Tues May 10 & Sat May 14: Input to Green Network Map in support of Backlands

One reason to conserve the Backlands

One reason to conserve the Backlands

UPDATE: Another map tutorial is being held at the Zion’s Gate, 47 Williams Lake Road on Saturday, May 14, from 1 to 3 pm. All are welcome to attend. Bring your laptop if you want, but no need.

There is little time to tell the city how much we love this area and why. Input on the Green Network plan maps is critical. The deadline is May 15. A tutorial is happening on Tuesday, May 10, 5:00 pm at the Purcell’s Cove Social Club, 505 Purcell’s Cove Road. Come by and receive help in putting your thoughts on the map.

Please see previous post with links to the Map and Tutorials

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Thursday, May 19: The Purcell’s Cove Granite Quarries

POSTER-MAY-19--PC-QuarriesIllustrated Presentation by Cole Grabinsky and Rachael Groat, Graduates, School of Planning, Dalhousie University.(Supervisor: John Zuck of Purcell’s Cove)

When: Thursday May 19th 7:30 PM

Where: Purcells Cove Social Club, 505 Purcells Cove Rd, Halifax

Click on image at left for larger version

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Fire hazard in the Backlands is high

It’s not a good idea anytime to have campfires in the Backlands, but especially in early spring before the deciduous trees leaf-out and especially on Jack Pine barrens.

Recent campfire in Jack Pine barrens

Recent campfire on Jack Pine barrens

(The 2009 fire was on April 30/May 1.) On top of that the Backlands are tinder dry right now, and the wetlands are low in water.

A campfire such as that at left with no water nearby and on tinder-dry barrens could easily get out of control and endanger people hiking in the backlands.

There is really no safe way to have an open fire on such landscapes.

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Community input crucial by May 15

This is certainly wonderful news (see preceding post) and we can be cautiously optimistic. However, there is much work to be done – urgently. Council has requested a staff report and a positive recommendation is very important. There are many competing interests for municipal funds. Significant funds from community members and beyond will also be an essential ingredient.
What can you do now to help make this happen? Please sign on to the Halifax Green Network Plan webpage and provide your input in two ways:

  • On the “new” Online Map Tool, identify your favourite spots on Williams and Colpitt Lakes and elsewhere in the Backlands. What are your favourite recreational activities? Why is this place so special to you? Tell them; now’s your best chance!
  • Please complete the online survey. Municipal staff needs to receive your input to find out why the Backlands are a public priority for inclusion in the city’s future greenbelt.

Please note, the input deadline is May 15 for both the survey and the map tool. There has been very little public input to date at this stage of the public engagement process – please add your voice, it will make a difference!

Map tutorials
If you have any difficulty accessing the map or adding your input, Our HRM Alliance can help in two ways: Continue reading

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“A diamond at our doorstep”

Hello everyone,
Many of you may already be aware that The Shaw Group has teamed up with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in relation to a new proposal to protect a significant portion of the Backlands for “Halifax’s finest urban nature experience”.
On Tuesday, April 26, a presentation was made to Halifax Regional Council, proposing “a mutually beneficial, three-way partnership for the protection of the Williams-Colpitt Lake site” – nearly 162 hectares of wilderness lands currently owned by The Shaw Group, which is the parent company of Clayton Developments. Continue reading

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“Purcells Cove Backlands could become a nature conservancy”

CBCIt should read “The Williams Lake Backlands, part of the larger Purcells Cove Backlands”..regardless, possibly some good news.

The subititle to this CBC news item is “Development company is willing to sell close to 162 hectares of land to the municipality”

“The Shaw Group has teamed up with the Nature Conservancy of Canada to negotiate an agreement with Halifax region over the future of the Purcells Cove Backlands.

“The Shaw Group owns close to 162 hectares of the urban wilderness, but the development company is willing to sell land to the municipality.

