Council of Community Organizations

November 21, 2013, 7:00p.m.

Lakeside Community Centre


Host: Beechville, Lakeside, Timberlea Rails to Trails (BLT R2T)

Chair: Catherine Klefenz


Beth McGee presented Councillor Reg Rankin with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust (FBWHT) for his assistance in obtaining funding through the Halifax Regional Municipality for the Plants of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking brochure 2nd edition.


Reg Rankin, Councillor District 12 – Councillor Rankin requested a meeting with Peter Bigalow, HRM Planner, Beth McGee, FBWHT and Richmond Campbell, Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization (WRWEO) to discuss the idea of appointing a community advisory group for the Western Common planning.  Councillor Ranking was concerned that there was no mention of the Western Common is the Stantec report on Otter Lake Landfill. 


Councillor Rankin would like a community group to advise HRM staff on issues in three main areas: (1) the relation of the landfill to the rest of the Western Common; (2) the relation of the Western Common to the Ragged Lake Industrial Park, especially regarding matters of environmental impact (given the flow of water between Ragged Lake and other lakes downstream) and the need to clarify the boundary between the industrial park and the lake/s; and (3) the implications of the Western Common for greenbelting in HRM.


The recommendation to Peter Bigalow was that the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Coalition act as the advisory group to HRM staff on the Western Common.  Councillor Rankin will follow up again with Peter Biglaow.


Tom Musial, Chair, Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Coalition (FBLWC) -  Mr. Musial indicated that the FBLWC would be enthusiastic about participating in planning for the Western Common. He indicated that HRM would need to provide clear terms of reference to ensure the role fit within the mandate of the FBLWC and that the coalition has the capacity to fulfill the role.


Richmond Campbell Co-Chair, WRWEO – The province of Nova Scotia is considering lifting the catch and release restriction on Woodens River. The board of WRWEO has written in opposition to this proposal.


WRWEO has also participated in the public consultations on HRM Regional Plan +5 (RP+5), specifically regarding greenbelting.  WRWEO wants to ensure a clear definition of greenbelting and regulations are in place for developers through RP+5.


WRWEO has just completed brush cutting on the first two loops of the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail, and will clear the deadfall in March.  Brush cutting is done every two years.


Tom Musial – Mr. Musial reported that BLT R2T has been conducting trail maintenance including adding new signage and crusher dust, filling potholes and clearing brush.  There are a large number of users on the trail.


BLT R2T is undertaking initiative to standardize signage, and to make the trail accessible for people who are sight impaired.  The trail is currently wheelchair accessible.


Beth McGee, Treasurer, FBWHT – FBWHT has been examining the issue of bicycle access for the hard pack trails within the wilderness area.  Under NSE regulations, cyclists must belong to an organization that has entered into a trail maintenance agreement in order to access the trails.


Due to recent issues with vandalism, rocks have been placed at two locations on the trails, as well as signage and maps indicating permitted vehicle use on the trails. NSE is preparing a notice for the Masthead News to provide this information to the wider community.


Safety Minded ATV Association has been working very hard on the maintenance and construction of the Off-Highway Vehicle Trails.


Afton Doubleday, Secretary, FBWHT – Only four people attended the September CoCO meeting, chaired by Barb Allen – Ms. Doubleday representing FBWHT, Iain Rankin and Linda Moxom-Skinner representing WRWEO.


Barb Allen, Resource Opportunities Centre (ROC)– The pathway between the Prospect Road Community Centre and the Terence Bay School has been completed and is now open to the public. 


Last spring, the ROC held a series of ÒCommunity Conversations.Ó  As a result of the feedback, ROC has applied for funding through the Community Jobs and Infrastructure program at the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage in order to hire a staff person to review the status of existing community structure and to coordinate activities within the Prospect community.


Ms. Allen also announced that she has been hired as constituency assistant to Iain Rankin, MLA for Timberlea – Prospect.  Mr. RankinÕs office is located at 1268 St. MargaretÕs Bay Rd. in Beechville.


