TIME LINE of SANDY LAKE – SACKVILLE RIVER (Marsh/Jack Lakes) Regional Park
1971, April, P.B. Dean, Wildlife Biologist with the Canadian Wildlife Service entitled Natural Environment Survey: A Description of the Intrinsic Values in the Natural Environment around Greater Halifax –Dartmouth. Identified 7 important natural areas to preserve as Regional Parks.
1971, December, MAPC (Metropolitan Area Planning Committee) Recreation Work Group Report. A joint project of the Province and municipalities proposed 7 Regional Parks for Hfx-Dartmouth. (McNab Island, Long Lake, Chain Lake watershed, Hemlock Ravine, Marsh and Sandy Lakes, Sackville Flood Plain, Admiral Cove, Lake Williams & Lake Charles canal complex, Cole Harbour). Jack Lake area belonged to CMHC and was slated for a publicly-owned housing development.
1972, 7th Day Adventists purchased McLellan property for a school site. (Peninsula has old growth hemlock) 1972 MAPC Water Quality Survey for Selected Metropolitan Lakes. Description of lake and water quality.
1973, Peerless Subdivision and Atlantic Acres Business Park are begun. Verge’s Marsh at base of Bluewater Road is infilled. Area still floods the road.
Mrs. Pender (Pender sawmills) offered gift of 500 acres west of Sandy Lake if the park would be named in her late husband’s honour. Ira Settle, County Warden, reportedly wanted the taxes from the Twin City Dairy’s proposed move to Sandy Lake instead. (changed to Farmers Dairy Co-op, now Agropur) (These lands eventually became Armoyan/Clayton lands)
1974, Twin Cities Dairy clear-cut the 50 acres the plant now sits on and created the huge infill necessary to build the road from Hammonds Plains Road. This infill turned the lake deeply muddy for at least two years. (Secci disc readings rarely showed water visibility deeper than 18 inches.) There were two large pipes installed—one to pump water up to the dairy from the lake for use in processing and the other to dump the foul water back into the lake after cleaning the processing tanks. This would have flooded the lake and Sackville River with milky water. Concerned landowners on and near the lake formed the Sandy Lake Area Ratepayers Association (SLARA) and began press coverage, published a newsletter, and hired ecologists from Dalhousie Biology to study the effects of the road construction over the brook and the proposed pumping of waste into the waterway. These efforts coincided with a general dawning of public awareness regarding the environment and, in the end the dairy curtailed the planned pumping of watery waste into the lake and established holding/treatment ponds. When the enormity of the long-term effects of their actions surfaced, the dairy readily modified their plans to accommodate best practices of the day and are good corporate neighbours ever since.
1974, 7th Day Adventists’ school opens.
1975, A Halifax landfill was proposed for 110 acres of Jack Lake lands. Two years of public protest stopped it. So, Jack Lake area (owned by CMHC) was slated for a public residential development.
1975 Halifax-Dartmouth Regional Development Plan. The parks were embedded in the Regional Plan. It defines and separates regional parks and development areas and has a map of the region, including the same 7 proposed regional parks: Hemlock Ravine, Schubenacadie Canal system, McNab’s island, Admirals Cove, Cole Harbour/Lawrencetown Beach, Long Lake/Chain Lake, and the Marsh and Sandy Lakes, Sackville Flood Plain.
1976, Twin Cities Dairy moves from Windsor St. Built between 1974 – 1976. (Farmer’s Co-operative Dairy Limited was created in 1983) As mentioned, the plan to dump dairy residue into the lake is stopped by lake residents, but the large pipe is still there. Two treatment ponds are built along the dairy road.
1976, Water for Twin Cities Dairy goes to the dairy as part of Peerless Subdivision construction.
1979, Bedford becomes a town (Mayor Francene Cosman 1979-1982, Keith Roberts 1982-88, Peter Christie 1988-91, Peter Kelly 1991-95. HRM amalgamation April 1996)
During the building of the dairy, one result of the increased awareness of the uniqueness of Sandy Lake and area was the realization that the shoreline and woodlands surrounding the lake still remained, for the most part, untouched. To try and protect this recreational potential from development Bedford Mayor Francine Cosman made presentations to the city and the province to support protecting Sandy Lake as a regional park. Eventually, the effort did not succeed.
Thus, to preserve the area from development in hopes that a park plan would evolve eventually the idea came up to impose restricted zoning whereby any new construction would only be considered for approval if it were on a minimum 5-acre lot on a publicly serviced road that were serviced before October 9, 1991. (1982 bylaws.) This has protected the lake from development ever since (until recently, when developers begin purchasing). After this, Bedford purchased land around Sandy Lake toward this future park purpose. (examples: see 1985, July 22, purchase of 236 acres, and 1992, 6 acres deeded from Farmers Dairy specifically for public parkland, plus map from 2013 Municipal Planning Strategy for Bedford.)
1979, July, Hfx Dart MAPC Regional Parks Report, by Parks Advisory Group, identifies 7 proposed Regional Parks – the same as in 1971 but with more detail (including a conceptual plan for what activities would be suitable where) and Marsh and Sandy Lakes, Sackville Flood Plain park name changed to Sackville River Regional Park. It includes Sandy, Marsh and Sackville river corridor as before, but with a protective buffer around the area. Also, the boundaries and conceptual maps contain half of Jack Lake as part of the buffer area.
1981, August, Sandy Lake Ratepayers Association forms. (D Sarty, Grantor…)
1981, Aug 24, Bedford Town Council minutes: Residents group formed to consider park boundaries issues around lake residents’ land. Minutes acknowledge need for improved communications between NS Dept. of Municipal affairs, Bedford, and lake residents. Lake residents concerned that no one was answering their questions, such as, “If my property is within the park boundary can I will it to my heirs?”
