Shaw Group/Nature Conservancy of Canada Proposal: Supportive staff report goes to Regional Council

“It is recommended that Halifax Regional Council direct staff to:
Williams lake1. 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
Continue reading

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Williams Lake Backlands – Big decision by Regional Council on Sep. 20, 2016

Wms lake backlandsHalifax 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.

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Tuesday, September 6th at 10AM at City Hall: BMBCL

BMBCLYour 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).

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Capt Spry Meeting well attended, participants highly supportive of proposed Urban Wilderness Park

Aug 30 Public Meeting at Capt Spry Centre with NCC, Williams Lake Conservation Co., Shaw group

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

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Proposal for Purcells Cove Backlands wilderness park promoted by residents

“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

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Tuesday, August 30, 6:30 pm at Captain William Spry Centre: Information about proposed Backlands park

BacklandsJoin 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

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No Fires Please!

Open fire pit amidst Jack Pines, May 2, 2016

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!

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Update: Purcell’s Cove Backlands / Urban Wilderness Park

WLBMapHello everybody,
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

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Reg Rankin makes untimely motion to amend the concept plan for BMBCL Regional Park

In a break from Reg’s usual support for green initiatives in HRM, he has put forward a motion for next Tuesday’s Regional Council meeting that tacitly accepts the highly criticized Facilitator’s report on Blue Mt Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park, see Item 15. It also means, apparently, that the 1500+ letters written to Mayor and Councillors urging them to reject the Facilitator’s report topic will not be in the packages for councillors. Those who support the original concept of the Regional Park are urged to attend Regional Council at 1 pm on Tuesday when this item is likely to come up (See Agenda). See op-ed in the CH July 22 for a few of the many reasons why Reg’s motion would best be withdrawn and if not, soundly defeated.

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Wed June 29, 2016, 7 pm Ondaatje Hall – show support for BMBCL

Is this what we want?

Is this what we want?

From EAC: By now you have probably hear that the long-promised, but yet-to-be delivered Blue Mountain Birch Cove Regional Park area is under immediate threat. A terrible report from an independent facilitator is recommending that a massive urban sprawl development be allowed inside the future park – all around the Birch Cove Lakes! Hundreds of you have already shown your support for protecting this amazing wilderness area by coming out to the public meeting last Monday, and writing letters to city council. Blue Mountain Birch Cove still needs your help!
Join us for a public meeting this Wednesday, June 29th from 7pm – 9 pm Ondaatje Hall, McCain Building, Dalhousie University next to the Rebecca Cohn Building to show your support. This meeting will be hosted by the Ecology Action Centre, Friends of Nature, Halifax Field Naturalists & the Halifax Northwest Trails Association. We need absolutely everyone who cares about this issue to attend. Tell your neighbors, tell your friends. We need you to come and be counted and to help rescue our future park from being ruined forever.

Take Immediate Action: Continue reading

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