Notes from COCO Meeting on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WRWEO was the host group and Linda Moxom- Skinner was the Chair of the meeting held from 7-9 the Lakeside Community Centre,  1492 St. MargaretÕs Bay Road.


The updates and information shared is noted below.


Peter Lund from Five bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust gave a presentation on his review of the results of water quality sampling done on the Nine Mile River in August 2014.

He reviewed the HRM and Otter Lake Landfill data and saw areas of the Nine mile River (south of Hwy 103) that were eutrophic and north of Hwy 103 they were mesotrophic. He noted what he calls four potential problem areas:

1.2/3 of Kingswood and a number of other subdivisions that are within headwaters of the Nine Nile river are all on wells and septics .The worry is about contaminated water going  into the Nine Mile River from aging malfunctioning systems.

2. Lakeside Industrial Park 

3. New golf course under construction

 4: HRM sewage treatment plant and pumping station overflow

He quickly outlined by way of review the process for seeking funding for this project, a $5k grant from RBC and one from Clean NS who provided one student.

He was pleasantly surprised by the results of the water testing -i.e.  no significant adverse water quality, although stream flow downstream of Highland Park is eutrophic and surface water downstream of Lakeside Industrial Park has elevated parameters. He cautioned that only one set of samples was taken for analysis, during low flow in summer. He is proposing testing in Spring and Fall of 2015 after heavy rainfall and then re-evaluate.

There is a sewage settling pond at SobeyÕs Tantallon where contaminated water elevated in faecal colliform is flowing into Hubley Mill Lake.These waters flow through the East River system and discharge into WhynotÕs Cove , St. MargaretÕs Bay. He noted that Waste water Districts are being recommended by Halifax Water Advisory Board to adequately address malfunctioning septic systems and commercial treatment systems. This requires collaboration with the Province.

He has GIS mapping information collected by Lauren Slaunwhite but needs help in understanding the relevance of the different layers of info. This GIS data is available to all members of the Coalition. He was advised to let Holly Richardson know of the GIS mapping info.



Bob Angus, St. Margaret`s Bay Seniors Association, Glengarry Homeowners Association, and FBLWHT

Bob Had attended the One Forum gathering last Saturday, November 15.hre was very impressed with the Panelists and their presentations. About 50 people attended. The panelists spoke in the morning. In the afternoon those gathered broke into about 9 or 10 groups for discussion . He plans to attend the follw up meeting on December 1.He referred us to the publication `Vital Signs, One Forum.` This publication was  given out at One Forum.

Bob is Chair of the Glengarry Estates Homeowners Association has organised a meeting from 6:30 8;30 p.m on November 25 at the Prospect Road Community Centre  for Homeowner reps from Homeowners on Hwy 3 and the Prospect Road side of Hwy 333.

Wendy McDonald of Halifax North West Trails gave the following report. HNWTA are in partnership with Maskwa Aquatic Club and CPAWS along with DNR and NSE, looking at Trail Planning in the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area. A Planning grant from Health and Wellness and partner funds have allowed Consultant Garnet MacLaughlin and Tom Young to review existing and potential trail routes. Over 300 responded to an online survey helping to guide next steps after a recent Open House. Maskwa would like to build trail to enable young athlete training near their facility.  

In addition to working towards youth enagagement in the WA, a recent regional Workshop hosted by Heartwood and the NS Volunteer Sector Council included HNWTA and youth from Halifax West High School. We planted small hardwoods along the Linear Trail. One outcome is an opportunity to engage some of the Halifax West HS students in the Wilderness Area and/or the Mainland Common passive area trails (scheduled). As well, the Halifax West HS will be hosting a large (750) Canadian students for a High School leadership Conference in 2015....details to follow.

HNWTA is a member of the Our HRM Alliance and this coalition of 50+ groups is monitoring next steps for Regional Plan+5, in particular the Open Space and Greenbelting initiaitive; an RFP was released to embrace this exciting project. A Dec 2 meeting will bring many of the groups together for an update. A recent smaller meeting with trails groups from the eastern side, who have had no paid staff trails support specialist for nearly 2 years( Regional Trails programme ), gathered with Tristan Cleveland to discuss possible solutions, shared frustrations, funding, promotion and linkages to help in connecting communities. 