1981, Oct 19, public meeting on Regional Park boundaries. Some lake residents voiced concerns over losing control over their property rights if their land falls within the park boundary. Meeting was recorded. Residents reported their questions were never answered.
1981, Oct 26, Bedford Town Council minutes: Report on public meeting, decision to create a typed transcript of it, councillor frustrated at the length of time it is taking to settle this Regional Park issue. Mayor to request from Municipal Affairs asking what action is planned since the public meeting.
1981, Dec. 14, Bedford Town Council minutes: Twin Cities Dairy is removed from the proposed park boundary.
1982, Jan 11, Bedford Town Council minutes: another request to go from Mayor to request from Municipal Affairs asking what action is planned since the public meeting.
1982, Jan 18, Public hearings for proposed Municipal Development Plan. Pender lawyer proposes the Pender land be acquired for the park, this time requests town and province take steps to reimburse Mrs. Pender for her lands lying within the proposed park, or rezone for industrial. CMHC requests Jack Lake lands remain outside new Secondary Development Plan as they plan to develop them as first-class residential. Giles family requests their lands be left outside park boundary and voices opposition about the new zoning regulation for RR (5 acres on public road, with road built prior to October 9, 1991). Authorities clarify there is no plan to expropriate lands for the park. Sandy Lake Ratepayers Assoc. (Granter) expresses concerns about future control of pollution and lake protection.
1982, March 9, Special town Council. Report on Public Hearing on Sandy Lake Regional Park. Same as at proposed Municipal Dev. Plan hearing, except that Prof. Granter of SL Ratepayers Assoc. said members of this lake association accept the principle of their properties being inside the park boundary. They would like the right to bequeath to next of kin, right to sell at market value, opportunity to negotiate access roads, assurance that they will not be harassed to sell at any time. (These were also outlined in the group’s briefs of Aug 1981 and Oct 1981) Municipal affairs had not communicated with the town yet. Councillor Legree said Sackville River Assoc suggests changing the park to McCabe and Webber Lakes. The minutes are hard to understand, but it looks like a motion to rezone the Sandy Lake park lands away from P (park) to Secondary Development passed. (There is an amendment map inserted in the 1982 Zoning Bylaws and Municipal Development Plan showing the Sandy Lake, Marsh and Sackville river corridor were all changed from P-1 Park to SDA Secondary Development Area). Submission from Academy: the school did not mind being within the park. Passed motion to remove Giles and Brown property from park boundary on Town’s Regional park plan and request that Province do the same from their Regional Park plan. In discussion: Is Town still interested in having a Regional Park if Province still wants to proceed, now that the town rezoned the lands?
1982, Aug, 16, Bedford Town Council minutes: Province chooses to keep park boundaries etc. as originally outlined. Giles and Brown families’ position is “the same as it has been for the past 7 years”. Motion passes to ask Province to approve Municipal Plan with the boundary amendments, plus.
1982 September Town Council passes Zoning Bylaws and Municipal Development Plan. Sandy Lake area changed from Park to Secondary Development Area (SDA, or urban Settlement = no permit to build unless five acres on a public road that existed prior to Oct 9, 1991. Also see 2016 Halifax land use Bylaw Bedford). (Unclear why it also appears as being passed in Sept 1983. See below) In a way, this zoning has protected the lake from development ever since because it prevented in-fill. The community believed this to be a solution to protect the lake. However, the change in zoning opened the area up to interest from developers for future larger housing development.
1982 (Date unclear) Halifax-Dartmouth Regional Development Plan states concerns about urban sprawl, and a shift from “development at any cost” toward quality of life. Metro is not harmed by industrial revolution, has clean lakes and clean air. Page 20-21 describes Regional Parks using similar descriptive words as in the 2014 RP. The seven proposed regional parks are again listed, along with several minor parks. Text lists “Flood plain around Sandy Lake, Marsh Lake, and the Sackville River”, and maps show its Regional Park designation. However, one map, an amendment map, shows them as Amended Urban Mix designation. Contains Planning Act Statutes of 1969 and amendments of 1975.
1982, Sept 29, Special Session Bedford Town Council minutes: SL Ratepayers Assoc (D. Sarty and Grantor, established 1981, 50 members, with goal to establish landowner rights within the park and environmental concerns, and thanks Town for their efforts to work with the Province over boundaries.)
1983, March 28, Changes in the Planning Act; Province removes the Regional Park designation. Withdraws from regional park-creating plan city-wide.
1983, Sept 26. Mayor Cosman champions the park idea still. As begun in 1982, to preserve the area from development in hopes that a park plan would evolve eventually, the zoning bylaw was passed to restrict any new construction to a minimum 5-acre lot on a publicly serviced road that exists prior to Oct 9, 1991. This zoning has protected the lake from in-fill development ever since. Bedford continued to purchase land around Sandy Lake toward this future park purpose. (examples: see 1985, July 22, town and Province jointly funded purchase of 236 acres, and 1992, 6 acres deeded from Farmers Dairy specifically for public parkland, plus attached map from 2013 Municipal Planning Strategy for Bedford.)
1983, Water quality study of Sandy Lake. (seeking this document)
1883, Sept 26, Town is proceeding with a Detailed Area Study of Sandy Lake area and will stay in touch with SL Ratepayers Assoc.
1985, July 22, Bedford Town Council minutes: Proposes purchase of land at Sandy Lake and Admirals Cove Park. 50/50 Province and Town purchase $700,000 worth of land from McCulloch and Co. 236 acres for Sandy Lake (where?), 61 at Admirals Cove Park.
