The Halifax Green Network
Protecting what matters with growth that makes sense.
The Seven Solutions
Between 1992 and 2014, Halifax nearly doubled in area but only grew in population by a fifth.
To ensure continued access to nature, livable communities, and lower our tax burden we must control the sprawl of development.
The solution is a greenbelt: laying out the exact places where development should and shouldn’t happen based on health, food, economy, and ecology.
Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) developed the Halifax Green Network Plan as a vision and action plan to address the need for region-wide ecological vision. With strong, clear implementation, the Green Network Plan will allow us to direct development away from our most vulnerable natural areas.
Here’s the thing:
The Halifax Green Network Plan has not been fully implemented, and therefore, the majority of our green network is not protected.
What’s the different between a Greenbelt and Green Network?
A Greenbelt and Green Network are one in the same! Halifax Regional Municipality has chosen to call our greenbelt the Halifax Green Network. Both identify ecologically- and culturally-significant land, and change land use planning policies to protect this land. Both are used to protect the areas that are crucial to our human and non-human ecosystems, and to direct growth to the areas where we need it the most.
The Alliance was a key force building public interest in a plan for greenbelting in Halifax.
Many have said that without Our HRM Alliance’s firm advocacy, HRM would not have a greenbelting plan. During the process of the Green Network Plan’s creation the Alliance’s members contributed essential community knowledge and continued to build public awareness for the value of greenbelting and supporting complete communities. Now that the plan has been approved, Our HRM Alliance is committed to ensuring the plan is implemented in time to preserve our rich green network.
Learn More about the Halifax Green Network Plan
What needs to be done to protect the Halifax Green Network?
Protect important and essential wildlife corridors
Create a strategy and plan to fully protecting Halifax’s key wilderness areas
Refine our plans for how and where HRM grows
Right now, Halifax’s has identified 36 growth centres – areas for significant expansion and intensification. Multiple of these growth centres are located in areas that hold significant value in terms of biodiversity, wildlife habitat and corridors, recreation, and natural cultural value. If these growth centres are not removed from Halifax’s plans we will pave over opportunities that are impossible to get back.
Protecting the green network is one of Our HRM Alliances 7-solutions to a sustainable city. Read more about the 7-solutions.
Key urban wilderness areas
Benefits of Urban wilderness
Recreation and educational opportunities
Mental and Physical Health Benefits
Habitat and Connectivity for Wildlife
Economic Benefits from Tourism and Placemaking
The Halifax Green Network is made up of key wilderness areas and wildlife corridors that provide immense services to our communities. Many of these key wilderness areas are not yet protected. Without commitment and action, they will be lost.
Sandy Lake-Sackville River, Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes, and the Purcell’s Cove Backlands are among three of the Green Network’s key wilderness areas that need protection.
Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes
Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes sits in the communities of Timberlee, Clayton Park, and Bedford, holding native Acadian forests, wetlands and an inter-connected system of headwater lakes. Often described as a mini Kejimkujik National Park, it is a tremendous natural asset for a growing city. For nearly 20 years dozens of community groups and thousands of citizens we have stood against paving paradise and, instead, in support of creating a world-class wilderness park here.
Sandy Lake-Sackville River
Sandy Lake-Sackville River holds a magnificent expanse of old forest, lakes, wetlands and streams located between the thriving communities of Bedford, Sackville, Kingswood and Hammonds Plans. Protecting Sandy Lake-Sackville River would conserve old forests, 14 species-at-risk, the Sackville River floodplain and support a wide range of outdoor activities. The proposed Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park encompasses 2800 acres in total, with 1000 acres already under protection. Much of the remaining 1800 acres are under intense development pressure.
Purcell’s Cove Backlands
The Backlands, located only a few kilometers from peninsular Halifax, are a Thompsonesque urban wilderness of approximately 1350 hectares which include nine lakes, hills with spectacular views and dozens of kilometers of informal hiking and biking trails. The Backlands hold a globally rare jack pine/broom crowberry barrens. In 2018, Halifax Regional Municipality worked with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the community to protect a portion of the Backlands. However, a significant amount of the Backlands still needs protection.