Virtual (online) public participation is now possible at in-person HRM meetings 15Nov2023

So writes Matt Stickland in The Coast

“One of the recurring complaints about citizen participation at municipal meetings is that it’s hard—logistically and practically taxing—to speak at public meetings. It’s hard for people who work the 9-to-5 grind to speak on a weekday at 10am, 1pm or 6pm. And it’s hard for people on the fringes, the Ecum Secums of the world, to drive two hours to City Hall, just to speak for five minutes. But that all changes today…” .

Read more in  It’s never been easier to yell at councillors by Matt Stickland in The Coast, Nov 14, 2023

Thx Matt, Thx HRM

 

 

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A natural analogue for “Sponge Cities”: “Whaleback Barrens” in the Halifax Backlands 5Nov2023

. Screen capture of image in CBC story 
Click on images for larger versions

On Nov 2, 2023, I happened to view a CBC TV News item item about “Montreal… building dozens of ‘sponge parks’ to soak up excess rain

I was struck by one scene in particular, of a linear sponge park alongside a paved street (see image at right) – it could almost have been taken on the “Whaleback Barrens” in the Backlands, where wetlands/watercourses occur in the troughs or gullies between the whalebacks. Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, Recreation, Trails, Watershed | Comments Off on A natural analogue for “Sponge Cities”: “Whaleback Barrens” in the Halifax Backlands 5Nov2023

McIntosh Run Watershed Association submits comments to the Regional Plan Review 25Oct2023

McIntosh Run Watershed, 2022, with current and Phase 2 trails. Image from MWRA website. Click on image for large version on MWRA website

In June of this year, HRM Planners submitted a draft of the Municipal Regional Plan and asked for feedback from the community. That consultation period was concluded on Oct 27, 2023.

McIntosh Run Watershed Association (MRWA) submitted  comments to the planners on Oct 25, 2023.  View post describing MRWA’s feedback to the HRM Draft Plan on the  MWRA website: HRM DRAFT REGIONAL PLAN: FEEDBACK AND LONG-TERM CONSERVATION AND TRAIL CONCEPTS

As a large portion of the McIntosh Run Watershed lies outside of the Backlands, the comments  apply to both to the Backlands and to areas outside of the ‘Backlands’ (as  usually defined). Continue reading

Posted in Community, Conservation, HRM Greenbelt, Uncategorized, Watershed | Comments Off on McIntosh Run Watershed Association submits comments to the Regional Plan Review 25Oct2023

Backlands Coalition submits comments to the Regional Plan Review 27Oct2023

In June of this year, HRM Planners submitted a draft of the Municipal Regional Plan and asked for feedback from the community. That consultation period is now over and the Backlands Coalition has submitted detailed comments to the planners.

Our submission highlights issues of special importance to HRM, the nearby communities of Spryfield, Williams Lake, Purcells Cove, Fergusons Cove and parts of Herring Cove that surround the Backlands.

The overriding theme is the maintenance and viability of the Backlands as essential natural infrastructure, habitat for a diversity of wildlife and recreation space for Haligonians.

View Issues of Critical Importance in the HRM Draft Regional Plan
Prepared by The Backlands Coalition, Submitted to HRM Oct 27, 2023. (PDF, 18 pages, 4.7 MB) Continue reading

Posted in Community, Conservation, Regional Plan | Comments Off on Backlands Coalition submits comments to the Regional Plan Review 27Oct2023

Towards a combined Conservation/Fire Management Strategy for the Backlands 26Oct2023

The fire-adapted, fire-dependent  and fire-stimulating  “Globally Rare & Nationally Unique” (and incredibly beautiful) Jack Pine-Broom Crowberry community in an area of whalebacks in the Backlands. This site was “ready to burn” in 2013 and is even more ready in 2023 – are WE ready for it to burn?
Click on images for larger versions

Yours Truly (David P) talked about Fires, Conservation and Fire Management in the Halifax Backlands in an online presentation to the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society on Oct 29, 2023.

The presentation is available on YouTube and the slide deck is available at www.versicolor.ca/fire. Some “Useful Links” are given at the versicolor site, and the video can be downloaded from that site.

This topic has many layers, there are  lots of materials and I just touch on them in the presentation.  I have made the slide deck available so those interested can download it if they want to study  individual slides in more detail. Continue reading

Posted in Community, Conservation, Fire Ecology, Geoffrey Grantham | Comments Off on Towards a combined Conservation/Fire Management Strategy for the Backlands 26Oct2023

Monday Nov 6, 2023: Spryfield Community Meeting on Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment

Click on image for larger version

Spryfield Community Meeting – District 11
Date:  6 November 2023
Place:  Captain William Spry Recreation Centre, Multipurpose room
Time:  6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If you are unable to attend, please consider completing the online survey at
Https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/hrva

——–

Extracts from www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/hrva

Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment
To keep improving how we make decisions, understand community vulnerabilities, and mitigate emergency risks and hazards, the Halifax Regional Municipality Emergency Management Division is conducting a Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (HRVA), starting spring 2023. Continue reading