1986, June 23, Bedford Town Council minutes: Prof. Granter requests rezoning a piece as public road to develop his property. It is sent on to staff for consideration.
1986, Sept., Jack Lake Environmental Evaluation Final Report. CMHC and NS Dept. of Housing. Preparation for housing development on Jack Lake land assembly. Refers multiple times to the coming Sandy Lake Regional Park and also refers to it as “the Town’s park land on Sandy Lake” (included Sandy and Marsh and Sackville River) They did flora and fauna studies of Jack Lake area. Contains extensive recommendations on how to mitigate environmental damage when doing the Jack Lake housing development.
1986, October 20, Bedford Town Council minutes: Granter applies to develop his 5 acres on Sandy Lake. It is not on public road. Council denies motion to change that bylaw and denies the application for subdivision.
~1986 CMHC gives ~ 1000 acres around Jack Lake to the province. The public housing development apparently did not happen largely because of the need for 2 expensive highway interchanges and for detailed mitigations to prevent environmental damage to Jack, Sandy, and Marsh lakes.
1987 Aug news clip park boundaries amendments coming
1987 Oct news clip Oct park boundaries public meeting. (3 hours, ending in a councillor’s suggestion to remove Sandy Lake from the Regional Parks plan, that the town would be better off negotiating with CMHC and NS Housing Commission than having province buy out residents of Giles Rd. This is confusing – didn’t the 1982 similar disagreements at public meetings already remove Sandy Lake at the town council level? Need clarification.)
1988, Feb 29, Bedford Town Council minutes: 7th Day Adventist Lands, Sandy Lake MPS plan amendment to hold public meeting re a plan to change Regional Park Designation of the church owned lands on the Generalized Future Land use Map to Secondary Development Area and to include special care facilities on the area.
1988, May 16 Bedford Town Council minutes: Changes to 7th Day Adventist Lands approved. Mention of a Sandy Lake Park plan which may be the newly anticipated Lions Club Beach Park.
1988, Sept 19, Bedford Town Council minutes: 7th Day Adventist church (49 acres) receives its development designation in return for access to the new Sandy Lake Park (Lions Club) and green buffers.
Over the 1990’s Kingswood South was developed below Hammonds Plains road. (Kingswood North developed ~2006- 2010)
1990, April 23, Reconvened session Bedford Town Council minutes: Recreation Advisory Commission requests
“environmental study of the Sandy Lake watershed area” before use of the Bluewater Lot is developed. And change Lot 1-E from park to Industrial. No decision.
1990, August 14, Sandy Lake Area Residents Association requests Town to request Dept. of Environment to examine situation prior to Town issuing permit to business suspected to cause potential environmental problems. Invalid.
1992, March 9, 6 acres including roadway and underground pipe to lake are gifted from Farmers dairy to Bedford with a covenant requiring that the land only be used for public parkland. There are to be no buildings on it, and there is to be no travel over the lands or parking or motor vehicles of any kind.
1994, Nov. 22, Bedford Town Council minutes: $8,000 to $10,000 approved for survey of Smith’s Road for Lions Park.
1994, Rhea Dawn Mahar thesis, Towards the Identification of Environmentally Sensitive Areas for Environmental Management: A Case Study in the Sackville River Watershed, Nova Scotia. Sandy Lake is rated as the second most valuable Environmentally Sensitive Area between Bedford Basin and Mt Uniacke. The Sackville River quarry 4th.
1995, April 11, Bedford Town Council minutes: Tender call of Topographic and Boundary survey for Lions Club Park.
1995, Sandy Lake Vegetation Survey and Trail Design, for the Town of Bedford to aid in and complete the trail design and layout for the area, conducted in April by Basic Elements Ecological Enterprises. (seeking this document)
1996 April, Halifax Amalgamation
Late 1990’s prison proposal. Province kept 50 acres when 1000 Jack Lake acres were turned over to the municipality. (for proposed prison, community learned later). Date is unclear when a Forensic prison slated for Jack Lake lands. 50 acres were cleared. Bedford public protests so prison went to Burnside. Province gave Jack Lake lands to city for park. See 2006 for Jack Lake lands becoming park in RP.
2001, March 22, HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Approval of phase 1 of Lions Club Park. (roadway, parking. Phase 2 will be washrooms) Promised Sandy Lake Area Residents Association (SLARA) a public hearing. Katharine Mott from SLARA thanked them for comprehensive review to date and promised hearing. Lions voiced concerns since they have been working on this since 1986. Public meeting will go ahead. Walter Regan/SRA supports full environmental study.
2001-2002, 6 reports by Dalhousie University DalTech and NSCAD Environmental Planning (for new Sandy Lake Watershed Association – SLWA):
- Issues of Urban and Rural Fringe
- Sandy Lake Community Profile
- Suggestions for managing Development
- Environmental Inventory of Sandy Lake, Marsh Lake and Jack Lake
- “A Water Quality Analysis”, Dalhousie team under Dr. Bill Hart
- Policy Review and Recommendations (document location unknown)
Also, SLWA works successfully to protect the lake and wildlife from possible harm: Prevent the adding of sand to the shoreline at the new Lion’s Club park’s sand beach expansion and prevents destruction of protective berm along beach, prevents motorized boat launch, prevents cutting of large area of old growth Acadian forest for septic field by successfully proposing Park’s Canada trailhead toilet system.
