Council’s recent endorsement of the Shaw Group Ltd. / Nature Conservancy of Canada proposal in the Backlands certainly is great news! On September 20, Councillors voted 14-1 to accept the Halifax staff recommendations to move forward with negotiations between NCC, The Shaw Group and the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The reality of a wilderness park running from Williams Lake to Colpitt Lake is certainly getting closer. We would like to thank everyone who wrote letters, spoke to Councillors, attended the public information session and spread the word! It is heartening that the views of the community were heard by Halifax staff and Council. In case you missed the details that day, here are some links to further information:
A milestone: Halifax Council votes 14-1 to begin negotiations for Urban Wilderness Park; urbanwildernessparkhfx.ca, September 20, 2016
Halifax staff report and recommendations, dated Sept. 14, 2016
Video of the September 20 Council meeting (click on Item 14.1.8 regarding Purcell’s Cove Backlands, around the 52-minute mark)
Halifax regional council moves ahead with proposed Purcells Cove park: Council directed staff to begin negotiations; Metro Halifax, Sept. 20, 2016
Halifax Council to explore Purcell’s Cove park plan; The Chronicle Herald, Sept. 20, 2016
HRM staff recommend purchasing the Purcells Cove Backlands; The Coast, Sept. 19, 2016
In the coming months, as the negotiations continue with many details to be worked on, we will provide information as it becomes available. We also encourage you to sign up for updates through the dedicated website, www.urbanwildernessparkhfx.ca.
For anyone taking in Nocturne this Saturday evening, also find details below about “Wild at Heart,” which will be projected on City Hall. Sure to be a highlight, this new artwork explores the importance of our human connection to the natural world as Halifax grows.
Kathleen Hall, Paul Cashman & Marla Cranston
On behalf of the Backlands Coalition
“It is recommended that Halifax Regional Council direct staff to:
1. Proceed with negotiations to acquire the lands (PID 00052407) and return to Regional Council for consideration of the key terms and conditions for the 379 acres that address the following:
a. Suitable acquisition terms…
b. Acceptable governance model…
c. Suitable concept site and management plan…
d. Clarification of the obligations of the lessor (NCC) and lessee (HRM)…
e. Resolution of the concerns related to the state of the dam on the lands
f. Input from public consultation and discussions with the Province and relevant
stakeholders regarding the proposal; and
2. Consider updates to the Regional Plan … ”
View Full Report
View Agenda for Tues Sep 20, 2016 regional Council meeting
Halifax council will be presenting a recommendation Sept 20 on whether to approve a proposal by the Nature Conservancy of Canada to acquire almost 400 acres of land in the Williams Lake backlands and set it aside indefinitely as a wilderness preserve.
Please visit the Urban Wilderness Park Website for more about the proposal and how to support it by writing to Mayor and Councillors.
Your help is needed to protect what could be the largest urban park in all of Canada. The long-promised but yet-to-be-delivered Blue Mountain Birch Cove Regional Park is under threat. It could be a mini-Keji for Halifax, but a terrible report from an independent facilitator, released in June, is recommending that a massive urban sprawl development be allowed inside the core of the future park. Immediately following the release of the flawed Independent Facilitator’s Report, Councillor Reg Rankin quickly put forward a very bad three-part motion for council to debate and a vote on. After several delays his motion comes up for the big vote at Council this Tuesday, Sept. 6th. Read more
UPDATE: VERY GOOD NEWS: Council rejected development in Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes. See Global News. NOW it’s the Williams Lake Backlands on the burner (Sep 20).
Craig Smith of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) talks at the Aug 30 Public Meeting at Capt Spry Centre.
There was a great turnout for this event at which citizens had an opportunity to learn about and discuss the proposed Urban Wilderness Park for the Williams Lake/Colpitt Lake area of the Backlands. Participants were highly supportive of the initiative. Read more about it at www.urbanwildernessparkhfx.ca/
“The Nature Conservancy of Canada and citizens’ groups are pressing Halifax’s council to consider a proposal to purchase 153 hectares of wilderness near the city from a development company.
“The proposal would keep a large chunk of the Purcells Cove backlands as green space in perpetuity…” View CBC Report | CH | Global News Video
Join us Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at 6:30 pm at Captain William Spry Centre, when the Williams Lake Conservation Company hosts an evening Open House / Information Evening about the opportunity we have to secure a significant portion of the Purcells Cove Backlands for public ownership.
Supporters are urged to write letters to councillors in support of the park.
More details at www.urbanwildernessparkhfx.ca/
Open fire pit amidst Jack Pines, May 2, 2016
It’s not advisable to make open fires anywhere in the Backlands most of the time, but with all of the dry weather it’s especially hazardous right now and there is a fire ban over most of Western Nova Scotia. The Backlands are amongst most fire-susceptible landscapes in Nova Scotia. So extra care is appropriate!
I am sure you are all wondering about the progress of The Shaw Group / Nature Conservancy of Canada’s incredible proposal regarding the largest privately owned piece in the Backlands. Work is underway to emphasize the importance of this proposal!
Halifax staff is writing a report that is expected to be delivered to Council in early September. Representatives have met with staff and presented the case for this long sought-after urban wilderness park. These are people familiar to you: Dr. Patricia Manuel, Dr. David Patriquin, Paul Cashman and Kathleen Hall. Public input provided during the city’s Greenbelting Priorities Plan engagement this spring was also crucial – many thanks to all who participated.
Meanwhile, a directed letter campaign took place last week. People with expertise, long-time experience on the land and others were asked to share their knowledge, experiences, vision and desires. Letters flowed in to staff and Council. The response was fantastic!
We are now heading into a very important time, and we will be calling upon you. Each and every one of you! Please pay close attention to the Backlands Coalition website, Facebook page and email trail for updates and calls to action over the next month.
The proposal outlines the creation of an Urban Wilderness Park owned and managed by the City of Halifax and Nature Conservancy of Canada in partnership. It would support a small, accessible ‘frontcountry’ experience (wheelchair and stroller friendly) and a more rugged ‘backcountry’ trail network for recreation, nature appreciation, education programs and many other activities.
The parcel in question is a key gateway to the larger landscape, and its protection will propel the effort to save the rest of the Backlands from development. We are counting on your continuing support and encouragement, and the next four to six weeks will be critical.
Thanks very much,
Kathleen Hall, Paul Cashman, Marla Cranston
On behalf of the Backlands Coalition