Map shows Halifax green spaces in conflict with development zones

Halifax has spent more than a year working on a network of green corridors — but the Ecology Action Centre says there are more than a few problems with it.

Ecology Action Centre says green spaces overlap with zones that already allow development

Jenny Lugar, sustainable cities co-ordinator with the Ecology Action Centre, says Halifax should protect sites before planning development. (CBC)

An environmental advocacy organization in Halifax has created a map showing development conflicts with 75 per cent of the green spaces identified by municipal planners as important or critical.

Halifax has spent more than a year working on a network of green corridors. Its aim is to protect and manage open spaces over the long term while still promoting community development.

The manager in charge of the process calls it an "ecosystem" approach.

"We're not using a greenbelt approach," said Holly Richardson, a planner with the municipality. "It won't protect HRM's open-space diversity."

But the Ecology Action Centre said many of the corridors overlap with designated growth areas and zoning that already allows development, particularly near Hammonds Plains, Fall River and Porters Lake.

"Obviously we might not be able to preserve every single corridor, but 75 per cent highlights a big problem," said Jenny Lugar, the centre's sustainable cities co-ordinator.

'It's backwards'

Lugar applauded the research that has gone into identifying all the green spaces. But she said the information should be used to determine where development should not be allowed — and not just referenced during individual development proposals.

"It's backwards to do it like that," said Lugar. 

"You need to plan upfront for where you want to protect and then you plan for where you want to develop and grow."

Richardson insists once the green network plan is approved, it will gradually lead to changes.

"This plan is so complex and comprehensive that it will take multiple years to implement," said Richardson. 

"But it will give us the analysis to influence future planning amendments."

Final meetings

A final series of public meetings on the green network plan will be held this month and June. Planners expect to present a final draft of the plan by the fall.

  • May 15 from 6-8 p.m. at the NSCC Waterfront Campus Dartmouth 
  • May 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the Atlantica Hotel Halifax 
  • May 17 from 6-8 p.m. at Ecole Secondaire du Sommet Larry Uteck Boulevard
  • May 31 from 7-9 p.m. at Sir John A. MacDonald High School, Upper Tantallon
  • June 7 from 6-8 p.m. at the Bicentennial Theatre, Middle Musquodoboit
  • June 8 from 6-8 p.m. at the Lions Club, Sheet Harbour
  • June 12 from 6-8 p.m. at the Old School Community Gathering Place,  Musquodoboit Harbour

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca