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The Gem we could lose

Irwin Bennet has posted some remarkable pics from the Blue Mt Birch Cove Lakes area. See pics.

And look at this Backgrounder if you need more reasons to urge the Mayor and Council to stick to the original plans for a Regional Park.

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 See op-ed in the CH July 22 for a few of the many reasons why Reg’s motion would best be withdrawn and if not, soundly defeated.

ADMIRAL LAKE/SKULL ROCK– POSTPONED TO SUNDAY JULY 17TH

This hike has been postponed until next week due to weather. View hike details on Walks and Talks page.

Over 1000 submissions & One Enthusiastic Ranger!

CTV News reported over one thousand submissions were received concerning the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park..(including this letter from HFN/WRWEO) and an HFN member is a super keen Birch Cove Ranger! “I took this selfie while trail running around Fox Lake last Thursday. In the background you can see the untouched shoreline of Fox Lake, the side that is threatened by development.”

PLANifax Video about the BMBCL Regional Park Issue

A PLANifax video provides a good overview of recent events related to Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park, and the background to those events. It includes a visit to the area with Akhtar Abbasi.

View View Video on the PLANifax Facebook page, or below (small version),

Karen Beazley on why Halifax must save Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park from suburbia

An opinion piece by Karen Beazley (Prof in SRES at Dal) nicely summarizes a key issue – the loss of integrity of the Protected Wilderness Area if the developer’s proposal goes ahead. View CBC

HRM: Are you ready for the Birch Cove Rangers?

Three-hundred plus citizens passionate about Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes (BMBCL) attended the public meeting about the planned BMBCL Regional Park this evening (June 30, 2016), which followed a highly criticized Facilitator’s Report. Two MLAs (Diana Whalen, Joachim Stroink) attended. There were only two HRM Councillors (Waye Mason & Jennifer Watts) present, but several candidates who will run in the fall election were there. EAC’s veteran BMBCL campaigner Raymond Plourde gave a history of the Regional Park and MC’d further presentations and discussions to repeated applause. Read more »

HRM rewrites web page following June 20th BMBCL Facilitator’s meeting

A member of HFN noticed a recent change in HRM’s webpage that links to the Facilitators Report:
“Wow. It is unbelievabale how different the current City of Halifax web page that links to the Facilitators Report is from the page upon which I initially accessed it. New page: https://www.halifax.ca/property/bluemountainbirchcovelakes.php
There is no sign of the old page, which had the Vision of BMBC Lakes Regional Plan, with beautiful photo images from the area. The new page is very corporate, under the banner of “Corporate Real estate”. The different feel of the two pages is like night and day (or shall I say, day and night). This change has occurred since the June 20th Public Presentation. It even says on the new page that “Following the public presentation of the Facilitator’s Report on June 20, 2016, the municipality recognizes the need for additional context regarding the background, current status and next steps associated with the Proposed Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park.” ”

HRM cannot completely rewrite history, The original intentions, with maps, are very clear. See Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee September 6, 2012: Blue Mountain Birch Cove Regional Park – Conceptual Plan and Objectives

Dal Prof questions integrity of BMBCL Protected Area if development goes ahead

Karen Beazley, Professor in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dal, has raised concerns about the integrity of Blue Mt Birch Cove Lakes Protected Wilderness Area if the proposed development goes ahead. “Without the city’s contribution of the Regional Park as envisioned and re-affirmed in the 2006 HRM Regional Plan, and with the proposed development as presented and recommended in the Facilitator’s Report, there will be essentially no buffering of BMBC Wilderness Area (see notes and map images). Further, there will be substantially more edge effects and access. These two exacerbating circumstances would no doubt seriously impact the ecological quality and character of BMBCWA, and make management of the park consistent with the Act virtually impossible. ”


Map shows the shrinkage in the core wilderness area after the buffer zones are applied using the developer’s proposal, recommended by the Facilitator. (Click on map for larger version.)

Mark Parent speaks out about BMBCL

Mark Parent was Minister of Environment when the province designated crown lands in BMBCL a Protected Wilderness Area. In an opinion piece in the CH today (Sat June 25), he lays out the understanding with HRM at the time. He concludes “Well, the province acted 10 years ago. It’s time now for HRM and its councillors to live up to this historic agreement for the good not only of present citizens but, more importantly, of generations to come.” Read more. The Developers are not sympathetic according to a CBC News item.

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

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: Read more »

Globally endangered Boreal felt lichen set to decline 50% in 25 years

Researchers call for increased protection as the federally protected Boreal felt lichen population decline in Atlantic Canada shows links to human impacts on the environment. Read article