2023 Annual Report Released

We are pleased to present our annual report for 2023. As we reflect on the past year, we share with great pride and enthusiasm the remarkable achievements and progress we have made in our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and community well-being.


A key focal point of our watershed management and natural heritage goals is the Saltfleet Conservation Area Wetland Restoration Program, and we were thrilled to acquire the last parcel of land required to finalize the project, which will ultimately see four wetlands built. These wetlands will reduce the impacts of flooding in lower urban Stoney Creek, provide larger natural areas for future generations and add trails for the public while protecting properties and residents downstream. The project received significant funding of $1.25 million in 2023 from Environment and Climate Change Canada through the Canada Nature Fund and has also been supported by key donors, including the Heritage Green Community Trust. This project is a testament to our dedication to preserving and rehabilitating vital ecosystems and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

Another standout accomplishment of the year has been the substantial expansion of our trail system at Westfield Heritage Village Conservation Area, adding a further 2.4 km of trail. The expanded trails provide a unique opportunity for the community to connect with nature, fostering a sense of appreciation for our cultural heritage and the natural environment.

The last year also saw all Conservation Authorities navigating the complexities of changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and Bill 23. The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) adapted to Provincial direction restricting Conservation Authorities’ role in providing technical advice on natural heritage matters for development proposals. HCA diligently focused on developing and executing Agreements with our two-member municipalities, the City of Hamilton and Township of Puslinch. This allows programs and services to continue that are now categorized as non-mandatory and demonstrates our commitment to work collaboratively with local government for the betterment of our watershed.

As we celebrate these accomplishments, we also bid farewell to citizen board members, Santina Moccio, Dan Bowman, Maria Topalovic, Jim Cimba and Cynthia Janzen. We thank those citizens for their dedication and contributions. We also welcomed new City of Hamilton councillors to our board; Mike Spadafora and Jeff Beattie, and citizens Lisa DiCesare, Brian McHattie and Wayne Terryberry.

HCA also tragically lost long-time staff member Bruce Harschnitz. Bruce’s career spanned over 40 years starting as a summer student and culminating as Manager, Conservation Area Services. He worked at most of our conservation areas during his tenure and left an indelible mark on the organization.

We extend our sincere gratitude to our dedicated staff, board, volunteers, and partners who have played a pivotal role in making the achievements of 2023 possible. Together, we are shaping a future where the natural areas of our watershed are cherished, protected, and enjoyed by all. We will continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come our way, with a focus on our vision; a healthy watershed for everyone.

Lisa Burnside, CAO
Brad Clark, Board Chair