Council of Community Organizations
January 23, 2014, 7:00p.m.
Lakeside Community Centre
Host: Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization (WRWEO)
Chair: Linda Moxom-Skinner
Harry Ward, Chair Hubley Community Centre Association (HCCA) – HCCA met with representatives from HRM and the province to discuss an ongoing taxation issue. HRM had intended to declare the property surplus, but the community had an interest in maintaining the facility for recreation purposes and a non-profit group was formed. The association entered into a lease agreement, and as a result HRM is taxing the association at a commercial rate for the property.
HCCA presented a business plan and alternative options to the lease agreement, including a facility management agreement. HCCA was able to demonstrate that it is financially sustainable and that multiple groups are using the HCC for recreation. HRM is now conducting a recreational needs study on the facility. A proposal is also going forward to the HRM grants committee to allow the HCCA to be taxed at a residential rate.
Harry Ward has presented a vision of having the HCC become an interpretive centre as it is close to multiple trails, lakes, Jerry Lawrence Provincial Park and the FBLWA. The Air Cadets have also expressed interest in developing trails on the property.
Beth McGee noted that 17 of the 22 warbler species nest in Jerry Lawrence Park and there may be cause to seek a higher level of protection for the park.
Richmond Campbell, WRWEO – WRWEO will hold its AGM on March 12, 2014 at the Tantallon Public Library. The theme will be youth and family engagement. WRWEO is looking for ways to connect with youth and teach Leave No Trace principles. WRWEO is considering hosting camping clinics and activities for young people to identify flora/fauna on the Bluff Wilderness Trail. WRWEO is also developing Leave No Trace interpretive signage for the trail.
WRWEO is concerned about the impact of the proposal to extend cell heights at Otter Lake Landfill on the Bluff Wilderness Trail. The landfill is already visible from parts of the trail. Richmond Campbell stated that the public focus has been on the savings of the proposed changes without consideration of the costs. There is a need to demonstrate that the changes will actually cost money in the long-term.
Peter Lund expressed concern about the visibility of the landfill from the Western Common as well.
The critical recommendations from the recent HRM staff report on the Waste Management Review will be discussed at the next Committee of the Whole meeting in February. These include the recommendation to allow waste to be exported outside of HRM, initiating consultations with Mirror and CMC for options to change the operating model including FEP/WSF and extending operations beyond 2024, increasing cell height and creating a solid waste campus.
John Cascadden asked that people continue to speak in opposition to these recommendations, and to write members of council. Linda Moxom-Skinner suggested people also contact their provincial representatives and the minister of environment.
John Bignell expressed the need for a strategy to inform residents about this issue. Peter Lund will create a brief summary to circulate to interested organizations.
John Bignell, FBWHT, Sheldrake Homeowners Association – Community members are concerned about bylaws restricting backyard chickens and other agricultural practices. There is a need for more clarity about the regulation of these activities outside of peninsular Halifax. John Cascadden suggested the issue be raised at the district council. Beth McGee suggested that John Bignell connect with Transition Bay and write to other organizations asking for support.
The NS Archeological Society is planning information sessions about the Mystery Walls in Bayers Lake. The ruins are protected under the Special Places Act but have been subject to vandalism. The Society is also hoping to connect with trails organizations and develop interpretive signage.
Peter Lund, FBWHT, HRM Regional Watershed Advisory Committee – Peter Lund is a member of the recently-formed Watershed Advisory Committee, mandated to advise HRM Council on water policy. The Tantallon Watershed Study has been released and Peter will be reviewing the document and making recommendations regarding waste water management.
Peter Lund and Harry Ward met with representatives from the Tantallon RBC branch to discuss the RBC Bluewater grant. The deadline is February 3 and Peter will submit a proposal for a project on the Nine Mile River. The river is currently mesotrophic and there are a large number of developments increasing pressure on the water system. The project will include mapping and water quality analysis. Peter also suggested that the HCCA could apply under the Leadership category next year for a grant to support the development of an interpretive centre.
Beth McGee, Treasurer FBWHT, member of St. MargaretŐs Bay Stewardship Association– Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust (FBWHT) will hold its AGM on March 27 at the Hubley Community Centre.
FBWHT will host the next CoCO meeting on March 20, which will also mark the 20th anniversary of CoCO.
Peter Bush, NSE, has sent a request for all groups interested in organizing outdoor activities in the FBLWA to notify him.
FBWHT will host May Fair in the Park on May 26, and the Warbler Walk on June 2.
Last August FBWHT hosted a public meeting where the issue of bicycle access to the hard-packed trails in FBLWA was raised. Beth McGee has been contacting bicycle organizations to determine what group might be interested in entering into a trail maintenance agreement with NSE that would allow cyclists to use these trails. Peter Bush will be meeting with interested groups in February.
GPI youth group has also expressed interest in organizing active transportation activities.
Catherine Klefenz, BLT Rails to Trails – Trails Day will be held on June 7 and will include a 5k walk and a bike ride.
Snowmobilers have been flattening the trail to encourage winter use.
A celebration commemorating the Destination Trail from Halifax to Lunenburg was held on January 17 including the announcement of government funding for signage. All levels of government have contributed a total of $178,000 for the project. The trail includes seven trails groups and about 109km of trail.
The next CoCO meeting will be held on March 20. FBWHT to chair, location to be announced.
Afton Doubleday, Secretary