The case for Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park goes to Halifax RP+10

Some of the Sandy Lake to Sackville River watercourse
that would be protected for conservation and recreation
by a Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park

The Halifax Regional Municipal Planning Strategy or the “Regional Plan” (RP), in a nutshell, “guides future development in the HRM and outlines how sustainable growth should take place.” View HRM Page for the Regional Plan

The first Regional Plan for the amalgamated HRM was produced in 2006 and “established policy for a 25-year horizon, from 2006-2031, with minor reviews expected every five years”.

The first review and update (RP+5) was initiated in 2011 and tabled in 2014. (By law, reviews must completed at least every 10 years.)

In 2019, HRM began the process for the next revision, RP+10. A final draft is planned by summer-fall of 2021. See Shape Your City for information about the review process.

On April 24, 2020, the Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park (SL-SRRP) Coalition made an initial submission to the Regional Plan. It includes a 64-page document + covering letter and 27 Appendices, available here.

Appendix G provides up-to-date
biodiversity info

The submission is a comprehensive review of the case for the proposed Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park. From the covering letter:

The submission has a background segment plus three request sections, each followed by supporting information and appendices in the usual place. We ask:

  1. That the SL-SRRP be expanded by additional 1,800 acres (see Map 1). The SL-SRRP boundary be researched in the RP+10 process so that new boundaries based on science are established to encompass all remaining essential watershed to be protected and managed as a regional park for all time. That would mean finding “win-win” solutions that serve both the community and present landowners needs.
  2. That the Halifax Green Network Plan (HGNP) be included in its entirety in the RP+10.
  3. That the requests in sections A, B, and C be addressed within the RP+10 review and implemented.

In their introduction to the documents, the SL-SRP Coalition notes (bolding mine):

Regional Plan Submission
To implement our vision of a full realized, ecologically healthy Regional Park at Sandy Lake and Sackville River, we need changes to the Regional Plan in Halifax Regional Municipality. The time to request changes is now (starting March 2020). Below is our group’s first submission to the stakeholder and public consultations on the Regional Plan review.

Of note: at least one developer has requested “secondary planning” for their land at Sandy Lake as a step in advancing their suburban development project next to Sandy Lake.

We encourage everyone who cares about Sandy Lake and Sackville River (and nature, and outdoor recreation, and sustainable cities) to create and send in their own regional plan review submission. You can also talk to city councillors, and candidates running for city council, about your views on a good future for Sandy Lake and Sackville River.


Some related documents & links

Halifax Regional Plan
“The current Regional Plan has been in effect since October 18, 2014. It establishes long-range, region-wide planning policies outlining where, when, and how future growth and development should take place between now and 2031.”

Halifax Green Network Plan
“The Halifax Green Network Plan (HGNP) defines an interconnected open space system for the municipality, highlights ecosystem functions and benefits, and outlines strategies to manage open space.”

Halifax Regional Municipality, NS an overview of development trends
Prepared by: Heidi Craswell, 2011. Prepared for the Suburbs Project , School of Planning, Dalhousie University, Principal Investigator: Dr. Jill L. Grant Now dated but still a useful overview of the Municipality and its development history.

Municipal Government Act (amended) and Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended)
BILL NO. 58 (as introduced) 2nd Session, 63rd General Assembly Nova Scotia 67 Elizabeth II, 2018 Government Bill

Sandy Lake Conservation Association (SLCA) (website)
This organization focusses specifically on Sandy Lake and Environs, working closely with the Sackville Rivers Association.

Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition
“The Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition has formed to support the efforts of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association and the Sackville Rivers Association to take care of unfinished business and protect the area that stretches from the Hammonds Plains Road to the Sackville River and encompasses the three lakes and several waterways within the Sackville River Watershed through the creation of the Sandy Lake Regional Park.”
View Pamphlet

Sackville Rivers Association (SRA) (website)
The Sandy Lake watershed is a subwatershed of the Sackville River watershed. The SRA is a highly active organization which works to
1) Protect and where necessary restore the environment of the Sackville River Watershed
2) Raise awareness about the environment of the Sackville River watershed and its adjacent watersheds
3) Establish a Conservation Corridor along the length of the Sackville River
4) Provide training and advice to community groups in other watersheds as needed, to restore the environment and raise environmental awareness

Our HRM Alliance
“Our HRM Alliance is a coalition on over 60 organizations from sectors as diverse as health, environment, trails, business, community growth, and transportation advocating for a sustainable future through greenbelting and complete communities.”

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