Halifax Regional Council has tentatively agreed to purchase lands from Clayton Developments (Shaw Group) and enter into a conservation easement agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to establish a wilderness park in the Williams Lake area of Halifax.
The agreement is subject to a number of conditions, such as public consultation, the development of a suitable park entrance, and NCC fundraising.
The lands are recognized for their natural attributes, which include rare vegetation and important habitats. They also have historical/cultural values and are already used for recreational purposes, including hiking and access to Williams Lake.
Details of the Proposal
- The municipality will purchase the lands for $6.6 million
- NCC will acquire a conservation easement, for which it will pay the municipality $2.5 million
- The conservation easement will place limitations on the future use of the lands, largely to maintain them in their natural state
- The lands are to be named “Shaw Wilderness Park”
- NCC will be fundraising from the public to assist with its acquisition of the conservation easement, which may include donor recognition in the park and the naming of some of its features
- Maintenance of the dam at Williams Lake will not be assumed by either the municipality or NCC, as it has been the subject of community-led initiatives
Public Information Meeting
A public information meeting was held on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. at the Captain William Spry Community Centre, 16 Sussex Road, Halifax.
The purpose of the meeting was to receive feedback regarding the proposal to establish the park. Parks and Recreation staff were present to provide an overview. Minutes from the meeting will be included in a staff report to Regional Council.
As noted above, there are a number of conditions that needs to be fulfilled before Regional Council agrees to purchase the lands. One of these is the requirement for public hearing. Further to this, the following notice has been given:
Regional Council intends to consider and if deemed advisable, approve the sale of a conservation easement at less than market value to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. This is part of a proposal for Halifax Regional Municipality to acquire the lands of Clayton Developments Limited to establish a park to be named Shaw Wilderness Park. Under this arrangement, Halifax Regional Municipality will acquire the lands for $6,600,000. The Nature Conservancy of Canada will subsequently pay the municipality $2,500,000 in exchange for a conservation easement being applied to the lands, which will serve to help protect its ecological values and limit activities to those which are consistent with a wilderness park, such as hiking and nature appreciation, in perpetuity. The municipality recognizes the value of the conservation easement as $3,300,000. The sale at $2,500,000 to a non-profit organization is a less than market value that requires a public hearing pursuant section 63 (1) Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.
The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at Halifax City Hall (Council Chamber), 3rd Floor, 1841 Argyle Street, Halifax, NS. All oral and written submissions will be considered at that time. Written submissions may be forwarded to the Municipal Clerk by mail, P.O. Box 1749, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 3A5; by fax, 902-490-4208; or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written submissions should be received by the Municipal Clerk’s office as early as possible and not later than 3:00 p.m. on July 17, 2018. For any written submissions exceeding three standard letter sized pages in length, 30 copies must be supplied to the Municipal Clerk’s office.
For further information about the proposal, please contact Richard Harvey, Manager of Policy and Planning, Parks and Recreation:
Halifax Regional Municipality
P.O. Box 1749
Halifax, Nova Scotia