Healthy Neighbourhoods

Water Quality Monitoring of the Chedoke Creek Watershed 

Challenge:
How might we monitor waste water contamination in the Chedoke Creek Watershed in order to guide remediation efforts?
Students taking water samples

Students taking water samples

Students:
Nathaniel Benfey, David Betson, Jessica Bosma, Justin DeWeerd, Audrie Fosbery, Erin Katerberg, Danielle Magcalas, Christine Nah, Rachel Pigden, Marcia Poirer, Erin Steckley, Janelle Vander Hou, Alanna Van Ommen, Miriam Wielinga

Staff:
N/A

Instructor:
Darren Brouwer

Course and Department:

Analytical Chemistry, Chemistry, Redeemer University College

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Chedoke Watershed

Chedoke Watershed

The Chedoke Creek watershed flows into Cootes Paradise, an important ecological area that is in the process of rehabilitation, mainly through the efforts of the Royal Botanical Gardens. This watershed is located in an urbanized area of Hamilton and is contaminated with sewage, which leads to detrimental impacts downstream such as undesirable algae growth (eutrophication). It is believed that sewage contamination is caused by cross-connections between sanitary and storm sewers in homes on Hamilton Mountain.

Students of Darren Brouwer's Analytical Chemistry course at Redeemer University ran a data collection project to identify particular problem site and general trends in the Chedoke Watershed. Instructor Brouwer has run this project over three courses to collect enough data for analysis and form relationships with key stakeholders from the Royal Botannical Gardens, Bay Area Restoration Council, Hamilton Conservation Authority, and City of Hamilton. 

Next, the students will coordinate their monitoring work with City of Hamilton staff, learn more about remediation work done by the City of Hamilton and possibly expand monitoring efforts to the Red Hill Creek Watershed as well. 

We have been delighted in the interest, support, and encouragement that our students’ work has received from other organizations, including City of Hamilton staff.
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Wellness and Engagement in CityHousing Hamilton

Challenge:
What can we do to overcome the barriers that seniors face when engaging with wellness programs offered by CityHousing Hamilton?
CHH Sites at Jackson St. and Hess St.

CHH Sites at Jackson St. and Hess St.

Students:
Robert Etherington, Zoë Grant, Coomal Rashid, Gagandeep Saini

Staff:
Kelly Coxson (Community Development Coordinator,  CityHousing Hamilton)

Instructor:
Kate Whalen

Course and Department:
Sustainability 4S06, Academic Sustainability Program, McMaster University

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Course and Department:Construction Engineering Technician - Building Renovation – 462

Partner: City Housing Hamilton

 

 

Seniors Knitting

Seniors Knitting

Within the next decade, the number of seniors in Hamilton will double.  In order to facilitate successful aging, CityHousing Hamilton (CHH) provides senior residents with wellness programs. However, low engagement in these programs means residents are not receiving information on identifying and managing chronic illnesses, which then threatens the sustainability of our healthcare system.

Robert, Zoë, Coomal and Gagandeep created a study design and applied for Research Ethics approval. They surveyed staff on the barriers to resident engagement and compiled a summary report with information from staff, students, and program instructors on most prominent barriers to engagement, finding them to be language, mobility and eyesight. Finally they used their summary report to develop a focused survey for residents to clarify and confirm initial findings from staff surveys. 

Next, the students will implement multiple trials of their proposed solution which may include new promotional and/or engagement strategies. Once that is complete they will analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of each trial to provide information on lessons learned and recommendations for long-term use. Ultimately they will share their findings through a presentation and written report to CityHousing Hamilton. 

We were surprised by how willing the residents were to engage with us and provide their feedback!
This project has allowed us to co-create with a staff member, challenging us to be independent, flexible, and adaptable.
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Student SoBi Connection

Challenge:
How might we make active transportation more attractive for the McMaster community?

Student Names:
Mostafa Mohammed, Nicole Crimi, Brian Zheng & Daniel Park

Staff Member:
Don Curry (Health Promotion Specialist, Public Health) & Pete Topalovic (Project Manager – Transportation Demand Management, Public Works)

Instructor:
Sean Park

Course and Department:
Health Science 4ID3, McMaster Health Leadership Academy, McMaster University

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Partner: SoBi Hamilton

Sobi bikes prepared to be moved on McMaster’s central campus

Sobi bikes prepared to be moved on McMaster’s central campus

While there are numerous benefits to active transportation methods, including being physically active, increasing social interactions, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a large portion of Hamiltonians are utilizing non-active transportation methods when travelling less that 1 kilometer distances. For years now, McMaster students have been provided with an annual HSR bus pass to utilize for transportation within the city, and since SoBi Hamilton, the local bike share program, was launched two years ago, there has not been significant ridership from McMaster students. This is a problem considering SoBi is physically well-connected in the McMaster community, offers flexible membership options, and has significant benefits as an active transportation option.

