Decision postponed on developing land earmarked as wilderness park | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Decision postponed on developing land earmarked as wilderness park

Birch Cove Lakes-Blue Mountain Wilderness spared, for now

A wilderness jewel just 15 minutes from downtown Halifax has been spared from development, at least for a few years.

At issue is the Birch Cove Lakes-Blue Mountain wilderness area, which has been designated as a future regional wilderness park in the HRM Regional Plan (see here). I've explained the development pressures on the privately held land in the area many times; suffice it to say that two of the landowners are the largest development companies in Nova Scotia, and they've been lobbying heavily to get the park designation overturned.

Even though city staff was against changing the designation, earlier this summer it looked like an obscure city committee called the Regional Plan Advisory Committee was going to happily go along with the developers' request. The RPAC is heavy with pro-development councillors and community members with connections to the development and real estate industries.

Today, though, the RPAC put the brakes on the proposal, giving environmentalists an important victory.

That's the short version. The situation is much more complicated---the entire issue will be placed back on the political platter in a couple of years, and the committee today took some actions that undermines the regional plan---so stay tuned for a second post tomorrow, that gets more into these details.

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