Urbanization is a major problem in the Sackville River Watershed.  As Sackville has grown and developed, the effects of urbanization have magnified immensely.


Development plans for suburbs deferred

By MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE City Hall Reporter Thu, Aug 12 – 4:53 AM

Halifax’s regional planning advisory committee Wednesday voted to defer two of three suburban developments.

The advisory group recommended the municipal planning process move ahead for the Port Wallis area in Dartmouth, a tract of land near the Highway 107 connector.

It is suggesting council hold off on authorizing the building of suburbs in Halifax Regional Municipality’s Sandy Lake area, near Bedford West, and by the proposed Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes wilderness district.

The committee’s decision will be forwarded to council in September.

Municipal staff had recommended plans for all three projects be deferred. Planners feel there is enough available land in metro to meet the demand for housing “for the foreseeable future,” said a staff report.

Staff suggested the deferral should last at least a few years.

The report said more suburbs “may also create an unintended incentive for attracting more growth to . . . suburban areas at a time when council is implementing initiatives to retain and attract more residential opportunities in the regional centre.”

But Coun. David Hendsbee, an advisory committee member, said his group felt planning for the Dartmouth-area suburb could go ahead.

“This committee feels there’s not enough land availability on the Dartmouth side (of Halifax Harbour), so they said why should that be held up — allow that to proceed,” said Hendsbee, who represents Preston-Lawrencetown-Chezzetcook.

Environmentalists and others have been concerned about the proposals because of the potential impact on the proposed Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes wilderness parkland outside Halifax.

The site sits about 10 kilometres west of downtown Halifax, behind Bayers Lake Business Park.

The committee is recommending council authorize a watershed study for the site.

Raymond Plourde, with the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax, said the committee’s recommendation to put off development there “was the right decision.”

Plourde said once the study is done “and that information is in hand, then all stakeholders . . . will need to be engaged in the discussions with the developers and with the city to come up with the final park boundaries.”

Watershed studies should also be done in the Sandy Lake and Port Wallis areas, the committee recommended.

Plourde said his organization is “less pleased” with the advisory committee’s recommendation to move the Port Wallis planning ahead.

“Hopefully council will vote that down,” he said, adding that the watershed study of the area should still proceed.


(  mlightstone@herald.ca )