Friday, July 9, 2010

paving paradise, action required

Just read this in THE COAST and it makes me feel ill....

Birch Cove Lakes-Blue Mountain wilderness area threatened by development
-Posted by Tim Bousquet on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 7:32 AM

A high-powered and high-dollared political battle in City Hall is playing out largely unnoticed by local media. At stake are potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in suburban development and the future of a proposed wilderness park celebrated as an unparalleled urban gem by environmentalists.

Over the past few years wilderness advocates have successfully convinced the provincial government to designate 1,350 hectares of crown land as the Birch Cove-Blue Mountain Wilderness, and managed to get a similarly named municipal wilderness park written into the HRM regional plan;

The city park would incorporate both the crown land and now-privately held land bound by the Bayers Lake Industrial Park, the proposed Highway 113 corridor, the Kingswood subdivision in Hammond's Plains and a ridgeline just to the west of the Bicentennial Highway. The resulting park would include nine lakes that form a continuous canoe loop, the highlands of Blue Mountain and a striking wilderness landscape--- all on a chunk of land about the size of the Halifax peninsula, just 15 minutes from downtown.

The regional plan calls for the creation of the park and says the privately owned land can't be developed in the 25-year lifetime of the plan. But........ the private landowners-- -which include the two largest development companies in Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Group and Armco Development- --have asked the Regional Plan Advisory Committee to amend the plan to allow them to place suburban homes on the land.

The developers have been lobbying hard on the issue, (we have to lobby harder) and through two meetings of perhaps 50 people crammed into the un-air conditioned Finley Centre, the committee has been fairly responsive:( While applying political pressure, the developers have put up "no trespassing" signs and blocked parking on formerly accessible lots off the Bicentennial Highway. The committee continues its deliberation August 11.

THIS is the land in question Under pressure from the large developers, city hall is trying to back out of an agreement they made for no development in the next 25 years.

What can we do? Spread the word!

Write to our representatives and say what you feel.

This is another group trying to help Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

Contact Mayor Peter Kelly! .... in his own words... Reach me at City Hall(about anything) at, by phoning 490-4010. I also invite you to join me on my Facebook or Twitter , or on my blog at

It is easy to be upset but to make a difference you have to take action! Don't think about writing, do it if this is something you don't want to see happen. Find out when the open meetings are and attend. This cannot be allowed to occur after all the hard work that went into trying to set the land aside in it's pristine state. It is one of the few pockets of wilderness within close range of the city. Developing it would displace the wildlife and give us a sea of houses and apartment buildings instead.

Dousan Soudek wrote in an online group called ExploreNova Scotia:
To all:
The request for permission to initiate secondary planning for a residential/ commercial development in the area by the developers (Birchdale Projects) in the Birch Cove Lakes area, plus two other unrelated and less controversial development proposals, will be voted on by the HRM Regional Plan Advisory Committee (RPAC) at its next meeting on August 11.
If the committee votes YES on the proposal, it will then go for a vote to the full HRM Council; if it votes NO, then the proposal is pretty well dead.

You may send an e-mail to the members of RPAC through its legislative assistant, Chris Newson at * you will have to copy and paste the email address into your email browser*
(Here is a link to RPAC membership, there are 15 members that will determine the fate of this wonderful resource. Short term gain for long term loss. This is something I really care about about so please be patient with this long post. I know it is not my usual chatter. Even if you are not from here and want to help us save this gem of an area, please write a quick email.


Suzie Ridler said...

I wrote to Kelly and the RPAC saying what a travesty this idea is! What is wrong with this province? Makes me sick! Good for you for raising awareness Shelagh, can't believe they're trying to do this.

Sapphire Green said...

Horrors! One of the things I love about Halifax is the abundance of nature nearby. I'll send in my two cents' worth. Thanks for standing up and sounding off. ps. is your other e-mail address still valid?

Grace said...

Just send an email. thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Kathy said...

It's great for you to share that with everyone. Isn't it sad what we are doing to beautiful land like that? It breaks your heart. I hope it all works out.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Hi Shelagh! I haven't been by in so long and I'm so sorry. I've been scattered and hiding and out of sorts since my dad died and have finally decided to get back into my life and move forward and return to my routine of being social.

I'm so sorry to read about the man vs. nature or money vs. nature issue. My dad was a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for over 30 years, and he was such a conservationist before it was trendy to be. So, I am saddened to read this. Hope nature prevails!

Loved seeing your painting in between this and the tattoos! hee hee I have missed your work. It makes me happy and content to see it.

Hope you are having a good summer. I'll be back soon!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I feel you pain on this issue, Shelagh. I hope the e-mail and phone call campaign will help defeat the developer. What a shame to lose this pristine land.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shelagh! Thanks for bringing this to people's attention. I've sent an email to RPAC, Kelly and my counsellor to add my voice to the outrage. I hope we can get our voices heard.
-Lisa Y.