Another concern is the lack of Community Engagement, safe walkability consideration for the new Lacewood Transit terminal and adjacent Mainland Common, and the new introduction of 2 extra access roads into the main thoroughfare of Lacewood Drive, already a busy road with too many lights. The use of the Canada Games Centre parking lot as a drop of feature will also add safety concerns to all in the local community. The trails group will attempt to connect with staff to understand the proposed linkages with the Linear Trail, across a large deep gully.

John Cascadden from McDonald Lake Homeowners Association/FBWHT reported on Otter Lake Landfill.

The ongoing meetings between HRM and the Halifax Waste Resource Society/Community Monitoring Committee (HWRS/CMC) are coming to a close with HRM staff submitting a report to Council for Dec 9th; the actual report may be on the website as a link off the Agenda for Regional Council on Dec 9th, 2014É look for it before the end of Friday Dec 5th.  We do not expect much change in HRMÕs recommended position on outstanding Items 7, 8 & 9 from the January 14th, 2014 Solid Waste Resource Strategy Review report.  Thus some kind of height extension is to be expected and thus a 2024 landfill retirement date is not likely supported by HRM at this time.  We will have to wait for HRMÕs report to come out to be certain of all the facts.  The HWRS/CMC will likely release an information communication to the public sometime before Dec 9th as well.  That is the sum of what we know for sure at this time.

Dave Patriquin,Co-Chair at Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization (WRWEO)presented the concerns of WRWEO about the visibility of the landfill Site from Loops 2&3 of the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail  will be if the decision is made to raise the height of the existing cells by 15 meters. The WRWEO Board has sent a letter to Waste Resources Society, HRM Mayor and Councillors to outline their concerns about the impact to the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trails view planes should the proposed changes come to be our reality. It is most upsetting to have a nationally well known wilderness hiking trail in such close proximity to downtown Halifax  be threatened with loss of a wilderness experience because of the possible new views of the Otter Lake Landfill Site. Other group reps were asked to write letters to support the concerns raised by WRWEO in their Letter. The letters need to be written before this matter comes back to HRM Council on December 9.

Follow-up actions were discussed .Linda Moxom –Skinner has talked to several Councillors. Suggestion  was made that each of us follow up with our own Councillors .

Beth McGee,FBWHT was pleased to report in absence of Mike Marriott ,Safety Minded ATV, the work crew from SMATV Club have completed the refurbishing of the Old St. MargaretÕs Bay Road through the eastern side of the FBL Wilderness  Area  over to the Nine Mile River. The bridge over the river has to be replaced. Engineering and bridge replacement estimates are currently being sought. The work crew has been working since 2011 first on the building of the connector trail off the St. MargaretÕs Bay Rails to Trails and under a Letter of Understanding with NSE worked first on the refurbishing of the Joshua Slocum Trail down to the T intersection with the old St. MargaretÕs Bay Rod going west to the boundary of the FBLWA and then the eastern section to the Nine Mile River Bridge on the eastern boundary of the FBLWA . Beth did not have the correct stats on November 19 .  She has them  now and has included  them in these notes. The work crew worked on a total of 32 kms in the or near the FBLWA and 3and half kms on the connector trail.They replaced 22 culverts, 3 bridges and di dextensive road work with special environmental challenges in two wet areas one was 330 feet long and the other 225 feet. Their work is an incredible example of volunteer work.

At FBWHT ,Harry Ward reported there are plans to reproduce the little book A Walking Guide to the Old St. MargaretÕs Bay Road , work with NSE on producing an updated map of the FBLWA and a video of the area. We are most grateful for the funds received from the Bay Treasure Chest.

Linda Moxom-Skinner was thanked hosting and chairing this eveningÕs meeting.


The January COCO is being  planned  for January 20/21 ,2015 A host group ,with a meeting date and venue is to be announced shortly.

The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.