It will contribute $558,000 to this year’s $909,000 operating budget.

“Our goal is to get it to be able to run on its own finances, and it’s got to have enough land mass to do that,” Howlett said, noting the authority is also studying adding a visitor centre at the village. “We’ve got to get those tour buses in there somehow.”

Westfield Heritage Village heads into great outdoors

Authority hopes expansion will broaden appeal

Community May 29, 2015 by Richard Leitner Ancaster News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is hoping the acquisition of 40 hectares of neighbouring land will turn Rockton’s Westfield Heritage Village into more than a hotspot for history buffs – and lessen its reliance on city subsidies.

Authority chair Jim Howlett said he recently hiked the new property and marveled at the range of natural features, including a nine-metre-high bluff, maple forest and open areas suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

However, he said he was most excited to discover a sinking stream, a phenomenon also found at the Eramosa Karst in upper Stoney Creek.

“It is flowing right into the ground and I can hear echoes and splash and things like that as the whole creek goes into this foot-and-a-half hole in the ground and disappears,” Howlett recalled.

“Our goal is to get it to be able to run on its own finances, and it’s got to have enough land mass to do that.”

“I don’t know how long that lasts in the year, whether it’s only a spring-melt feature, but that is exactly the kind of things we have going on at Eramosa Karst.”

Howlett said the property also has remnants of three barns – reflecting its distant agricultural past – which can serve as guideposts for visitors to what he envisions as the Westfield Conservation Area.

Perhaps best of all, the authority is paying just $2 for the land, seized by the city for tax arrears in 2009. Council approved the sale earlier this month.

Howlett said although the existing 130-hectare Westfield village is already popular for its pioneer-era buildings, the new property will allow it to appeal year-round to outdoor enthusiasts.

“It needs some zip for another personality group,” he said. “I think it’d be a completely different experience.”

The acquisition comes as the authority has also assumed ownership of the heritage village after managing it for the city for decades.

As part of the ownership switch, the city agreed to continue to subsidize operations. It will contribute $558,000 to this year’s $909,000 operating budget.

“Our goal is to get it to be able to run on its own finances, and it’s got to have enough land mass to do that,” Howlett said, noting the authority is also studying adding a visitor centre at the village. “We’ve got to get those tour buses in there somehow.”

Westfield Heritage Village heads into great outdoors

Authority hopes expansion will broaden appeal

Community May 29, 2015 by Richard Leitner Ancaster News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is hoping the acquisition of 40 hectares of neighbouring land will turn Rockton’s Westfield Heritage Village into more than a hotspot for history buffs – and lessen its reliance on city subsidies.

Authority chair Jim Howlett said he recently hiked the new property and marveled at the range of natural features, including a nine-metre-high bluff, maple forest and open areas suitable for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

However, he said he was most excited to discover a sinking stream, a phenomenon also found at the Eramosa Karst in upper Stoney Creek.

“It is flowing right into the ground and I can hear echoes and splash and things like that as the whole creek goes into this foot-and-a-half hole in the ground and disappears,” Howlett recalled.

“Our goal is to get it to be able to run on its own finances, and it’s got to have enough land mass to do that.”

“I don’t know how long that lasts in the year, whether it’s only a spring-melt feature, but that is exactly the kind of things we have going on at Eramosa Karst.”

Howlett said the property also has remnants of three barns – reflecting its distant agricultural past – which can serve as guideposts for visitors to what he envisions as the Westfield Conservation Area.

Perhaps best of all, the authority is paying just $2 for the land, seized by the city for tax arrears in 2009. Council approved the sale earlier this month.

Howlett said although the existing 130-hectare Westfield village is already popular for its pioneer-era buildings, the new property will allow it to appeal year-round to outdoor enthusiasts.

“It needs some zip for another personality group,” he said. “I think it’d be a completely different experience.”

The acquisition comes as the authority has also assumed ownership of the heritage village after managing it for the city for decades.

As part of the ownership switch, the city agreed to continue to subsidize operations. It will contribute $558,000 to this year’s $909,000 operating budget.

“Our goal is to get it to be able to run on its own finances, and it’s got to have enough land mass to do that,” Howlett said, noting the authority is also studying adding a visitor centre at the village. “We’ve got to get those tour buses in there somehow.”