In saltwire.com, Feb 2, 2023: PERSPECTIVE: Protect natural assets Nova Scotia has left
by Sheila Stevenson, co-chair of the Ferguson’s Cove Neighbourhood Association and a member of Our HRM Alliance.
She also sent the text City Clerk for distribution to the Mayor and Council who will be discussing the Green Network Plan tomorrow (Feb 7, 2023) re: Item No. 8 Halifax Regional Council February 7, 2023 SUBJECT: Green Network Plan Coordination and Resourcing
Some extracts from Sheila’s Op-ed:
Rome was burning, Nero fiddled. A similar story is playing out in Halifax Regional Municipality as natural landscapes and natural assets are obliterated before our eyes.
The objectives of “growth” and “speeding up development” espoused by the premier and his housing task force are accelerating what Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, calls “the orgy of destruction,” causing loss of biodiversity and speeding up climate change.
Halifax regional council accepted, as policies, the Halifax Green Network Plan (2018) and HalifACT, the Climate Action Plan (2020), but development practices such as filling in wetlands and wiping out plant communities continue to destroy natural systems that freely offer goods and services: clean water, nutrient cycling, water purification, climate regulation, erosion control, clean air, food, fiber, recreational spaces and wildlife corridors…
It is clear that Halifax regional council has yet to do what the Halifax Charter says they must: “Where the council adopts a municipal planning strategy or a municipal planning strategy amendment that contains policies regulating land use and development, the council shall, at the same time, adopt a land-use bylaw or land-use bylaw amendment that enables the policies to be carried out.” (s.234 (1))…
We are also asking council to:
– Ensure the Halifax Green Network Plan has adequate resources, with focused co-ordination across business units to facilitate implementation of natural asset policies.
– Remind the province of the importance of HRM’s 2018 unanswered request for a Halifax Charter amendment enabling HRM to acquire sensitive environmental lands, such as wetlands and steep slopes, as environmental reserves.
– Request a Halifax Charter amendment to change the timeline for parkland acquisition.
– Create a “conservation zone” that can be applied to areas identified as parkland.
– Council must bear in mind, as should our provincial government, that once our wild lands and natural systems are lost or degraded, they cannot be made wild again, except at a cost of billions of dollars, borne by the taxpayer, to undo development decisions of the past, as in New York, where they realized at great cost the vital importance of clean water and green space for health and well-being.
– Sacrificing natural assets in a rush toward hastily conceived solutions to the housing situation is not in the interest of the public good. Council can do several things, as can the province, to prevent that from happening, if they choose.
Wise words, Thx S.S.