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Be on the lookout for invasive crayfish in Halifax Area lakes 20Oct2023

Procambarus clarkii, known variously as the red swamp crayfishLouisiana crawfish or mudbug,[3] is a species of cambarid crayfish native to freshwater bodies of northern Mexico, and southern and southeastern United States, but also introduced elsewhere (both in North America and other continents), where it is often an invasive pest. (Wikipedia)

This new invasive species is featured in an item in today’s Halifax Examiner’s Morning File and in an associated article by Yvette Entrmonet DFO: Red swamp crayfish trapped in Halifax area lake could have ‘severe’ impact on ecosystems. From Morning File:

“The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is exploring control and containment options after trapping more than 70 live red swamp crayfish in a Halifax area lake,” reports Yvette d’Entremont:

The invasive freshwater species is indigenous to the southern U.S. and eastern Mexico. Over the summer, DFO and Saint Mary’s University researchers trapped and removed 70 live red swamp crayfish from Three Mile Lake, located next to Windsor Junction.

During a media presentation along the Cobequid Road shore of the lake on Thursday, DFO aquatic invasive species biologist Sarah Kingsbury told reporters this type of crayfish has “severe or potentially severe” impacts on ecosystems. It preys on fish eggs, competes with native species for available resources, space, and calcium in the water. It can also alter the physical habitat structure and impact other species through its burrowing.

Yvette d’Entremont cites Saint Mary’s University researchers as urging anyone who spies a crayfish in Nova Scotia to contact them here.

Thx for caring, Halifax Examiner/Yvette d’Entremont, & Saint Marys University folks.

Posted in Community, Invasive species, Lakes | Comments Off on Be on the lookout for invasive crayfish in Halifax Area lakes 20Oct2023

New Provincial Housing-in-HRM Legislation “risks commitment to sustainability” – Mayor Savage

The province recently announced new legislation “to get more housing built, faster, in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)” (NS Gov News Release, Oct 12, 2023).

It includes, amongst other measures:

– giving the minister authority to make decisions on development in HRM without a recommendation from the Executive Panel on Housing or request from the municipality
– granting all variances respecting set backs or street walls unless HRM can demonstrate that they materially alter the intent of the municipal planning strategy
– temporarily freezing all municipal permit and development fees, including Halifax Water regional development charges and density bonus charges, for a period of two years; any increase would require ministerial approval
– creating one of Canada’s first trusted partner programs, which will offer qualified developers – working with certified professionals who have a solid track record of quality developments – expedited services, allowing them to get shovels in the ground faster.

HRM issued an unusually critical statement about the legislation (HRM Oct 12, 2023) Continue reading

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October 13-22, 2023: The Fall Continental Mycoblitz 2023 in the Maritimes!

Bears Head Tooth or Lion’s Mane (Hericium americanum),  growing on hemlock, Halifax area.

Where: Everywhere mushrooms grow

The 2023 Continental Mycoblitz is open to anyone who is willing to make scientifically valuable collections of mushrooms – including photography, fieldnotes, and submitting a dried specimen. Any individual or organization can submit their most unique/interesting/exciting collections from the foray week to theproject. Mycologists and foray partners will examine each collection and will perform DNA sequencing on thousands of the specimens that are submitted.

For general information about the Mycoblitz see: https://mycota.com/2023 continental-mycoblitz/

Mycologists in the three Maritime Provinces will coordinate the Mycoblitz efforts in our region, to try sequence over 1,000 collections of mushrooms from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

If you are located in Nova Scotia please contact Sean Haughian at the NovaScotia Museum (sean.haughian@novascotia.ca) to get more detailed informationabout collecting and documenting mushrooms for the Continental Mycoblitz, or to arrange for dropping specimens off at the Museum of Natural History.

Posted in Conservation, Events | Comments Off on October 13-22, 2023: The Fall Continental Mycoblitz 2023 in the Maritimes!

Mon Oct 23, 2023 Fires, Conservation and Fire Management in the Halifax Backlands

Geoffrey Grantham and Ron Kuwahara paint en plein air in the Jack Pine-Crowberry barrens on Nov 2, 2015, 6 years after 2009 ‘Spryfield Fire’.
Click on image for larger version

Online presentation by David Patriquin to the NS Wild Flora Society, 7:30 p.m. Monday Oct 23, 2023.

The “Backlands”, located only a few kilometers from from peninsular Halifax, NS, are a Thompsonesque urban wilderness of approximately 1350 hectares which include nine lakes, hills with spectacular views and dozens of kilometers of informal hiking and biking trails. Erratic blocks, whalebacks and boulder fields are prominent features of the glacially scoured rocky landscape. It is also one of the most fire-susceptible landscapes in Nova Scotia, with recurrent fires pre-dating European settlement. One result is the presence of highly fire-adapted plant communities including the globally rare ‘Jack Pine/Broom Crowberry Barrens’… Read more and register via  NSWFS website

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