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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:
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

No Questions Allowed about Facilitator’s Report on Blue Mt Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park..written input now critical

Over 300 people, young and old, attended the public meeting for the Facilitator’s Report on the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park; the room accommodated less than 200. No questions or discussion were allowed Read more »

Help save Blue Mt Birch Cove Lakes

Please attend meeting on Monday eve June 20; write a letter by July 4. More from Our HRM Alliance: ‘Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes is a proposed 2,000 hectare park located directly behind the Bayers Lake Shopping Centre and in-between Timberlea and Kingswood subdivision on Hammonds Plains Road and just over the hill from Clayton Park. It features a lovely forest and over a dozen lakes, a complete canoe loop, and habitat for a number of endangered species. Few cities in the world have such an amazing wilderness in such a core area to the city. It’s been ten long years since Halifax Regional Municipality promised in its to create a large natural park at Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes in its 2016 Regional Plan. Read more »

Monday June 20, Public Meeting on Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes

From Our HRM Alliance: In 2014, a facilitator was hired to negotiate the boundaries of the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area. Shockingly, the facilitator’s report (just released) proposes the exact site plan the developers asked for in 2007. This negotiation has been a complete failure. You can read the flawed report here. If you do not want to see Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes developed, come to the public information meeting Monday, June 20, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. at The Future Inns Aspin/Birch Room, 30 Fairfax Drive, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax is taking written feedback on this report until July 4 at

Sat June 18, 1-3 pm: Why Parks Matter

A ‘speed-dating style’ learning event at Dalhousie University (6100 University Ave) Why do parks matter to you? They matter to many people for many reasons and we have an exciting group of presenters lined up to tell you why parks are important to cities, the people who live in them, and the environment. Groups of participants will rotate between presentations with a station for refreshments included…. read more

Blue Mountain proposed boundaries should be rejected

“Environmentalists want Halifax to reject a new report on proposed boundaries for a regional park near the Bayer’s Lake Business Park. “The report is deeply, fatally flawed,” said Raymond Plourde, wilderness coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre.” Read CBC post