Revitalization

Innovative Thinking for Innovation Park

By Jason Leach
Published January 13, 2006

I went to the public meeting showing the plans for McMaster's Innovation Park on the former Camco site at Aberdeen and Longwood, and the plans look amazing.

Building heights are in the four to ten storey range and include green roofs, a linear pond with water features, parks and café patios crossing the entire site. The design also allows for rainwater runoff to chedoke creek.

The plan features bike lanes, street parking on Longwood, and wide sidewalks, with mixed use along Longwood too - restaurants, cafes, athletic clubs, and so on. There's a possible hotel and conference centre on the 403 side of the site.

An interior view shows funky architecture, a three or four story staircase twisting and suspending high over the lobby, and lots of cool glas, steel, curves, and angles.

Very cool designs, very sustainable and green. The guide told me, "If you like bike lanes, you'll like this project. We'll put them in and through our site and then try to get the city to connect the dots, i.e. to westdale and Mac, Cootes Paradise, Aberdeen Neighbourhood and downtown."

There are bike locks, lockers and showers in every building, and a new east/west street that will line up exactly with the old plant that was preserved. The planners are thinking it could become a possible café/restaurant or museum. The huge old pumps and things inside are apparently pretty neat.

They said they want this to be like a real neighbourhood. Someone could ride their bike there, grab lunch on a patio and read a book in one of the parks along the waterfall features. It should be great.

This entire project has the potential to turn Hamilton on its head.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted January 13, 2006 at 08:28:17

One unfortunate feature is the scrap metal business in the valley just west of TH&B bridge, unchanged, in all scenarios. Hopefully with the clout of the City / Mac this property could eventually be purchased. Without this it would be harder to alter Aberdeen for easier bike / pedestrian concerns.

What was NOT addressed are bike lanes and pedestrian access linking MIP to the rest of the city, even McMaster main campus (apparently this is left up to the City - Good Lord!). i.e. nothing said about: Longwood 403 bridge, connection over railroad to Charlton or Stanley, bike lanes at Aberdeen, path through CP bridge to Emerson, other path possibilities (Aberdeen access ramp etc) These are all "out of their scope", although the Mac people are aware of these problems and some live in the neighbourhood.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 13, 2006 at 11:52:23

Councillor McHattie reports they're well on their way to establishing an official trail connecting the golf course with the Radial Trail in Westdale (it's an unofficial trail today - you have to tresspass on privately owned railyard land to get to the bridge).

By bicycle, it's a much nicer and faster way to get into Westdale than Main or King. I look forward to its completion.

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By Locke (registered) | Posted January 18, 2006 at 11:03:33

Thankfully, the city is conducting a traffic study in Kirkendall AND coordinating this effort with those of the MIP.

The TH&B bridge, east-west pedestrian/bike links, traffic flow, traffic calming and more are all part of this traffic study. Ted's right about some of those properties between Kirkendall and MIP presenting obsticals, but I'm optimistic that in the end Kirkendall will be well connected with MIP.

Hopefully, as Ryan says, a trail can be established over the 403 to improve connections with Westdale. This is likely in CPs best interest since the trail is already used many a trespasser.

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