Call to action
We need your help regarding the planned but recently undermined Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park.
A premature motion is on the agenda for the upcoming HRM council meeting and we need to stop it:
The full call to action email from EAC
As a volunteer “Park Ranger” for the not-yet-existent park, I received the following email today, from Raymond Plourde, Wilderness Coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax:
Action Alert – Calling all Birch Cove Rangers – Your help needed now.
Hello Birch Cove Rangers. Thank you for attending our big public meeting at Dalhousie University on June 29th about the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park situation/fiasco. And thank you for taking the Birch Cove Rangers pledge to “remain engaged, informed and vigilant about the long-promised Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Regional Park, and to do everything I can to promote, protect and defend this special place.”
As was said at the meeting nothing ever gets protected without local champions – and you are the champions for BMBCL. Over time we hope to grow the Birch Cove Rangers but for now you are the initial core group – the nucleus of an engaged citizen’s army that is needed to champion the creation of the BMBCL Regional Park and bring it through to fruition.
This is your first alert and call to action since our meeting. We need your help now to defend the future Regional Park from some very bad political maneuvering going on at City Hall which seeks to undermine the park, forward the developer’s agenda and handcuff HRMs ability to deliver the park as committed to in the 2006 Regional Plan. Specifically:
Councilor Reg Rankin has submitted a detailed, multi-part resolution to be debated at the HRM Regional Council meeting THIS TUESDAY, July 26 starting at 1pm. The resolution is in three parts and seems to echo many of the elements of the one-sided Facilitator’s Report which endorses a massive sprawling suburb deep inside the intended park boundaries and all around the Birch Cove Lakes – thus destroying the original vision for the Regional Park. You can read Councilor Rankin’s motion here: http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/160726ca151.pdf
In brief, Councilor Rankin’s motions are way premature. Councilors have yet to receive the staff report responding the Facilitator’s (flawed) Report not have they received and reviewed the estimated 1500 written submissions from the public in response to the Facilitator’s (flawed) Report and the related staff report on that public feedback. These reports are not expected to be written and distributed to council members until early fall. As such, Mr. Rankin’s motions attempt to force council to make some very big and potentially disastrous decisions about the BMBCL Regional Park immediately without a full understanding of the situation and the ramifications of his proposal. We are urging all councilors to reject Mr. Rankin’s motions and instead follow due process and wait for the staff report and then to conduct a real public consultation process after the full release and disclosure of all information, options and cost estimates that have so far been kept secret from the public.
There are two important things you, the Birch Cove Rangers, can do right now to help at this critical and potentially disastrous junction:
- Please come to the HRM Council meeting THIS TUESDAY at 1pm – to bear witness to what happens and to demonstrate to Council – in a strong and undeniable way – that the public is engaged and is watching their every move on this important issue. We need a big, big crowd to come and show their support. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. We realize the timing is very poor, occurring in the middle of summer and family vacation time, but it is beyond our control. We can only react as events unfold. So we need a large group to come to the Council meeting on Tuesday afternoon to show our support for the park and your opposition to any attempt to allow sprawl development within it.
- Call or e-mail your local councilor (or all of them) and urge them to completely reject Mr. Rankin’s motions and instead to wait until the appropriate staff reports and public submissions have been delivered to all Council members and all relevant information is disclosed to the public and a genuine public engagement process is conducted on all details of the future Regional Park.
You can find contact information for all HRM Councilors here: http://www.halifax.ca/councillors/documents/CouncillorsExternalContactList.pdf
A copy of a letter to HRM Regional Councilors from EAC outlining what is wrong with Councilor Rankin’s motion is attached to this e-mail FYI.
Thank you Birch Cove Rangers. We hope to see as many of you as possible at HRM City Hall this Tuesday at 1pm. Please bring any other friends of the park you know. We need a big presence. In the meantime contact your/all Councilors and urge them to reject Mr. Rankin’s motions as pre-mature and inappropriate at this time.