Hamilton Conservation Authority revives trail pass

Community Dec 08, 2016 by Richard Leitner Dundas Star News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is reintroducing an annual trail pass for 2017 in a bid to entice visitors to walk, cycle or take the bus to its parks and attractions, including Webster’s Falls.

Chief administrative officer Chris Firth-Eagland said the $35 pass will allow unlimited entry to conservation areas and responds to concerns access is becoming unaffordable for some people.

He said user fees are a necessity because conservation areas aren’t taxpayer-supported, relying on revenues to cover maintenance and staff costs.

“We did hear from the community that access to nature can be too expensive, so that’s our response,” Firth-Eagland said, acknowledging people will still find their way into conservation areas without paying.

“It’s voluntary. There’s no intention of strict enforcement. It’s just a nice gesture on the part of both parties — the conservation authority making it 10 cents a day, basically, and the community of users to provide a little bit of support back to us.”

Firth-Eagland said the authority discontinued a previous trail pass in 2012 after its $45.25 price fell out of favour with many users and he’s hopeful the new version will be well-received.

People will still be able to buy a regular annual pass for $110 — up $5 from 2016 — but it won’t include parking at Webster’s Falls on weekends during the peak season, a change started in May to curb the popular Greensville park’s traffic congestion.

The regular pass will allow free walk-ins for two people — normally $4 each — but parking for 2017 remains at $10 per vehicle and $5 for every occupant six years or older.

Buses will pay $250, up from the present $132.74

“We weren’t having problems with the number of people in the park; rather we were having problems with the number of cars coming (there),” Firth-Eagland.

“Now people who can get there on foot, by bicycle, public transit, (and) neighbours to any of our conservation areas, have a very affordable way to help support our lands and their management.”

A new fee schedule for 2017 approved by authority directors freezes other park admission prices except for Wild Waterworks, where they’ll rise by 1.5 per cent.

But there will be new parking fee stations by the access point to Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins and at the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Stoney Creek. They will charge $2 per an hour to a maximum of $10 for the day.

Firth-Eagland said the authority also hopes to have the first four of eight planned cabins at Valens available for rental by mid-summer — two years behind the original schedule — for $125 to $150 per night, depending on their size.

He said he’s confident the project will proceed now that the city is in the final stages of reviewing the proposed location for a tile bed to service the cabins’ washrooms, the key holdup in their approval.


Hamilton Conservation Authority revives trail pass

Goal to give people affordable option, cut traffic, CAO says

Community Dec 08, 2016 by Richard Leitner Dundas Star News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is reintroducing an annual trail pass for 2017 in a bid to entice visitors to walk, cycle or take the bus to its parks and attractions, including Webster’s Falls.

Chief administrative officer Chris Firth-Eagland said the $35 pass will allow unlimited entry to conservation areas and responds to concerns access is becoming unaffordable for some people.

He said user fees are a necessity because conservation areas aren’t taxpayer-supported, relying on revenues to cover maintenance and staff costs.

“We did hear from the community that access to nature can be too expensive, so that’s our response,” Firth-Eagland said, acknowledging people will still find their way into conservation areas without paying.

“It’s voluntary. There’s no intention of strict enforcement."

“It’s voluntary. There’s no intention of strict enforcement. It’s just a nice gesture on the part of both parties — the conservation authority making it 10 cents a day, basically, and the community of users to provide a little bit of support back to us.”

Firth-Eagland said the authority discontinued a previous trail pass in 2012 after its $45.25 price fell out of favour with many users and he’s hopeful the new version will be well-received.

People will still be able to buy a regular annual pass for $110 — up $5 from 2016 — but it won’t include parking at Webster’s Falls on weekends during the peak season, a change started in May to curb the popular Greensville park’s traffic congestion.

The regular pass will allow free walk-ins for two people — normally $4 each — but parking for 2017 remains at $10 per vehicle and $5 for every occupant six years or older.

Buses will pay $250, up from the present $132.74

“We weren’t having problems with the number of people in the park; rather we were having problems with the number of cars coming (there),” Firth-Eagland.

“Now people who can get there on foot, by bicycle, public transit, (and) neighbours to any of our conservation areas, have a very affordable way to help support our lands and their management.”

A new fee schedule for 2017 approved by authority directors freezes other park admission prices except for Wild Waterworks, where they’ll rise by 1.5 per cent.

But there will be new parking fee stations by the access point to Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins and at the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Stoney Creek. They will charge $2 per an hour to a maximum of $10 for the day.

Firth-Eagland said the authority also hopes to have the first four of eight planned cabins at Valens available for rental by mid-summer — two years behind the original schedule — for $125 to $150 per night, depending on their size.

He said he’s confident the project will proceed now that the city is in the final stages of reviewing the proposed location for a tile bed to service the cabins’ washrooms, the key holdup in their approval.


Hamilton Conservation Authority revives trail pass

Goal to give people affordable option, cut traffic, CAO says

Community Dec 08, 2016 by Richard Leitner Dundas Star News

The Hamilton Conservation Authority is reintroducing an annual trail pass for 2017 in a bid to entice visitors to walk, cycle or take the bus to its parks and attractions, including Webster’s Falls.

Chief administrative officer Chris Firth-Eagland said the $35 pass will allow unlimited entry to conservation areas and responds to concerns access is becoming unaffordable for some people.

He said user fees are a necessity because conservation areas aren’t taxpayer-supported, relying on revenues to cover maintenance and staff costs.

“We did hear from the community that access to nature can be too expensive, so that’s our response,” Firth-Eagland said, acknowledging people will still find their way into conservation areas without paying.

“It’s voluntary. There’s no intention of strict enforcement."

“It’s voluntary. There’s no intention of strict enforcement. It’s just a nice gesture on the part of both parties — the conservation authority making it 10 cents a day, basically, and the community of users to provide a little bit of support back to us.”

Firth-Eagland said the authority discontinued a previous trail pass in 2012 after its $45.25 price fell out of favour with many users and he’s hopeful the new version will be well-received.

People will still be able to buy a regular annual pass for $110 — up $5 from 2016 — but it won’t include parking at Webster’s Falls on weekends during the peak season, a change started in May to curb the popular Greensville park’s traffic congestion.

The regular pass will allow free walk-ins for two people — normally $4 each — but parking for 2017 remains at $10 per vehicle and $5 for every occupant six years or older.

Buses will pay $250, up from the present $132.74

“We weren’t having problems with the number of people in the park; rather we were having problems with the number of cars coming (there),” Firth-Eagland.

“Now people who can get there on foot, by bicycle, public transit, (and) neighbours to any of our conservation areas, have a very affordable way to help support our lands and their management.”

A new fee schedule for 2017 approved by authority directors freezes other park admission prices except for Wild Waterworks, where they’ll rise by 1.5 per cent.

But there will be new parking fee stations by the access point to Ancaster’s Hermitage ruins and at the Devil’s Punch Bowl in Stoney Creek. They will charge $2 per an hour to a maximum of $10 for the day.

Firth-Eagland said the authority also hopes to have the first four of eight planned cabins at Valens available for rental by mid-summer — two years behind the original schedule — for $125 to $150 per night, depending on their size.

He said he’s confident the project will proceed now that the city is in the final stages of reviewing the proposed location for a tile bed to service the cabins’ washrooms, the key holdup in their approval.