The Halifax North West Trails Association has declared a partial victory in its efforts to protect the lakes and sight lines in the proposed regional park next door to Bayers Lake Business Park.
The Association began its efforts last September to increase the lands set aside in the upcoming expansion of Bayers Lake for a trail head into the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area and eventually the regional park. Since that time, the dedication area set aside by Banc Developments in its most current plan for the new development has grown to nine hectares.
“It looks like we did make some progress,” says Bruce E. Smith, a director with the association. “We’ve expanded the park dedication, and that’s a positive development.”
Originally at issue was a small square of land located between the existing Kent property and the land BANC Developments has agreed to set aside in its proposed development of the remaining Bayers Lake lands for the creation of the trailhead. Smith says the land contains both wetlands and a granite plateau that are home to rare flora and fauna that need to be protected from development. He has also documented a traditional trail through this piece of land that dates back to the 1930s.
However, the association remains concerned the project could still negatively impact the future parklands since the increased dedication lands still don’t include the two highest points of the land in the area. This is a concern because run-off from the development could still find its way downhill into Susie’s Lake.
As well, any development on those high points would be visible from inside the proposed park, interfering with the aim of keeping the sightlines from the Wilderness Area pristine.
“The current plan shows McKinley Drive will run over the two high points within the watershed, but outside of the proposed regional park boundary,” Smith says. “Our concern is run-off will move down into the lakes, but we’re being told by HRM it will be the responsibility of the developer to take measures to prevent this from happening.
“We’re just seeking to protect the buffer and sight lines along the Bayers Lake edge of the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area,” Smith says.