Letters to the editor, July 7, 2016 | Opinion | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Letters to the editor, July 7, 2016

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

Future-proof park

It was very disappointing to attend the recent "public meeting" on Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes wilderness area and not be able to voice an opinion ("Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes a 'sham of a process,'" City story by Michelle Cameron, June 23). This process seems to be a way to express the developers' opinion and not the public's.

When Point Pleasant Park was leased in 1866, I am sure the 190 acres appeared huge compared to the size of the city. Look at it now, being loved to death. In 1908, when Sir Sanford Fleming donated his Dingle estate on the west side of the Arm to the Lieutenant Governor in trust for the city, it seemed like a huge piece of forest in the middle of nowhere. Look at it now, a treasured place of refuge surrounded by urban development.

Halifax has a similar opportunity now in an area where 10-storey apartments spring up overnight like mushrooms. Although 4,500 acres seems like a lot of land now, it is entirely appropriate for the size of our city and the density of development proposed for this immediate area alone. Acquiring the last 1,300 acres while they remain undeveloped is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Now is the time to open the municipal wallet, negotiate a fair price and acquire these two final parcels. —Syd Dumaresq, chair, Friends of Nature Conservation Society

In the 1950s when much of the private acquisition of lands around Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes occurred, we lived in a euphoric post-war world that spawned freeways, a car in every driveway and the invention of the suburb. It was the beginning of the environmental conundrum in which we now find ourselves struggling with deteriorating water, air and soil quality. What might have seemed an appropriate land use for a wilderness area in the 1950s is simply not acceptable in 2016. With so much information clarified in the intervening time period regarding the impact of human choices on the environment, why would a change of planning strategy come as a surprise to any informed Halifax developer after 70 years?

As a city we need to recognize the increasing value of green space to urban residents and to the health of our communities and province. Judging from the turnout and frustrated tone at the presentation meeting, it is a much higher priority to people than is currently understood by our political representatives. And as a planet, we KNOW that the choices we make today, even in humble HRM, have permanent environmental consequences. For the sake of our future, let's get it right this time. If development is permitted in this ecologically sensitive wilderness area, there will be no second chance. —Sandy Mattice, Bedford

Denial demand

At stake in the climate debate are billions of dollars, millions of jobs and, if people like David Suzuki are right, the fate of the environment. Consequently, we need everyone in the discussion to behave responsibly. Sadly, the debate is often poisoned by misinformation. Suzuki's June 29 article demonstrates this well ("Broken records define the climate crisis," Science Matters, posted at thecoast.ca). 

He implies that I am "shady," that I spread lies, and calls me an "Canadian industry propagandist." Yet I have never worked for any energy or natural resources company. I simply promote the information that our science advisors think is most correct.

Suzuki says I have "pals at organizations like the U.S. Heartland Institute." I am happy to work with Heartland. They are the publishers of the most impressive climate realist documents ever, the reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. NIPCC reports cite hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific references that demonstrate that today's climate is not unusual, and evidence for future calamity is weak. The NIPCC explains how the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has ignored much of the available scientific literature that does not conform to their position on climate change.

Contrary to Suzuki's message of impending catastrophe, no one knows the future of climate change. Yet we do know that people need help today adapting to climate change, however caused. Let's help to the degree we can afford and stop pretending we have a crystal ball to the future. —Tom Harris, International Climate Science Coalition, Ottawa

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