2004 Bedford municipal Planning Environmental policies ~2004 Town of Bedford Municipal Planning Strategy Environmental Policies:
It shall be the intention of Town Council to identify the Sackville River as a conservation corridor because of its importance as a salmon fish habitat and its significance as a natural amenity to the community, and to work towards improving the quality of water in the Sackville River, in cooperation with appropriate agencies.
Regional Watersheds Policy E-l9:
It shall be the intention of Town Council to enter into an inter-municipal planning strategy or to seek coordination of municipal planning strategy policies with adjacent municipalities in order to establish site construction and land use practice standards within regional watersheds, specifically the Sackville River, Kearney Lake, Sandy Lake, Rocky Lake, Marsh Lank, Paper Mill Lake and Anderson Lake watersheds, to protect regional water resources.
It shall be the intention of Town Council upon the adoption of this plan to undertake an in-depth environmental study of the Sandy Lake watershed which will include input from the N.S. Department of Environment as well as area residents,
and shall examine present water quality, watershed land use practices increased rates of sedimentation, and the development of a recovery and protection program for Sandy Lake if warranted by the study.”
2004 Bedford West development Subwatershed Management Plan
2006 First Regional Plan. Sandy Lake listed as urban settlement area. Successful lobby to make the newly traded 1000 acres of Jack Lake lands a Regional Park. Still listed so today, but not being managed as an active park.
2006-2010 Kingswood North is built west of Sandy Lake.
Developers submit applications for developing Sandy Lake west. CBCL Cost of Servicing Study requested.
Oversized sewer pipe proposal by developer. (RP still calls for park at SL, so community unaware of all.)
2011 HRM Municipal Strategy, with 1996 amendments: Despite the 1983 changes to the province’s regional park designation plan, “Town council shall continue working towards the establishment of major town parks at Admiral’s Cove, Sandy Lake, and within the Waterfront Development Area (Policy P-6. Policies P-8 and P-9 indicate Town Council’s intentions to designate future parkland within the Jack lake assembly as per the concept plan contained in the 1986 Jack Lake Environmental Evaluation Final Report and any updated report or revised concept plan…” p.126
“With changes in the Planning Act in 1983, which eliminated the provision for regional park designations, the focus of the Town became to acquire large parcels of unique sites in the Town which had been identified as future regional parks. Efforts were directed to acquiring lands in the Sandy Lake area and in Admiral’s Cove. While interest still remains in acquiring parcels of land in these areas, the future development of existing open space is now seen as a higher priority than the acquisition of additional open space. Exceptions to this would be land acquired in relation to subdivision development, land for neighbourhood parks, specialized land for linkages or unique sites, and Sandy Lake.” P.128
“To provide funding for the development of parkland, the second Town Council adopted a policy which provided for the
establishment of a special capital reserve fund. …one quarter of the deed transfer tax shall be placed in the capital section of a special reserve fund.” P.128
Note that p. 125 states, “Residential growth demands and Paper Mill Lake environmental concerns dictate that Sandy
Lake should be developed within the next several years.” (Confusing: This could be easily misunderstood to mean “developed” for housing, but the heading for this section is “PARKS & RECREATION”)
~ 2012/2013, the city gives Sobeys/Crombie 50 acres of the Jack Lake lands (~across from the BMO) as a trade to protect Morris Pond. Park land traded to protect other park land. Community unaware.
2012, July 3, Council agrees to $2.1 million financing deal for enlarged sewer line for future Armco suburban development at sandy Lake. Council votes 17-6 in favour. Armco will pay $1million. Originally Armco was willing to pay all or almost all in exchange for no environmental requirements and no public process in their proposed Sandy Lake
development. A memorandum of Understanding was made between Armco and Halifax Water for Armco to contribute
$1mil of the $3.1mil estimated cost of upsizing the wastewater pipes of Bedford West to accommodate possible future development at Sandy Lake. Item 5 of the MOU states, “Armco shall make the above-noted upfront payment recognizing and accepting that the decision to approve a secondary planning strategy for all or a portion of the Sandy Lake lands is ultimately in the sole discretion of HRM Regional Council.” Community is unaware of all this.
July 3, Council Report, Wastewater Oversizing for Future Development of Sandy Lake Lands. “HRM is not a party to the proposed Armco-HWRD contract. As such, the terms and conditions do not commit a future council to any planning approvals in either Bedford West or the Sandy Lake lands.” p.1
2012 order for Sandy Lake Watershed Study (Current Sandy Lake Conservation Association not in existence yet. Community unaware of many things happening because no one knew the previous organization members had either moved away or retired from 30+ years of working to protect the lake.)
2013 June to August, Armco clear cuts trees off 300 acres Sandy Lake west without forestry or development approval. Originally it was thought to be 200 acres.
2013 July – Aug. SLCA forms, and contacts Armco multiple times, meets with Councillor, MLA, SRA/Walter Regan… Fact finding re: regulations regarding tree cutting on private land (virtually none, although other cities do have tree-
protection bylaws), learn Sandy Lake Regional Park had fallen “off the table”, and that previous SL community groups had been inactive for some time. Councillor Outhit has no knowledge that a regional park was ever planned for this area and says no staff he has talked to recall any such plan. SLCA directs him to older staff for confirmation, and SLCA finds excitement among them at the prospect that this special area may still be protected.
2013 July, D Donnelly, Our HRM Alliance Compensation Opinion. Legal opinion – landowners who buy land on spec have
no legal right to expect compensation if it doesn’t work out. (SLCA unaware of this until 2016)
2013 July 10, Sandy Lake Conservation Assoc. (SLCA) attend Goetz Brook RP+5 open house. Learn Sandy Lake zoned Urban Settlement since 2006 Regional Plan. Learn that staff and community advisory committee reps believe landowners at Sandy Lake want housing development of the lake (!) (“Landowners” = developers who own land there. No one was asking other landowners’ opinion.)