“We have provided an evaluation and a discounted purchase price for the lands,” said Alan Shaw, president of the Shaw Group. “We have listened to what the public has to say and the importance of these lands to the future green network.”

Read full CBC Report

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Geoffrey Grantham: Jack Pines and Other Encounters

Poster (click on image for large version) Geoffrey Grantham is exhibiting a new set of paintings featuring the Jack Pines of the Backlands.

The paintings will be at the Pavia Gallery, 995 Herring Cove Road, April 21 to June 7, 2016.

There is an Opening Reception on Thursday April 21, 7-8:30 pm.

(Click on image at left for a large version of the poster.)

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Greenbelt update coming; last chance for feedback

Many thanks to Purcell's Cove artist Geoffrey Grantham for allowing us to share this image of his painting. Evening Grace, Oil on Panel, 9x12", Spring 2014, available at Pavia Gallery, Herring Cove.

Evening Grace by Geoffrey Grantham

Hello everyone,
It’s time! Time for an update on the city’s plans toward building a greenbelt – a greenbelt that we believe should include the Backlands.

The revised Regional government plan, passed in June 2014, contained a provision for the establishment of a greenbelt. The Halifax planning department has been working with a consulting firm to create the Halifax Green Network: An Open Space and Greenbelting Priorities Plan for the Region. http://www.halifax.ca/HalifaxGreenNetwork/

Many of you may remember a session in June 2015 at the Captain William Spry Centre. Following this and sessions in other areas of the municipality, two reports were produced in October 2015:

What We Heard Report – Phase 1: Foundations, and
State of the Landscape Report: Issues and Opportunities.

Attendance at the next public session on March 31 is very important. It is our last chance to ensure that the Backlands is identified as a vital area that should be included in the Halifax Green Network. This will bring protection ensuring that development does not occur.

Specifically, feedback from Phase 1 of the Green Network plan and a workshop with stakeholders has been used to “create a refined regional open space network learning scenario,” which will be presented at a series of engagement events throughout the municipality from March 30 to April 7. A formal presentation will take place at each event, followed by a Q&A and open house session.

Please come out and make your thoughts and desires known!

Public consultation for the Halifax area:
Thursday, March 31 from 6 – 9 p.m.
Atlantica Hotel, 1980 Robie Street, Halifax

The Backlands is a special place featuring coastal wetlands as well as flora that is nationally unique and globally significant. Hiking and swimming are but a few activities that are so very close to our city. It is important that the consultants hear this information.

We strongly urge you to attend this very important event.

Kathleen Hall and Marla Cranston
on behalf of the Backlands Coalition

Backlands background
Please visit our website at backlandscoalition.ca for more details about the Backlands’ ecosystems, landscapes, trails, recreation, bird species and other fauna, nearby communities and more. Ongoing updates on this near-urban wilderness are also available on the Backlands Coalition Facebook page.

Evening Grace
Many thanks to Purcell’s Cove artist Geoffrey Grantham for allowing us to share this image of his painting. Evening Grace, Oil on Panel, 9×12″, Spring 2014, available at Pavia Gallery, Herring Cove.

Geoffrey has a solo exhibition coming up at Pavia in April: www.paviagallery.com/upcoming/.

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25000+ sign on to anti-biomass petition

clearcut for biomassAn Anti-Biomass Petition (“Stop destroying Nova Scotia’s forests for biomass power generation”) has garnered more than 25000 signatures in less than 10 days. Started by a St. Margaret’s Bay resident, it elicited a Bruce McKinnon editorial cartoon in the CH. Read more in CH. The petition remains open.

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Moose sighting on Williams Lake

mooseOn January 22, 2016, a resident observed a moose which came up from the shore of Williams Lake and into the backyard. It was a male with antler stubs.

Such sightings are reported every now and then and provide evidence that the Chebucto group of the endangered mainland moose make use of the Backlands. Read more about this group. See also DNR’s Mainland Moose Frequently Asked Questions

Sightings should be reported to DNR.

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