The Sandy Lake Conservation Association (SLCA) aims to protect the ecosystem and the watershed of the Sandy Lake to Sackville River area. We support the expansion of the Sandy Lake (Jack Lake) Regional Park – a magnificent old forest, wildlife and recreation park protecting the Sackville River flood plain.
The SLCA was created in 2013 following the surprise clear cut of a large swath of land including Acadian old growth forest on the west side of Sandy Lake. Prior to this event, residents of the area understood that a regional park was still the long term plan ie. residents were unaware of the 2006 change by HRM to designate this area as a potential Urban Settlement area. It became evident that HRM city councillors were also unaware of the history and fragility of Sandy Lake, or of the long-term plan to create a regional park at the location. These facts came to light when tree cutting machines began stripping the 300 acre plot that includes the far tip of the lake. (At this point everyone thought it was 200 acres.) Members of the newly formed SLCA learned a lot. In particular, we learned of loopholes in the land development system that allow developers to clear cut huge properties without having either a forestry permit or an approved HRM application for housing.
On August 22, 2013, with no options left, SLCA engaged the media to try to stop the cutting of trees. On Friday August 23, 2013 the developers agreed to stop cutting at least temporarily. The painful irony is that these 300 acres were once part of a 500-acre gift that had been offered for the park.
Since then, the SLCA has worked hard to raise awareness so that Sandy Lake, Jack Lake and Marsh Lake – this beautiful trio of lakes so close to Bedford, Sackville and Hammonds Plains, and an essential part of the Sackville River watershed – can be protected and serve the many important functions of such a beautiful natural recreational area so close to the city’s major growth areas.