The Sandy Lake -Sackville River Regional Park Coalition has sent three submissions to the city’s Regional Plan review (RP+10), one dated April 24 2020, one July 16 2021, and one dated October 24, 2023. Together they make up our full submission that gives historical and ecological information to substantiate our specific requests for changes in the Regional Plan’s direction regarding this area, but also for many aspects of value to the city as a whole.
To read the first two submissions go to: https://www.sandylakecoalition.ca/rpsubmission And the third at: https://sandylake.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/Sandy-Lake-SRRPCoalition-RPsubmission.pdf
To implement our vision of a fully realized, ecologically healthy Regional Park at Sandy Lake and Sackville River, we requested changes to the Regional Plan in Halifax Regional Municipality. Of note: at least one developer, Clayton Developments (Sandy Lake Holdings) requested “secondary planning” within the Regional Plan Review for their land at Sandy Lake. The city informed us they decided to peel the Clayton submission off from the Regional Plan Review and to process it separately.
However, within months, the Province announced a housing crisis and listed Sandy Lake, the Clayton controlled lands, as a Special Planning Area to be fast-tracked for housing. The Province now has the right to decide what happens to Sandy Lake.
It is as if the Halifax Green Network Plan didn’t happen. While, “environment” gets plenty of lip service it seems to be for some vague future time, not now. The Province wants ‘shovels in the ground’ at Sandy Lake in the spring of 2024.
It is going to take many citizen’s voices to save Sandy Lake. Our organization has put 10 years of hard work in front of the city and now the Province – evidence that we believe overwhelmingly shows the reasons for returning the entire ecological unit of Sandy Lake -Sackville River to its original position as a park. Instead, we are stunned to see that the Province seems to want ‘housing at all costs’. The costs will be grave for Sandy Lake Regional Park if it goes ahead.
At time of writing, November of 2023, we ask citizens and groups to please send letters and post lawn signs in support of saving Sandy Lake: https://www.sandylakecoalition.ca/copy-of-about
Circumstances change over time, and these reviews are for the purpose of reflecting changes needed in the Regional Plan.
To implement our vision of a fully 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.
Of note: at least one developer, Clayton Developments (Sandy Lake Holdings) has requested “secondary planning” for their land at Sandy Lake, and the city has informed us they will be making that decision within this review process. The city has the right to decide what happens.
However, at the time of writing this, August 4 2021, our meetings with city Regional Plan staff indicate that although the city may be “listening” to all of the parks organizations (including Purcells Cove Backlands, Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes and Sandy Lake) but they are not hearing and not acting upon what they are hearing. The Regional Plan’s focus remains development for housing. It is as if the Halifax Green Network Plan didn’t happen. While, “environment” gets plenty of lip service it seems to be for some vague future time, not now. This is dangerous because the public believes real change is happening.
We ask citizens and groups to please send to the city, to councillors and to the Regional Plan review, support for these submissions and for those of multiple environment-focused groups’ efforts – specifically for the Our HRM Alliance 65 organizations, for Purcell’s Cove Backlands, for Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes, and for Sandy Lake-Sackville River.
In your letters/communications please include the following points:
- That the city hire independent scientists to study the ecology of the Sandy Lake watershed to determine what park boundary will protect the park’s assets, and then expand the official boundary to match that need. This boundary assessment should include studies of wetlands, wildlife corridors and the Sandy Lake section of the Sackville River floodplain.
- That the city implement the full Halifax Green Network Plan the RP+10 and start using it. To “consider” what the HGNP says is not enough.
- That the city address the specific requests in our Coalition submissions that will benefit SL-SRRP and also those that will benefit all of the city. (For example, a tree-retention by-law to protect all city trees, and we need better handing of stormwater runoff.)
It is going to take many citizen’s voices to save Sandy Lake. Our organization has put 9 years of hard work in front of the city – evidence that we believe overwhelmingly shows the reasons for returning Sandy Lake -Sackville River to its original position as a park. Instead, we are stunned to see that even now the city plans to put housing on part of the essential watershed that used to be park land.
Citizens/groups please do talk to/email city councillors about your views on a good future for Sandy Lake and Sackville River.
A quick users guide for how the regional plan review can work for Sandy Lake -Sackville River Regional Park is found here.