Students Mostafa, Nicole, Brian and Daniel consulted community stakeholders and collaborated with other teams to conduct research on why fewer students use active transportation. They then developed areas of focus and problems to tackle, as well as potential approaches and a plan of action. Finally developed an intervention to run a student referendum in January 2018 to streamline the account creation and payment process for undergraduate students.

Next, the students will conduct primary research through surveys and prototypes to support the referendum or identify stronger proposals. They will do this by consulting students to determine the effectiveness of potential solutions and identify strengths and weaknesses in order to strengthen our project. Some of the reccomendations they had were: providing a SoBi trial for students at McMaster or trial the prototype in collaboration with another team and pass it through political referendum at McMaster University

We were surprised by the limited interventions provided by the university in order to encourage active transportation, as well as the frequency of short, inactive trips. We were impressed by the malleability and success of SoBi and the potential it holds for expansion within our community.

Growing Bridges: Improving Regional Food Security by Increasing Engagement with the McQuesten Urban Farm

Challenge:
How might we motivate and encourage residents of CityHousing to engage with the McQuesten Urban Farm?
Youth Programming

Youth Programming

Student Names:
Jethro Krause, Muhammed Aydin, Kathleen Eva & Ikra Saeed

Staff:
Jocelyn Strutt (Project Manager, Neighbourhood Action Strategy)

Instructor:
Kate Whalen

Course and Department:
Sustainability 4S06, Academic Sustainability Program, McMaster University

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Partner: McQuesten Urban Farm

Neighbourhood Programming

Neighbourhood Programming

In addition to providing educational, recreational, and employment opportunities, McQuesten Urban Farm aims to tackle the problem of food insecurity through providing fresh, local and affordable produce to residents of the McQuesten neighbourhood and the City of Hamilton. However, volunteer and consumer engagement with the farm is lacking in the community, particularly among those of lower socio-economic status. As a result, the farm’s impact is not realizing its full potential in addressing food security issues or educational opportunities.

Students Jethro, Muhammed, Kathleen, Ikra completed secondary research to gain a stronger understanding of demographics specific to CityHousing and food insecurity in Hamilton, as well as the history of McQuesten Urban Farm. They then brainstormed potential research questions for community feedback in order to identify a solution that will meet the needs of the McQuesten neighbourhood community. Finally they built relationships with residents involved in the McQuesten Urban Farm living in CityHousing, and worked with the Neighbourhood Action Strategy who connected them with community experts.

Next, the students will engage community members by developing partnerships with local community organizations' existing networks and test their hypothesis as to what the root causes are for the community disengagement with McQuesten Urban Farms. They will do this through implementing pilot programs and solutions that can work alongside existing programs in order to create more long-term sustainability. 

An urban farm  can provide not only access to healthy food, but employment for residents, educational programming, and community development opportunities.
Problems today are being tackled through implementation of technology, when sometimes there are much simpler and more effective methods through community engagement.

Rolston Transportation Audit

Challenge:
How might we conduct a traffic assessment to find any operational or safety deficiencies, as well as identify opportunities to expand active transportation infrastructure in the Rolston Neighbourhood?
Mohawk students in the Rolston neighbourhood conducting traffic assessments via: click on image for link

Mohawk students in the Rolston neighbourhood conducting traffic assessments via: click on image for link

Student Names:
Maurice Abu-Nassar, Smeeta Adiga, Christian Aguilar, Jeremy Beach, Matthew Cavasin, Shaokai Chen, Gregory De Tina, Matthew Doering, Mustafa Eyoub, Samuel Gomes, Jonathan Holmes, Md Iqbal, James (Andrew) Johnson, Auzair Khan, Hadi Khavarian, Ryan Krantz, Muyuan (Mark) Ma, Kyle Martinho, Ahamed Munshif Mohamed Muccaram, Gabriel Sanseverino, Andrew Szajkowski-Miles, Weiwa (Hildar) Zhu

