It’s decision day for the Birch Cove Lakes on Tuesday. That’s when Regional Council will vote on a motion that will decide if this area remains on track to become a regional park, or if it will be handed over for sprawling development. That’s the choice. It all comes down to how the Mayor and the 16 city councilors vote on Tuesday.
In the span of only a few months, the Nova Scotia government has taken several major steps backwards with the management of its forest industry. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) unilaterally dropped its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification on public lands within the Medway District of southwestern Nova Scotia.
So, when Birch Cove Lakes is discussed at Regional Council tomorrow, how might a concerned citizen tell if their particular councillor is truly working hard to create winning conditions for the Birch Cove Lakes regional park versus only talking about it. Well, there’s an easy answer to that. And it involves “secondary planning”.
1500 people took the time to write City Hall to talk about why the Birch Cove Lakes matters to them. That’s an extraordinarily enthusiastic response, particularly considering the obstacles that were placed in the way of full public participation. Several people sent copies of their letters to me, and I have to say, those letters were personal and heartfelt. They were well thought out and often contained personal stories and anecdotes about the Birch Cove Lakes and why protecting the place is important. So, the next step is for the elected councillors to actually read those letters, right?? Well, perhaps not.
With all the controversy swirling around the Birch Cove Lakes and the facilitator’s report, there has been a lot of talk about maps. Maps from the city; maps from the developers; Maps from the provincial government. It can all get a little confusing. Some are even arguing for a “larger park”, but are referencing the wrong map, which means they are actually asking for a “smaller park” than what’s already contained in the City’s regional plan. So, to help out, here’s a quick breakdown of the various maps for the Birch Cove Lakes.