2013 Aug 22, Last resort community protest at roadside to stop tree cutting. (Citizens from Granter Rd, Hammonds Plains Rd, Farmers Dairy Lane, Giles Road, Councillor Matt Whitman, and EAC. Media coverage.)
2013 Sept 19, SLCA meets with Armoyan who agrees to “stoppage and cleanup”. Offers residents to be on selection committee for in company chosen to design development, will work together. (More trees were cut in the “clean-up”. Isolated stands were removed to community’s dismay, but not close to the lake at least.)
2014 RP+5. Sandy Lake, Marsh Lake, Sackville River still Urban Settlement. Jack Lake is open space, regional park. The new regional plan has changed from all previous ones. The development portion of the plan is heading toward allowing development on lands outside the Jack Lake regional park boundaries. Intent is stated to determine new boundaries for Jack Lake Regional Park. The parks section of the Regional Plan still states lands to be acquired for park at Sandy Lake.
2014 Nov. AECOM Sandy Lake Watershed study final version.
SLCA formal response to AECOM Watershed report with professional assistance by Dalhousie professor/researcher.
2014, Nov 17 NW Community Council, SLCA and community submit petition for park reinstatement. NWCC decision directs the community to include the subject of the petition in the greenbelt process.
2015, January, Halifax Municipal Strategy for Bedford. The wording is exactly the same as in 2011 version, but the pages are 122-125. “…shall continue working towards the establishment of major parks at Admiral’s Cove, Sandy Lake, and within the Waterfront Development Area (Policy P-6)” …Policies P-8 and P-9 indicate Town Council’s intentions to
designate future parkland within the Jack Lake assembly…”
…” the future development of existing open space is now seen as a higher priority than the acquisition of additional open space. Exceptions to this would be land acquired in relation to subdivision development, land for neighbourhood parks, specialized land for linkages or unique sites, and Sandy Lake.”
Stated RP goals for a park in Sandy Lake area are different from the RP’s development goals. There is a conflict.
2015, Feb. AECOM Watershed Study of Sandy Lake accepted by NW Comm Council. SLAC report is later added to the HRM website with AECOM report.
2015, Aug, proposal for purchase of 160 acres Armco land beside Marsh Lake. Deferred.
2015 Oct HRM purchase of 160 acres from Armoyan. Strong proposal from staff for Sandy Lake, Marsh Lake, Jack Lake and part of Sackville river to be reserved for park. Developers lands west of Sandy Lake are not included in the staff conceptual map, and private residents’ properties are also excluded from park area. “In keeping with the Regional Plan, the Marsh Lake lands are highly desired for regional park purposes…At the September 15, 2014 meeting of North West Community Council, a petition was received from the Sandy Lake Conservation Association supporting that the municipality expand the park lands surrounding Marsh Lake and Sandy Lake to create a regional park and wilderness area. Staff responded with an Information report to Community Council indicating that planning and land acquisitions for the Regional Park were continuing…This land will serve as a positive move to protect and preserve high value ecological lands associated with the Sackville River Corridor.” (Item No. 8.1 Halifax Regional Council, Oct 6, 2015)
2015, Our HRM Alliance, Sandy Lake part of Hike the Greenbelt program, blog post.
2015 Armco sells west Sandy Lake ~550 acres (including clear cut 300 acres) to Clayton Developments who begins land- banking in the area. SLCA discouraged from meeting with Clayton by Councillor Outhit. No reason given.
2016, Feb, Groups session with O2 on Green Network study. Community is concerned that Sandy Lake and area is not yet “on the map” of various GN value maps.
SLCA sends detailed follow-up letter to O2 and city planning department, and it is well received. They appear to now have an interest in this area. The Province’s environment maps are known to be very poor.
2016, March, O2 public meeting, unveils Green Network study. A city parks staff person showed SLCA members on map 23 that Sandy Lake has a high value now as one of few natural links for “connectivity” of the Chebucto Peninsula to the rest of NS, in particular to Pockwock region. Connectivity of the Chebucto Peninsula is a priority in green network
plan. Staff person says that the barriers from Hammonds Plains Rd and Kearney Lake Rd “pose a problem, but staff is interested in exploring options”.
Nov 13, 2016 SLCA met w Richard Harvey and Councillor Outhit. RH very interested. Calls Sandy Lake “Unfinished business.” Asked for all the historical documents we can provide and also our top #1 and #2 option maps for our envisioned park.
2016 Bedford Land Use Bylaw (1983 5-acre Bylaw that to build must have 5 acres on road that was publicly serviced by Oct 1991 is the ongoing bylaw.) Also, archaeological sites identified on west Sandy Lake lands (Clayton lands).
2016 Sandy Lake championed by Our HRM Alliance as one of 3 top areas to be preserved, along with Purcell’s Cove
Backlands and Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes.
2017, March 10, SLCA sends detailed historical reports from the 1971 Dean Report-on to Richard Harvey as requested. Also, the SLCA Map A and Map B options for regional park expansion.
2017, April SLCA and SRA write formal request for park, including Request/Ask map, and arranges meetings with NW Comm Council members. But cancel when Councillor Outhit asks SLCA to give him a couple weeks to review the request documents. SLCA plans stall after no response comes.
2017, June Dr. David Patriquin begins visiting/documenting Sandy Lake and environs. Dr. P expressed being too busy for two years to look at SL, but would take a quick look that week end. He expressed being “gobsmacked” by what he found, and returned 27 times that summer/fall with various experts (water, old forest, lichen, fungus experts, etc) His surveys continue to date – 2020.