Staff:
Jocelyn Strutt (Project Manager, Neighbourhood Action Strategy) & Joanne Starr (Traffic Operations and Engineering Services)

Instructor(s):
Sean Nix, Professor and Program Coordinator, Transportation Engineering Technology & Valerie Parke, Professor, Liberal Studies

 

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Course and Department:
TRAN TR592 (Transportation Project 1), Engineering Technology & COMM LL571 (Speech Presentation Skills), Liberal Studies

Representative from Complete Streets speaking to Mohawk students via: click on image for link

Representative from Complete Streets speaking to Mohawk students via: click on image for link

Local residents and the Rolston Planning Team have noticed traffic violations like cars rolling through stop signs, speeding, and dangerous situations for school children in the neighbourhood.

A group of Mohawk Engineering students collected field data at most intersections and midblock segments within the Rolston Community related to speed, turning movements and infrastructure inventory. They then assessed the field data alongside other supplied data from the City of Hamilton Traffic Operations & Engineering Services group to generate recommendations that would improve traffic safety and increase active transportation infrastructure within Rolston Community.  This included a public information centre open to the public on the students’ findings.

Next the students will submit the recommendations to City of Hamilton staff for review as well as the Rolston Planning Team (local residents group) for informational purposes. 

Ultimately, this was a rewarding experience for the students – particularly the ability to present their findings to a direct client as part of their capstone presentation.
This course is run differently from other courses within the program in that little instruction is provided to the students, and yet they must carry out a substantial project from start to finish.
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Mohawk College Community Project in Partnership with City Housing Hamilton

Challenge:
How might we provide excellent student learning opportunities while providing cost-effective renovations to City Housing units to meet the community need?
Mohawk student laying tiles

Mohawk student laying tiles

Student Names:

All second year students in the Building Renovation Technician Program


Staff Member:

Matt Bowen (Manager, Tenant Engagement & Support Services) & Brian Kinaschuk (Manager of Operations, CityHousing)

Instructor:

Mark Lucking, John Deelstra, Brad MacDonald

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Course and Department:Construction Engineering Technician - Building Renovation – 462

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Partner: City Housing Hamilton

 

 

Mohawk student sawing wood for the site

Mohawk student sawing wood for the site

While there is high demand for subsidized housing in Hamilton, CityHousing Hamilton has units that are not lived in because they need costly renovations and updates.

Second year students of the Building Renovation Technician Program at Mohawk College prepared estimates, gathered materials, coordinated schedules and inspected properties of CityHousing Hamilton. The teaching materials that are functional in the type of environment provided by a renovation site were prepared by staff. 

Next, the students will utilize a student-led project management system and start working on the sites November 29th 2017 with an initial orientation in order to begin the renovation process. 

Mohawk instructor teaching a student on site

Mohawk instructor teaching a student on site

Brownfield Sampling and Remediation

Challenge:
How can we extract, analyze, and remediate organic, chemical, and metal pollutants in Hamilton brownfields?
Students collecting samples from Pier 24

Students collecting samples from Pier 24

Student Names:

Vinay Joshy, Priyanka Rathor, Kevin Gilchrist, Sara Ghazal, Braydon Macllister


Staff Member:

Carolynn Reid (Business Development Consultant, Planning and Economic Development)

Instructor:
Ethan Paschos, Chris McRorry, Greg Matzke

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Course and Department:
Chemical Engineering Technology; Biotechnology, Mohawk College

Partner: Hamilton Harbour Commission

Sampling water from the harbour

Sampling water from the harbour

As one of Canada’s most industrialized cities, Hamilton has a large number of brownfield sites that need remediation before they can be redeveloped.

Students Vinay, Priyanka, Kevin, Sara and Braydon located a test site at Pier 24 with access provided by the Hamilton Harbour Commission where they geo-located and sampled extensively and then ran analysis of the collected water for contaminant levels. 

Next, the students will create a 3D map of the site to show toxic plumage and attempt a small scale phyto-remediation trial while also finding new brownfield sites to expand their project further. 

The multidisciplinary nature of the project surprised us as it involved chemical analysis, GIS, soil sampling, microbiology, working with specific authorities to facilitate paperwork, obtaining quotes from vendors, training new volunteers, health and safety training, etc.
Students studying results from water analysis

Students studying results from water analysis