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Re: “Bogs and frogs lose as suburbia expands

Congratulations and thanks to Marilyn Challis for fighting for and succeeding in the protection of the wetland in the Bedford Commons. The wetland lies just next door to the Sackville River Watershed and the Sackville Rivers Association (SRA) followed the story with interest. It is truly amazing what one person can do when we decide to become involved.

The mandate of the SRA is to protect the Sackville River and its watershed of over 147 square kilometers. We as well often find that the environment is treated as a secondary item, if it is considered at all.

Currently there are a number of large development projects being planned within critical areas of the watershed (13 small and large sub-divisions are now on the books for development, one of over 1,600 acres and another of 1000 acres).

It is difficult to see how such development can be considered sustainable. Our goal is not to stifle economic development or to micromanage the actions of those who may want to build a home, but simply to push for methods of development that will take the environment into proper consideration. We ask ourselves and others: where is the Master Plan for Development on the Watershed? What about the accumulated effect on the watershed? What is sustainable development for our watershed and the over 1000 other watersheds province-wide?

It is time that subdivision construction must undergo an Environmental Assessment, just like a large mine, road construction project or utility corridor. Just how many golf courses, 30,000 person sub-divisions can one watershed handle until it is just one large watershed of small houses, roads and malls? Where is Sawmill River in Dartmouth, or Freshwater Brook in Halifax?

As the SRA continues to move ahead with its mandate, we will need and depend on the government to protect the environment and the public. It is nice to know as Marilyn has shown that, whereas government bodies are rarely proactive in nature, they can at least be responsive to the actions of concerned citizens who speak up. That is why we must vote and become involved - if we don't who will, just how many Marilyn's are out there?

The SRA uses the Atlantic Salmon as a biological indicator of watershed health, and it may surprise some to know that there are still Atlantic Salmon traversing the waters of Halifax Harbour and the Sackville River. Each morning, we check the fishway counter and usually, stubbornly, against great odds, there will be a salmon there waiting to continue its journey upstream. Perhaps there is a lesson or two that we can learn from their determination as we try to make sustainable development a reality for our watersheds in Nova Scotia!

Walter N. Regan
Sackville River Association

Posted by Sumac on 07/22/2009 at 1:06 PM

Re: “NSPIRG faces funding cut

$2 or $4 a year is nothing. And you do have a say in how it's spent, do you not? You can opt out of the payment, or you can go to the meetings and/or AGM and make proposals and pose questions. The cost is literally pennies per person, and proves that the Stop NSPIRG argument is more ideologically driven than anything.

It's necessary for students and the public to fight for causes but I think a lot of students jumped on the wrong horse with this one.

Posted by Sumac on 03/27/2009 at 6:50 PM

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