Why should we care about Free Access to the Ancaster Well?
Water is our History
Located beside the natural break in the Niagara Escarpment, and beside a significant creek flowing over it, the police village of Ancaster became the location of a large number of mills that took advantage of the available waterpower. When the government of Upper Canada decided that its capital, Newark (now known as Niagara-on-the-Lake) was located too close to the American border, the choice for the new capital was between Ancaster and York (now Toronto). Ancaster’s pre-eminence at the Head of Lake Ontario region began to decline with the opening of the Burlington Canal, connecting Hamilton Harbour with Lake Ontario, in the 1820’s. Among other factors, competition with the Town of Dundas whose location was on more favourable transportation routes (York Road, Governor’s Road, etc.) led to Ancaster’s dominant commercial position in the area.
But even before that in 1882 – that Natural Break in the Niagara Escarpment – was noted in a paper penned by William Kennedy – on the Superficial Geology of Dundas Valley and Western Ancaster.
William Kennedy describes the Ancaster Well or “Saline Spring” as such
“One peculiarity of the springs is that they are only found in certain band like traets, and are always more or less deeply seated Springs.
The superficial waters on the margin of this band are perfectly fresh and apparently bear no relation to whatever to the water’s underneath.
In addition to the Sulfur Springs there are also Saline Springs running in a direction nearly parallel to the sulfur.
On Lot 34 of the third concession of Ancaster a well gives brackish or salt water and on lot 39 of the concession of the same township a salt well is found. This well what’s considered of sufficient strength to warrant an attempt to make salt being made again in the valley. A well charged with salt is reported, there is also a saline well in a brook near Dundas.
Sulphur Springs are by no means rare in districts overlaid by the Niagara group but the peculiar positions of the springs both in this district seems worthy of remark.
No springs would rise from the rock unless there were fractures or fissures in the rock enabling them to reach the surface. May not these fractures be the side of the Canyon though which an ancient stream past on its way from the present course of the grand River to the outlet through the valley.
The evidence of the saline Springs appears to me to show that there is a gradual underground drainage from the higher bags of the Salina or Onondaga Group towards Lake Ontario or in the direction of the lowest level.”
SOS sent a series of emails to the Hamilton Conservation Authority starting Feb 3rd,asking the HCA to reconsidertheir Board Decision of Oct 5thwhich states that the Ancaster Well is a small drinking water system– it is not – it is a naturally occurring Saline spring that does not fall under the jurisdiction of the City of Hamilton Public Health Dept.
There is also a legal binding restrictive covenanton title that must be honored.
The response from the HCA to my letter was to inform me that I am to no longer make contact directly with the HCA,I am to only speak to their lawyer.
I ask all of you who continue to follow this story to consider attending the Board Meeting this evening at the HCA headquarters on Mineral Springs Road. Or consider contacting them by phone or email and show your support for returned public access to the Ancaster Well, and return our Communities Heritage.
SOS – Save Our Spring
Contact Information for HCA
Hamilton Conservation Authority
Address: 838 Mineral Springs Rd, Ancaster, ON L9G 4X1