FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, June 18, 2020
Purcells Cove Backlands a key piece in securing HRM urban green spaces.
K’JIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) - Yesterday, Halifax and West Community Council approved a motion brought forth by District 9 Councillor Shawn Cleary, for the creation of a staff report on re-zoning three properties near Williams Lake in the Purcells Cove Backlands.
“We are very pleased this next important step is being taken,” says Karen McKendry, Wilderness Outreach Coordinator for Ecology Action Centre. “Current zoning is not in step with the conservation vision for the Backlands. Progress has been made on securing some lands for nature conservation and public access, but many spaces in this urban wilderness area are still in need of protection from incompatible development.”
The Backlands encompass approximately 1,350 hectares of rare ecosystems and lakes near Purcells Cove, including the recently-protected, 153-hectare Shaw Wilderness Park.
“The Backlands are an essential part of the Ecology Action Centre’s vision for Halifax’s greenbelt,” explains Meredith Baldwin, Sustainable Cities Coordinator. “The greenbelt encompasses core areas and corridors that act as anchors for biodiversity and connect our communities with nature for their health and enjoyment.”
The threat of development in the Backlands showcases a larger sustainability issue, that comes as HRM prepares to update its Regional Plan. The Plan establishes long-term regional planning policies outlining where, when, and how future growth and development should take place between now and 2031. The EAC hopes the City will take a leadership role on protecting Halifax’s greenbelt by entrenching actionable sustainability goals in the Regional Plan.
“Development of the properties identified in Cleary’s motion could sacrifice water quality and recreational opportunities, and undercut the significant investment made by HRM and local citizens to protect the Shaw Wilderness Park,” explains McKendry. The staff report is expected to investigate the impact of development in the area on community access and ecological sustainability.
“Halifax has begun to invest in protecting green spaces and needs to make informed choices on where we grow and where we protect. Now is the time for citizens to have their say about planning decisions and future growth,” says Baldwin. Residents can share support for the Backlands and the Halifax greenbelt by contacting their local councillor at https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/districts-councillors/district-look.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Meredith Baldwin, Sustainable Cities Coordinator | Ecology Action Centre
Karen McKendry, Wilderness Outreach Coordinator | Ecology Action Centre