2017, June, Clarence Stevens conducts extensive review of birds. Finds species list virtually unchanged from the past. Rich wildlife. Even Barred Owls and Oven Birds in the forest. Reported moose tracks.
2017, June 12, Sandy Lake Conservation Association and Sackville Rivers Association send joint submission to the Halifax Green Network Plan implementation public process.
2017, October, Drone footage taken of Sandy Lake and area by Skyline Studios.
2017 – 2018 SLCA and SRA begin creating Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition. The Turtle Patrol and Halifax Field Naturalists and Agropur Dairy are the first to join. Sandy Lake is one of only 3 lakes in HRM that still have snapping turtles of the 22 that traditionally had them. K Robinson and D Patriquin elected Coalition co-chairs.
2017 – 2018 Exit 3 is upgraded to help relieve traffic on the Hammonds Plains Road. Community learned later that Clayton and Armour Group paid for the design and the Province paid for the construction.
January 12, 2018, follow up meeting w Richard Harvey and Councillor Outhit. Ben Sivak attended as new Green Network Plan head. No progress evident since meeting of Nov 2016, despite the comment that the historical and scientific reports and information we provided since that meeting were extremely valuable. SLCA had lost ground because city
didn’t pursue the cottage lot that came up for sale, and also didn’t tell us they weren’t. So, we had no chance to buy it ourselves.
January 17, 2018 HRM releases 2018-19 multi-year parks and Recreation acquisition report. Sandy Lake is not in it. Why?
January 22, 2018 SLCA president sends letter to Mayor and Council praising them for BMBCL announcement.
January 28, 2018 SLCA Park Committee letter to Mayor and Council backing and expanding on SLCA president’s letter of support for the BMBCL purchase, and stating our Sandy Lake park request, providing initial information and requesting their support for this park expansion as well. Need to gain attention for parks and Recreation acquisition budget.
March 7, 2018 Op-Ed article in Chronicle Herald: Green Network Plan Op-Ed featuring Sandy Lake. Two days later Councillor Outhit (CO) calls SLCA Park Committee Chair/one of article’s authors. CO very angry at article, yelling. Clayton had seen article and contacted him about their plans to build – CO asserts secondary planning application is now coming 2 years earlier than planned. CO asserts this article ruins his (never-before-expressed to any in SLCA) plan to wait quietly and hope that so many restrictions would be placed on the development that the developer would decide not to build. Why was SLCA not informed of this plan before in meetings since 2013? SLCA keeps being told to do nothing, to wait.
April 22, 2018 Earth Day launch of Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition (SLRPC) at walk guided by Bob Guscott. (Three councillors attended: Craig, Outhit, Whitman. Ms. Blackburn sent regrets over conflicting events)
June 1, 2018 SLCA first meeting with Clayton reps Kevin Neatt and Richard Butts. Mr. Butts “not thrilled” to be faced with doing this for another community, but is willing to work with us and the city to protect the lake/park by trading for other developable lands. Wishes we’d met with them sooner, but at least they are still in the paper stage. Suggests we get organized, find a champion in city hall, get city support, find a win-win with them all. Until then, Clayton will proceed with plans to develop.
June 15, 2018 KR/SLCA sends email summary of meeting with Clayton to local councillors and requests support. Councillor Outhit responds with an email: “I will remain your contact with HRM Council, Development, Parks, and Park Planning. There is no role for my Community Council colleagues at this time, but it is going to be a very long, frustrating and of possibly expensive process. Your association has my support for its vision to expand the existing park, but some of your actions have already made my role more difficult and also have resulted in Clayton expediting their requests for Secondary Planning. Clayton has made it very clear to me and to HRM that they are not a willing seller of their land. HRM will soon make it clear that it will not trade one piece of park land for another piece of park land. In my opinion, we are potentially at an impasse that will require a lengthy period of negotiation, creativity and planning. When appropriate, I will update my colleagues, and I will continually update you and the group.” This went to SLCA, local councillors and both Clayton reps. SLCA at a loss for what to do now.
(Note: In all of this, the SLCA reps are: a chartered accountant, a respected businessman and president of NS Salmon Association, a CEO of a national charity and consultant to provincial and federal governments, and a former NS Deputy Minister of Tourism and one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women in 2014.)
June, 2018 Halifax Green Network Plan is released. Sandy Lake identified w at least 3 important wildlife corridors that link the mainland to the Chebucto Peninsula. It is also important to the health of the Sackville River system. However, it is an area of overlapping values. That is, it is a valuable ecological area that is also slated for housing development.
June, 2018 SLCA pamphlet released
June, 2018 HRM Flooding Study (National Disaster Mitigation Program) Base of Bluewater Road is one of three areas listed as needing mitigation for significant flooding.
August 14, 2018 Halifax Green Network Plan is passed unanimously by Halifax City Council
August 14, 2018 Sackville River Floodplain Study Phase 2: W. Alexander replies to question that the city must not be planning to develop Sandy Lake area for 100 years because it was not included in the scope of this study.
September 17, 2018, SLCA and Councillor Outhit chance meeting at BMO centre. SLCA is poised to meet with lake landowners to identify possible sellers. CO proposes a coordinated approach – wait. First time SLCA learns Clayton had asked to trade Jack Lake lands for Sandy Lake lands. (We learn later, in December, they had sent a letter to the city months before SLCA met with them. It was not mentioned in our meeting with them.) We agree with CO it is not right to “trade parkland for parkland”. He says again that the city “can’t buy land that is not for sale”, which is puzzling since SLCA knows Clayton does not want to sell. We need the city to look for a trade though. We explain Clayton told us not to expect to hear them say publicly what they advised us to do in our meeting, but is willing to trade.
