Bob Bancroft: Time to clean house at Natural Resources

forestIn the Saturday Chronicle Herald, Bob Bancroft, wildlife biologist, Chair of Nature NS, and co-author of the 2010 report Restoring the Health of Nova Scotia Forests writes that “…protected areas need to be connected by ecologically healthy working forests over about 60 per cent of the province. Quality forests would replace prices like $8.20 per tonne for fibre that now exist….It’s time to think beyond four-year terms with respect to DNR’s mandate for forests and wildlife. Politicians talk about balance, but there is no ecological balance in Nova Scotia’s current forest practices. Effective environmental legislation is long overdue. ” Rick Howe and Bob will be discussing these issues on News 95.7 Monday Dec 15 at 12:30 pm. Listen to archived file – interview starts at approx 25 mins Read more

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EAC: 50% of what goes into landfills is banned materials

“Half the materials being trucked to Nova Scotia landfills could be recycled or composted, a public policy and environmental group revealed Wednesday. The Ecology Action Centre in Halifax is calling on the province to bring in tougher enforcement of its own regulations to ensure banned materials don’t end up at dumps” View Article in Chronicle Herald. Reducing the illegals is a prime example of alternatives to increasing height of the Otter Lake cells!

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Visibility of the Landfill from The Bluff Trail – cited but peripherally

Map showing points where there is a clear view of the landfill now - except C where it is hidden by trees.  (A fire in this fire-prone area would render more visibility.) Click on image for larger version.

Map showing points where there is a clear view of the landfill now – except C where it is hidden by trees. (A fire in this fire-prone area would render more visibility.) Click on image for larger version.

Talking to reporters after the decision of Regional Council yesterday to proceed with increasing the height of cells at the Otter Lake Landfill, Ken Donnely of the Halifax Waste Resource Society (also on Facebook) cites The Bluff Trail:

“There is going to be some testing done to see if they can actually expand the height of the landfill,” he said. “But mostly there will be no changes.” The Otter Lake facility has six garbage cells, five of which are already full and sealed off with clay. Donnelly said one or two of those cells will be opened to evaluate the impact of increasing their heights. “They’re going to see if it can be done without having more odour complaints. If it’s higher, maybe wind currents would take odours out into the community.” Other concerns include rats, litter being blown around, and the view of the landfill from nearby properties as well as places such as the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail.” Source: Chronicle Herald – HRM trash to go to new heights

Continue reading

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Five Bridges Trust Co-Chairs address Landfill Issue

In Dec. 8th letter, Co-chairs Harry Ward and Peter Lund request “Regional Council pay close attention to potential impacts that raising the height of the existing disposal cells could have on the protected wilderness area, particularly from:Blowing litter, odours, visibility and nuisance noise (particularly from trucks backing up).”

They also note: “Potential impacts to Nine Mile River is also an important concern, particularly considering increased development pressures within the headwater watershed lands of the Nine Mile River north of HWY 103, including residential subdivisions of Kingswood and Haliburton subdivisions who have aging septic systems, Lakeside Industrial Park, subdivisions in Timberlea, Halifax Water sewage treatment plant (situated adjacent Nine Mile River) and two pumping stations (one situated next to the Nine Mile River and the other situated next to Governor Lake which flows into the Nine Mile River) and the new Brunello Estates golf course and associated residential community and commercial development.”

View Letter

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Letter to HRM re: Increasing the height of the Landfill

UPDATE Dec 9, 2014: Otter Lake landfill modified changes approved by Halifax council, leaving the future of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail in limbo. Not only will the landfill be more visible and beyond 2024, but it will be visible over a larger span of The Bluff Trail. It would no longer be valid to call The Bluff Trail, in its present form, a “wilderness trail” & “wilderness” is its raison d’être.


A decision to increase the height of the Otter lake Landfill could be made at the HRM Regional Council Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday Dec. 9. The relevant documents have been available for only a few days (see post below this one.) WRWEO Co-chairs, Past Chair, and the Chair of the Trails Committee have written a letter to Mayor Mike Savage and Councillors noting that in spite of our previous documentation of the visibility of the landfill from sections of The Bluff Trail, these viewplanes have apparently NOT been considered in the recommendations of staff to Regional Council… Please read Our Letter and earlier documents for more info. (Unfortunately, the relevant documents were made available too late for us (the Board) to appeal to WRWEO members and other Bluff Trail users for support of our position, but that opportunity may still avail after the Tuesday meeting.)
Otter Lake Landfill viewed from Loop 3 of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail

Otter Lake Landfill viewed from Loop 3 of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail

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Sharing Halifax space with wildlife

Unlike most Canadian cities, the urban core of Halifax is surrounded not by farms or endless burbs but by forested and coastal landscapes. Even within 30 kilometres of downtown Halifax, where approximately three-quarters of the population resides, developed areas are interspersed with substantive wild spaces. In an article in the Nova Scotia Naturally series in the Chronicle Herald, David Patriquin highlights Halifax’s wild spaces and discusses some of what has to be done to preserve their wildness. See Article in Chronicle Herald. Some supplementary materials are posted on the Wildland Writers’ website.

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Otter Lake Landfill – Future to be determined Tuesday, Dec 9th, 2014

Tuesday, Dec 9th, 2014 at 10am: Committee of the Whole – City Hall
Please attend if you are able.
Integrated Solid Waste Resource Management Strategy Review – Consultations with Halifax Waste Resource Society Board of Directors with respect to Recommendations #7, 8 and 9 – Continuation from January 14, 2014 and June 24, 2014

HRM Staff Supplementary Report: http://www.halifax.ca/council/agendasc/documents/141209cow3.pdf
Which includes the Halifax Waste Resource Society, Position Paper as Attachment #1

Please read and send your comments to HRM Regional Council, ASAP, via: clerks@halifax.ca

– John Cascadden (FBWHT)

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Birds At Risk

Birds at Risk“Birds At Risk is a half hour documentary that travels to birding hotspots around Nova Scotia to examine the health of our bird populations. The film introduces a passionate group of birdwatchers, biologists and volunteers that are playing an important role in the scientific research that is critical to keeping bird species alive.” See the Broadcast Premiere on CBC Television’s Land & Sea on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 12 Noon. View Trailer UPDATE (Dec 8): Entire Show

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Jellification of our lakes

jelly planktonStudies by Jon Smol and colleagues at Queens University on lakes in Nova Scotia and Ontario reveal a very worrisome trend – a change in the phytoplankton species associated with declining calcium levels. “Without calcium entering the lakes in run-off, some crustaceans at the base of the aquatic food chain, which make their exoskeletons from the mineral, are at a disadvantage, and they’re being displaced by species that have an jelly-like coating. These jelly-organisms are inedible to many predators, and disruptive to the lakes’ ecological balance.” (CBC report). Acid rain combined with inherently poorly buffered soils, especially in SW Nova Scotia, is the major driver; clearcutting is also cited as a factor. View references on our Water Quality Page.

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HRM puts out RFP for Greenbelting & Public Open Space Priorities Plan

HRM“The Halifax Regional Municipality (the Municipality) invites the submission of proposals from qualified professional firms (and teams) … for the development of a Greenbelting and Public Open Space Priorities Plan (Open Space Plan) for the protection of a regional network of lands for resource conservation, public service delivery and community shaping. This Plan is a key deliverable under the Halifax Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (Regional Plan).” Pages 21 on give readers a good sense of the envisaged why, what and how of greenbelting for HRM. View RFP. (The Closing Date is December-04-14.)

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