The Halifax Green Network

Protecting what matters with growth that makes sense.

Backlands - Copyright Irwin Barrett

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

Mist on the Lake - Copyright Irwin Barrett
Swamp - Copyright Irwin Barrett

What needs to be done to protect the Halifax Green Network?

Protect important and essential wildlife corridors
This will occur through zoning these corridors so development cannot compromise them in Halifax’s Regional Plan and land-use plans.
Create a strategy and plan to fully protecting Halifax’s key wilderness areas
Halifax’s key wilderness areas, including Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes, Sandy Lake, and the Purcell’s Cove Backlands are providing huge benefits to our communities and ecosystems. None are fully protected, and the Municipality does not have a thorough plan in place in order to do so. With a strategy and direction to protect Halifax’s key wilderness areas, we will be able to strategically purchase and protect these places when the right opportunities.
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.

Recent Work

Key urban wilderness areas

Benefits of Urban wilderness

Recreation and educational opportunities

Recreation and educational opportunities

Mental and Physical Health Benefits

Mental and Physical Health Benefits

Habitat and Connectivity for Wildlife

Habitat and Connectivity for Wildlife

Climate Mitigation

Climate Mitigation

Urban Biodiversity

Urban Biodiversity

Economic Benefits from Tourism and Placemaking

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.

Take Action

Help us protect the Halifax Green Network for generations to come.

Take Action Now

© 2021 Our HRM Alliance | Photo Credits: Irwin Barrett & Cameron Edwards | Website by Windrose Web Design