Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Proposed Regional Park: The areas of Zone 1 must be protected
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014
Red Huckleberry Bush on Susies Lake (Credit: Irwin Barrett)
What: In the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (RMPS) adopted in 2006, the Municipality committed to creating a Regional Park at Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes (BMBCL). The Province has designated a large share of land as a core Wilderness Area to contribute to HRM's Regional Park, but HRM has yet to acquire the necessary remaining lands to fulfill the Regional Park commitment. Access points are few and hard to reach. Meanwhile, urban sprawl and commercial development continue to encroach on the area. At a meeting on May 31, HRM finally revealed an ambitious park plan for the area, which included both front country and back country natural experiences. The plan is still conceptual with no firm date for the completion of the park.
Where: West of Highway 102, northwest of the existing Bayers Lake Business Park between Hammonds Plains Road and St. Margaret's Bay Road.
When: Immediately. The land that is in private hands should be acquired as soon as possible as per the commitments in the RMPS. The Province may be willing to donate additional Crown lands to assist in the creation of the park. HRM has indicated that the development of the park is now a priority, although the lack of a timeline is concerning. On August 2, the Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee will vote on whether staff should proceed with the updated vision, announced at the May 31 meeting.
Why: By creating this near-urban park, HRM will enhance the live-work-play appeal of our city and contribute enormously to the well-being of it's citizens. The BMBCL Regional Park would rival the great near-urban parks in Canada, such as Stanley Park in Vancouver, the Rouge National Urban Park in Toronto and Gatineau Park in Ottawa/Hull. The opportunity to hike, canoe, swim and skate in this wilderness that is accessible by transit would be a gift to residents of the Municipality for generations to come. In addition to recreational opportunities, the park would conserve and connect wildlife habitat, and protect water quality.
Who is concerned:
- Ecology Action Centre Wilderness Committee
- Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Nova Scotia Chapter
- Halifax North West Trails Association
- Halifax Field Naturalists
- Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia
- Nova Scotia Public Lands Coalition
- Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization
- Five Bridge Wilderness Heritage Trust
- St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Association