How much is Hamilton’s green space really worth?

In our fall appeal letter to donors, Foundation Chair Richard MacDonald touts Hamilton’s green space as the cornerstone of high quality of life. We wanted to look at just what exactly that means in dollars and cents. It took a few leaps that wouldn’t stand up to academic review, but what we found should make you smile!

$1.2 billion – Home Equity. We picked the three communities with the highest concentration of conservation lands (Ancaster, Dundas and Flamborough) and looked at the difference in average prices. These three communities outpaced the rest of the Hamilton real estate market by an average of $72,732 per sale in August, 2013. If half of that amount ($36,366) is owing to green space, then the 33,215 homes in the communities hold a total of $1.2 billion in equity thanks to green space.

$23.9 million per year – Health Care Savings. A 2009 article called Nature, Childhood, Health and Life Pathways estimates that regular time spent in nature reduces annual care costs for person by £2,243. In Canadian dollars, that comes out to $3,983. If we multiply that by the 6,000 people that hold passes to HCA conservation areas, we come out to $23.9 million per year in reduced health care costs.

$11.9 million per year – Agriculture. The city’s agricultural industry generates $1.26 billion each year. Of that amount, an estimated 9.5% of production is dependent on pollinator species. This means that $11.9 million in annual economic production would likely be lost if the pollinator habitat that exists in local green spaces were decimated.

This exercise, though hardly comprehensive (we didn’t even begin to look at tourism dollars, flood and erosion prevention, or real estate around Conservation Areas in other parts of the city) should, if nothing else, give you one more reason to smile about what your investments in conservation are helping to accomplish!

Felkers Falls - cascades and pools