Council of Community Organizations (CoCO) Meeting Notes


Notes shared from the most recent Council of Community Organizations Meeting (CoCO) Meeting – Oct. 3, 2017

Attendance: Kimberly Berry – WRWEO, Paul Berry – WRWEO, Beth McGee – FBWHT, Harry Ward – FBWHT, Tom Musial – FBWHT, BLT, Katherine Klefenz – BLT,

Mike Lancaster, SMBSA


  • Kimberly Berry at request of Chair of the meeting lead with Mi’kmaw land acknowledgment
  • Paul Berry stated that it is currently Mi’kmaw History Month and that there are lots of events during the course of the month. Paul added that Treaty Day was only two days ago on October 1. It celebrates the Anniversary of the 1752 Treaty of Friendship and Peace
  • Beth McGee, Chair of this COCO Meeting from Host group Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust conveyed welcoming remarks
  • Harry Ward – FBWHT
    • the granting program is going well – BLT has done a bridge project,
    • BTCA is going well as well, we had our first AGM last night
    • we also hosted 4 book launches for our new publication , a second edition of “A Walking Guide the Old St. Margaret’s Bay Road”
    • we recently coordinated a hike on the OSMBR with Hike NS that took us through the Good Wood to Spryfield section of the Old St Margaret’s Bay Road as it passes through Long Lake Provincial Park. Krista Whitehouse of Halifax Meet-up, Halifax Outdoor Adventurers and Hike NS was the Leader of the Hike.
  • Tom Musial – Chair of Western Commons Advisory Committee
    • HRM wishes to replace and expand Prospect Road Composting facility
    • Feedback is sought from COCO membership organizations for the proposed By-law amendments that would be needed to make the project move forward
    • Public information sessions were called with only a day, or two, notice
    • Submit letters before Oct. 25 – In preparing your recommendations, reference how it will impact the following:
      • Phasing on the Western Commons Master Plan implementation
      • Buffering and screening – how will/will not this effect the surrounding wetland?
      • Environmental sustainability of the Western Commons
    • The WCAC has deferred the decision until greater levels of consultation with Nova Scotia Environment is conducted – it is possible that the required standards have not been met for baseline testing – Paul has suggested that Tom consult with East Coast Environmental Law as they will conduct a pro bono analysis
    • Beth recounted an experience from 2008 wherein large amounts of Saprolegnia were discovered in the stream adjacent to New Era Farms. It was determined by NSE a sewage substance was leaking from a broken sewage pipe and entering the stream and wetlands adjacent to the Pipeline Road , a hiking trail from Exhibition Park to Big Indian Lake all located in the Western Commons–the Saprolegnia eventually dissipated to ‘safe’ levels but it took a month of constant monitoring – Beth raises the question – could this composting site be better suited to be located in the Otter Lake landfill?
    • Tom welcomes letters of support for concern in regard to this issue; the environmental impacts, the buffering/screening issues, the impacts/proximity to the Pipeline road hiking trail, the past history of environmental issues, the sensitive nature of the surrounding, wetland, the fact that the city is setting a bit of a precedent of sectioning off pieces of proposed park land
    • Beth also raised the fact that there is an issue that if this re-designation moves forward as the area will be rezoned as ‘Industrial 3’
    • The city is holding a $1,000,000 carrot of funding for the expansion of the trails and community development of the area
    • It has been decided that there was no ethical conflict for Beth and Tom to send out the reports that they have received to the broader group – Tom will be doing so
    • Kimberly suggests that Tom reach out to David Patriquin for his consultation
  • Katherine Klefenz – BLT
    • We have successfully completed work on the 6 Mile Falls bridge – we will make a plaque that mentions the old bridge
    • We have had issues with ATVs rutting around where Five Island Lake meets the trail
    • Katherine is slowly delegating the tasks of the organization to other BLT members as she goes through the process of stepping down
  • Kimberly and Paul Berry – WRWEO
    • We have created monthly reports for the Bluff Trail Stewardship Program (BTSP) – available online
    • We have raised over $500 at the Good Robot fundraiser last August
    • Halifax Regional Trails Association (HRTA)
      • Trail camp – Oct. 13 and 14th
      • We have funding to develop a strategic plan from a business case standpoint
      • There will be a newer staff person designated to support HRTA
      • HRTA also recently changed banks to the Credit Union Atlantic
      • ECE Law – Mike Kofahl has presented to HRTA about working with groups, ECE Law may do pro-bono research for environmental groups.
      • Funding for recreational trails has been cut off, more or less, only ad hoc
      • Atlantic View Trails just bought new ATV exclusion gates and they were recently vandalized into non-function
    • we are having some troubles finding adequate contractors to fill our needs for trail maintenance – Jayden Gross – one of our board members has now launched a sole proprietorship to undertake these tasks
    • we have undertaken a full signage inventory for our trail – it has been very helpful
    • Jayden Gross is also making videos about the BTSP issues
    • Dogs off-leash continues to be a big issue on our trail – about 25% of dogs are on-leash
    • We are now tying our signs, not nailing them into trees
    • NSE is in process of drafting a new map for us
    • We have new trail markers at the Pot Lake/Mi’kmaw Hill Loop junction
    • Paul and Kim attending a reconciliation workshop for addressing watershed protection – it showed us that we could be taking on a greater role in advocacy support for issues such as environmental racism
    • Paul and Kim both detail the monthly BTSP reports and all of the data that they contain
  • Beth McGee – FBWHT, also reporting for Safety Minded ATV Club
    • Beth has been compiling all of the notes from the years of the FBWHT to create a formal compendium
    • 9 Mile River bridge – next task is to cut up the old bridge and transport it off site – the volunteers will be placing some supports and rockery that will prevent travelers from going over the embankments. This work is slated to happen this week.
    • Safety Minded ATV and ATVANs are working with Transportation Infrastructure Renewal to develop a plan that would include first a survey of the 6 kilometers between the Nine Mile River bridge and the HRM Parking Lot on Old Coach Road in Goodwood as a precursor to any plan to permission being given to upgrade the remaining 6 kilometers of the Old St Margarets Bay Road between Nine Mile River and Goodwood. The surveyor will begin work shortly.
    • FBWHT has been looking to garner greater support for their ‘counts’ at the BTCA counts
      • Hopes that BLT and WRWEO will provide volunteers
    • Mike Lancaster will send emails around about Forest Funeral and Ingram River Wilderness Area proposal
      • Support is requested from all organizations for these initiatives both in letter submissions and attendance at the rallies
    • Wednesday, Nov. 15 proposed as next meeting date. WRWEO will be the host group. Beth will organize a meeting place likely at Lakeside Community Centre.

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