Twice CO said for us to do what we think we should and he will do what he thinks he should do, and we will stay in communication.
October 16-18 2018 In-camera report requested and passed in Council – SLCA has no details, but to expect result in February 2019. SLCA grateful to CO who also requests this be kept to ourselves until it comes out in February.
October 23 2018, SLCA and Clayton set a second meeting date for Nov 1 or 2nd. Unexpected SLCA family events, reschedule.
Oct 23 to Nov 5 SLCA and RH, CO and city staff resolve issues over hunters and hunting blind photographed by SLCA member in Marsh Lake area. City posts signs alerting hunters where parkland starts. They are allowed to hunt on private land but cannot carry a gun across park land. SLCA posts signs at park entrances “Caution: Hunters in the Area”
Nov 5, 2018 to 23rd Neatt and KR emailed questions and answers. Reconfirmed Clayton does not want to sell and are willing to trade. They have not identified any land they are interested in other than original Jack Lake request. It is up to the city to present options.
November 2018, Richard Harvey confirms the city’s currently-owned areas at Sandy/Jack/Marsh lakes are all designated park land, including the newly acquired 160 acres. Also, he clarifies PID questions, Marsh Lake is owned by CMHC and the prison area is likely owned by the province.
November 12, 2018, Karen and Councillor Outhit meeting at Sunnyside to exchange details of SLCA/Clayton meeting, reasons for SLCA 1000-acre request (Watershed fragility, Green Network connectivity, natural recreation, plus), to clear up misunderstandings, and chart a way forward. CO repeats he can’t buy land that isn’t for sale. K restates Clayton is willing to trade and asks will he request staff to look for possible trades/options? No, he will not ask staff to look for land trades for 3 years. (why 3 years?) “You won’t get 1000 acres”. Did not appear to realize it is a regional park request, that two of 4 other NWCC councillors also have territory in the proposed regional park. Will read the GNP information K left with him. SLCA is to do as we see fit and he will proceed his way. It was a positive exchange and will work to communicate better and coordinate.
November 20, 2018, SLCA attempted setting another meeting date w Clayton. Was offered Dec 14th. Snafu again within SLCA. canceled attempt. Plan to meet January. Kevin Neatt reconfirmed they are still willing to trade. They have acquired nearly 600 acres and more coming. They have no need to identify possible trades but have not applied for secondary planning.
November 23, 2018, Our HRM Alliance meeting to plan action to have Green Network Plan implemented by city. Sandy Lake still one of top 3 areas to be protected. Competing layers of value leave it vulnerable but the wildlife corridors for connectivity to Chebucto Peninsula and Sackville River corridor are strong.
December 11, 2018, Sandy Lake Regional Park Coalition Steering Committee (now with 18 group members including Agropur, and with several more unofficially partnering, and more coming) meets to organize.
December 17, 2018, CO informs us of letter from Director of Planning to SL developers (Clayton only or all?) saying the city sees no need for more housing at Sandy Lake for at least another 15 years. SLCA not allowed to see the letter’s wording or to whom it went – SLCA shocked at being accused of not believing CO that the letter exists.
January 21, 2019 Coalition sends letter to Mayor and Council requesting that part of the $7million allocated in the budget for park land acquisition be spent to acquire land at Sandy Lake/Sackville River park. Also reintroduces the rationale for protecting this area for all time.
January 21, 2019 Coalition requests meeting w Mayor Savage. April 24th selected. Mayor’s office invites CO who invites R Harvey and Director of Planning. Coalition requests the other councillors with jurisdiction also be included. Request declined. Coalition asks CO to have them included. Request declined.
February 13: Phone meeting between K Neatt of Clayton and KR as rep of SLCA/Coalition. Misconceptions dispelled. Neatt reconfirms willingness to trade and mentions Jack Lake lands are the only area identified by them to date. KR agrees w CO/city no trade of park for park. Neatt reviews and reconfirms his email of June 14 2018 still stands, saying it is “to encourage the city. That if the city really wants to get behind this and really thinks these are special lands, & how about X, Y, Z, then sure.”
April ,2019: Upon request by SLCA, the city posts “No Motorized Vehicles” sign at entrance to Jack lake area. Motocross vehicles had found the area, adding to the damage already being done by ATVs. Signs vandalized within 2 weeks. April 24 2019, morning, Coalition reps met w Mayor and K. Denty.
April 24, am, SL-SRRP Coalition’s Regan, Robinson and Patriquin meet with Mayor Savage and Director Denty. (CO and RH didn’t arrive) Mr. Mayor strongly supports greening of the city and says he would like to do this. Was unaware of this area (although we have sent several letters etc. to his office and Council since 2013) and will discuss with CO. (That this is a regional issue, not local Bedford seems still not clear). We can meet again.
April 24, pm, Mayor speaks at press conference announcing purchase of Barrett and Armco land for Blue Mt Birch Cove Lakes.
May 9, 2019: New name: Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park better describes actual lands and waters. Coalition has 23 member groups. Learned that city staff have direction to buy land at BMBCL but not at Sandy Lake. Work to have city recognize values at SL-SRRP apparently not succeeding yet, but work continues. Friends of Sandy Lake is growing, community awareness growing.