John Cascadden, FBWHT and MacDonald Lake Residents Association -  (Via written report)

The November 8th & 15th CDAC meeting discussions were captured by Administrative Staff for HRM and the facilitator (Deputy Police Chief Bill Moore).  A complete report detailing the resultant recommendations will be created and passed to the CDAC and HRM Staff.  Both the CDAC and HRM Staff will create their own reports; the CDAC will likely append the discussion results/recommendations report, as a whole, to their report.  HRM Staff will create their own report.


Draft 3 of the revised RP, plus the CDAC and HRM Staff reports will be made available to the Committee Of the Whole (COW) on December 3rd, 2013.


Note I said that the CDAC report contains recommendations to Council, there is a possibility that HRM Staff may agree with some or all of the CDAC recommendations.  If they do, they will likely indicate these accepted changes in their HRM Staff report to Council.  I do not think that there will be a revised edition of the RP Draft 3 document, but there may/should be some additional maps.


The COW will/should discuss the whole of the RP Draft 3 document as well as well as the CDAC & HRM Staff reports (more information than can be readily handled at just one COW in my opinion).


After the COW on the 3rd, the revised RP Draft 3, the CDAC & HRM Staff reports, and any recommendations generated at the COW will be passed to Regional Council for first reading (date TBD).  At this time there may be some discussion or not, and the date for the public hearing will likely be setÉ. Unless Regional Council is not happy and desires additional clarification from the CDAC or HRM Staff which I do not believe will happen, but the possibility exists. 


Upcoming events:

 November 28, 7p.m. at Exhibition Park – Halifax Waste Resource Society is hosting a public meeting regarding Otter Lake Landfill.


December 3 – HRM Council Committee of the Whole will review RP+5


December 5, 4-7p.m., 2705 Fern Lane – Ecology Action Centre Open House


December 10, 1p.m. – HRM Staff report regarding Otter Lake before HRM Council.


Wendy McDonald, Halifax Northwest Trails Association – (Via Written Report)


                Halifax North West Trails


Our trail region includes 7 trails on HRM lands and the BMBCL Wilderness Area, NS land out to Hammonds Plains Road, Bedford Basin and over towards the Chain Of Lakes Trail, Districts 10, 12, 16 and maybe more!


Hikes and interpretation of the environment, Promotion

Participated in HNWTA hikes promoted to members and public - Hemlock Ravine,

Hike NS Hike event at Blue Mountain and HRM GOCIO Hike for Fall Challenge at Belchers Marsh Canada Games Centre Fall Food Run, booth. No locals, all regional participants

Need for an HRM Trail map integrating multiuse trails (currently have a Bike map)


Trail building and maintenance

Mainland Linear TrailÉ300m extension completed by Kynock. Part of HRM Big Ideas to connect with COLT, once we get over the 102. Phased plan to be developed by engineers once funds available for contract.

Mainland Common Loop upgrade of 800m, bark chips. Junior High School group helped us, Halifax Grammar School for a couple of hours.



Building capacity of boardÉdwindling numbersÉurgently need new working board members.

HRTAÉneed effective staff replacements for Don Ambler, Terry Gallagher to allow consultation and sharing of concerns, ideas, direction, communications, acceptable next steps.


Regional Plan+5

Member of Our HRM Alliance - looking at more effective Community Engagement, Sustainable Transportation and Green Belts for this region and all of HRM.


Parks and Green Spaces

Mainland Common next steps, need for dialogue and community input

Integration of trails, pathways and walkways to make this community connected and walkable; need for acknowledgement of staff and community roles in AT plan.



Integration of HRM RecÉno programming in D 12...CPWÉ


Use of Northcliffe site

Possible Health Centre for this areaÉdialogue needed with Chebucto West Community Health Board


QuestionÉnew role of Community Councils to allow meaningful and productive 2 way dialogue with public? It has been suggested now that Council will be meeting biweeklyÉis this correct?



The next CoCO meeting will be held on January 30.  WRWEO to chair, location to be announced.


Respectfully submitted,

Afton Doubleday, Secretary