Anyone interested in trail development or wanting to learn more about the proposed large scale Sackville Greenway trail is encouraged to attend one of two public meetings and fill out a quick online survey.
"I'm trying to beat the bushes to get a groundswell of support," said Sackville Rivers Association president Walter N. Regan. "We're encouraging the public, whether they're for or against, to provide comments as we go forward."
The proposed 12 km trail would run the length of the Little Sackville River from Fultz House to Little Lake and connect much of the community. The estimated cost for the project is about $7 million over 10 years.
"The (survey) responses so far have been a majority for it. The concerns that have been raised are about loss of privacy, property being expropriated, and loss of environment," Regan said.
"The majority of the people who answered so far can't wait. They say ‘get it started now,' or ‘I use a bike and need it to get to work,' or ‘I love the Little Sackville River and can I help.'"
The trail would be similar to the current Sackville-Bedford greenway connector, which is used by more than 1,400 people every week.
"We'd like to eventually have a multi-use active transportation corridor from Fort Sackville in Bedford to Uniacke House in Mount Uniacke, which is about 40 kms," Regan said. "Off of that will be side trails, including the Sackville Greenway. We will also have connections with Halifax and Dartmouth."
Those separate projects include a Burnside to Glendale connection, a trail that would connect Bedford with Fairview and a Halifax trail along a water access road from Bayers Road along Highway 102 to the airport.
"We use the trail as a public awareness item to bring the public back to the river. By building a trail next to the river, we protect the river," Regan said. "It does many other things. It creates a buffer zone where no one can build, it's built on a floodplain and it encourages the health of the public through active transportation."
About nine of the Sackville Greenway's 12 kms will be built over a Halifax Water sewer access road, which will likely help reduce costs.
Sackville Greenway Development Open Houses:
Wednesday, Oct. 12-From 2:30 to 8:30 p.m., Vineyard Christian Fellowship Church, 1129 Sackville Drive
Speakers at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. are Don Ambler, HRM Staff, HRM Regional Trails Program and Walter Regan from the SRA.
To fill out the online survey, visit the Sackville Rivers Association webpage at www.sackvillerivers.ns.ca/sg/ and click ‘online survey.'
History of the Sackville Greenway
• 1978 NSCAD for Halifax County " a series of small neighbourhood parks linked by a walkway which will run the entire length of the River" " along the sewer easement"
• 1988 NSCAD Conservation Corridor proposed for the entire Sackville River
• 1988 Sackville Rivers Association formed with mandate of a Conservation Corridor along entire Sackville River
• 1992 Hal. Co. commissioned Gordon Ratcliffe to compete Regional Trail Plan, one of 11 Trails identified was the Sackville/ Little Sackville River Trail.
• 2001 Sackville Drive Streetscape Study By Ekistics recommends a "trail system along the river" "using the trail to create ...help build an image and identity for Sackville Drive and restore the street as a centre for retail activity and a core of a vibrant community"
• 2002 Policy LSR-8 and LSR-9 passed in the Sackville Secondary Planning Strategy " In recognition of the importance of a contiguous trail system along the river....HRM SHALL support the SRA toward the achievement of the LSR trail system"
• 2006 HRM Regional Plan Section 2.1.2 mentions the possible creation of a HRM Regional Park at Freely Lake.
• 2006 Bedford Sackville Greenway Connector opens--$1.2 million, 1400 people a week+
• 2009 Last section Fort Sackville Trail opened
• 2010 Sackville MPS "area along the Sackville and LSR as land within the community that presents a UNIQUE recreational and environmental conservation opportunity.... A growing desire by residents and community groups to establish Conservation Corridors along the Rivers. MPS ..encourages and supports groups and initiatives in their efforts to establish Conservation Corridors and walkways along the Rivers"
• 2010 Halifax Water starts construction of a 9 km sewer access road following along the LSR
• 2011 HRM Active Transportation Committee releases the BIG IDEAS for AT in HRM, of the 5 ideas " Big Idea # 3 is the Bedford Sackville Spine "
• 2011 Sackville Greenway Multi Year Development Plan Released-12 kms--$9 million proposed
• 2012 NWCC Letter of Support
2012 SBA Letter of Support
• 2012 HRM Transportation Committee Support
• 2012 HRTA Letter of Support