May 16, W. Regan, H Ward, K. Robinson meet with Lands and Forestry Minister Rankin and 6 staff, including Deputy Min. Towers. We are seeking a follow up meeting to develop a process that better fits this situation for finding a trade. Discuss possible 3-way trade options, possible ecological evaluation and protection of SL-SR, to transfer prison 50 acres to HRM. A staff person was assigned to follow up on these with us. The coalition submission and documents are to be circulated in the department.
May 17, SRA sends a letter to the Fed Min of Environment requesting the DND rifle range 500 acres be considered for wilderness protection under the federal 17% goal, as was done at Manitoba’s Shilo Base. She replies they will assess the area for consideration.
Spring, Summer 2019: Increase in ATV and motorbike use of trails causing significant trail damage. City posts 2 “no motorized vehicles” signs, but they are vandalized within days. SLCA and city parks begin ongoing cooperation to stop the damage.
August 21, 2019: $1-million federal commitment to the Halifax Wilderness Park project, which will conserve 153 hectares in the Purcells Cove Backlands surrounding Colpitts Lake and bordering Williams Lake.
Summer, cottage lot owner cuts 150 small trees along the old woods path/road to the cottage lots and repairs the path so vehicles can use it. By-Law T-600 protects public trees. He had general permission to cut a few branches.
Overstepped. Parks looking into it.
Ongoing meetings w councillors, MLAs, MPs Geoff Regan, Samson. MPs helping w rifle range and CMHC.
Late August, Sandy Lake closes for about 24 hours due to an algae bloom that turned out to be non-hazardous.
September 2019: Clayton purchases 28 acres on Hammonds Plains Rd for 3.7 million. SLCA knew it was coming since June 2018 meeting w Clayton reps – were asked not to mention it. Important land for their road access plans.
September, K Robinson invited to join Our HRM Alliance Steering Committee.
September, a Salmon grilse jumped in Sandy Lake – Fisher reports caught and returned 9 in the last 2 years.
September 24, public hearing to add the HGNP Map 5 amendment to a planning section of the RP passes council unanimously.
October, 2019, Lands and Forestry determined prison lands belong to city, and a large part of Marsh Lake belongs to CMHC.
October, Patriquin reports recent deep-water tests at Sandy Lake indicate marginal O2 levels. Very sensitive to tipping over the edge.
October, Series of emails Robinson, Neatt, CO. It is the first time anyone mentioned this: CO says that a formal letter requesting a trade was supposed to come from the developers to the city. SLCA would have asked for one in the beginning – SLCA thought Clayton’s initial email saying they would trade, that 4 local councillors plus Clayton CEO and SLCA reps were copied on, was enough to start things.
For 2nd year, city parks division posted “no hunting” signs around park and partnered with SLCA to post/educate on line.
Nov 7, Patriquin and Robinson present to Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee. Are told things are “going on behind the scenes”
November 2019: Coalition works with MP Geoff Regan on several aspects including CMHC lands within park and OCEM Federal 17% wilderness goals for neighbouring DND lands, similar to Shilo base, Manitoba.
Nov 18, Letter to Canada Lands Co. Chris Miller re Anderson Lands. No reply.
Nov 26, W. Regan, Robinson McPhee meet w Dept of Env. Very supportive. Will assist with several points. Dec 12, 2019 Letter to CMHC asking for 50 acres at Marsh Lake for the park.
December, 2019, City Capital Projects Budget contains line item for acquiring property at Sandy Lake and BMBCL.
Jan 15, 2020, Meetings w. Nature Conservancy of Canada. NCC very aware of quality at Sandy Lake. “Compelling case at SL-SRRP. Conditions for success are here. Convince staff/city to do whatever it takes to acquire the watershed. Meet w developers. The highest, best use for this property for the citizens of HRM is parkland.”
Jan 16, phone meeting city planner & Robinson. City and CMHC in discussions. City is using the 2015 Conceptual Map as the boundary for SL-SRRP. KR informs Pl it was drawn only to acquire the 160 acres, not to be a real boundary. Pl: Get
“light shone on that” with a staff report request. Staff can not work on land outside that boundary.
Jan 20, Shaw Wilderness launch event. Clayton’s rep. says “You’ll get some but you won’t get it all.”
Jan 23, SLCA reps Robinson and Sarty meet w. W George of city parks to discuss where city might put No Motorized Vehicles signs. WG advises park perimeter. Police will assist w enforcement. By-Law P-600 no motorized vehicles in city parks.
Jan 25, professional planner’s report arrives. New request is 1800 acres including important ecological areas and to add park access. Johnson’s Brook watershed is essential to the health of Sandy Lake and Sackville River system. Clayton owns 550 acres. 390 owned by United Gulf Developments and 103 by numbered co, important bits owned by 4 other developers.
Jan 27- Feb 14, Coalition’s Valentines Awareness Campaign. Ended Feb 14 with delivery of hand made valentines to Councillors Blackburn, Mason, Russell. Over 350 electronic valentines went to each. Fine meetings with each. CO refuses his valentines and “washes his hands of” our group for asking the 3 if they can tell us anything about the 200-acre discussions. Denies telling Walter (January 27) and Karen Mc (Jan 29 in City Hall foyer after budget speech) that he is discussing w. Clayton a trade 200 acres beside Sandy Lake for the right to build high density on Hammonds Plains Rd. (confirmed by Mr. Neatt in phone call w. Walter January 27.)
Feb 24, 2020, Regional Plan review announced. Clayton request for Sandy Lake Secondary Planning process is in Schedule D.
March 14, 2020, Avian and Species at Risk Surveys of the Proposed Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park, Prepared by Natural Wonders Consulting Firm. 3-year Species of Interest survey includes ground-truthing of wildlife corridors large and small. Map of remaining links to BMBCL provided in addition.