Some hiking enthusiasts in Halifax are worried a deal being hammered out in secret with a developer could shut them out from one of their favourite trails near the Bayers Lake business park.
Bruce Smith has been hiking in the area between Bayers Lake business park and Susie Lake since he was a child. But he's worried it could soon become home to yet another a big box store.
"If the plan goes ahead as they intend, they will cut one-half of this area off and destroy it," said Smith, of the North West Trails Association.
He is concerned about the 14.9 hectares of land that borders a provincially protected area called the Birch Cove Lakes - Blue Mountain Wilderness Area.
Construction will eventually block people's access to the area, he said.
Smith said the land is not only a natural trailhead to the wilderness area, but it also contains a granite plateau that would only be blown up and crushed if development goes ahead.
Halifax Regional Municipality spokeswoman Michaelyn Thompson said the city has hikers in mind.
"HRM, through the sale of this land, is ensuring public access as well as a main entrance to this regional park," she said.
But Smith said there's too much secrecy around the sale.
"It's public land that they're selling and the negotiations and the details of those plans are secret. They will not release them until the deal is signed," he said. "That's our issue. That terrifies us."
Smith is holding a public meeting about the issue on Sept. 13 at the Keshen Goodman Library.