Blue-Mountain Birch-Cove Lakes
A mini-Keji on Halifax’s doorstep.
Right on the edge of Halifax’s urban core is a wilderness with unbelievable natural beauty.
Other cities would die for the opportunity to have a park like this.
But for 11 years, almost no progress has been made on creating this long-promised park.
Blue-Mountain Birch-Cove Lakes Park would be nestled right into the city, with over a dozen stunning lakes, multiple bird and wildlife species, and a complete canoe loop—all on a bus route. It has been called the Keji of Halifax.
Halifax’s 2006 Regional Plan promised the creation of the park, with boundaries based on an award-winning scientific analysis. The above, updated map was presented to the public on May 31, 2012, to a packed crowd of over 300 people and was roundly endorsed.
The 2016 Threat
In 2016, a terrible facilitator’s report recommended massive sprawl development to be allowed in some of the park’s most precious and ecologically sensitive land.
The report was greeted with widespread public outrage and over 1500 written submissions to City Hall. In response, Council voted to set the report aside, and instead instructed Halifax staff to enter into discussions with adjacent landowners, the public, stakeholders, and other levels of government to: “Develop a program to acquire land to establish the proposed Blue Mountain – Birch Cove regional park.”
But as of September 6, 2017:
One year has passed since Council gave its direction and the public has yet to hear or see any sign of progress. There has been no public or stakeholder consultations and not a square inch of land for the park has been acquired.
Will 2017 be the 11th year in a row where no concrete steps are made towards establishing the park?
Time for Action
What Blue-Mountain Birch-Cove Lakes Needs:
The park desperately needs someone at the political or staff level to champion the park and see this city-building project through to completion.
Timeline and Clear Strategy
11 years has been too long. The public wants a clear strategy for achieving the park within a reasonable timeframe, and to know exactly how long it will take. The public wants the park in this lifetime.
The city knows it will need funds to make this investment. Council finally set aside $5 million in the 2017 budget for strategic parkland acquisitions, but that is for all parks. They should allocate more funds specifically for Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes annually so the city is prepared for any opportunity to purchase land.
The public and stakeholders want to be at the table to help plan and develop the park in detail, and to give feedback on the strategy for acquisition. Already, too much has happened behind closed doors.
Commitment to a vision
When government builds a highway, they do not see what land they can buy from willing sellers and then build a highway through that. They decide where the highway must go and then acquire whatever land necessary. A park this extraordinary deserves the same level of planning and commitment.
A Worthy Investment
Government does not flinch at investing hundreds of millions for convention centres, bridges, highways, and sports centres because good public infrastructure is worth it.
Creating a world-class park that will attract tourists, businesses and new residents and support an excellent quality of life is well-worth investing in. Let’s make decisions now that present and future generations will thank us for.
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We will continue pushing the city of Halifax to make good on its commitment to establish Blue-Mountain Birch-Cove Lakes. Signup to find out how you can help make this park a reality.