The many maps of the Birch Cove Lakes


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.


HRM regional plan 2006 (Map 13): This is the preferred boundary for the regional park contained in the original HRM regional plan that was approved in 2006.

HRM regional plan (current) (Map 11): This is the map contained within the current version of the HRM regional plan, having gone through a comprehensive review in 2013 and 2014. The preferred boundary for the regional park is unchanged from the original 2006 map (though it is now referred to as Map 11 instead of Map 13, and now shows the provincial protected wilderness area which was designated in 2009)

Map contained in the Facilitator’s report: This map seems to have been prepared by the developers who own land within the preferred park boundary for Birch Cove Lakes regional park (see corporate logos). Some refer to this as the developer’s “fantasy map”. This map was presented as part of the negotiations between the city and the developers. This map shows a development proposal occurring within the significant majority of the regional park boundary from the HRM regional plan (above).

Map 3A: This is the map that was prepared by City staff as part of the regional park land negotiations, but unlike the developer’s map, Map 3A was not included within the facilitator’s report. This map has never been made public. If there’s a 3A, then presumably there is a 2A?, 2B?, 3B?, but I can’t prove that. The regional park boundary for Map 3A is likely smaller than the boundary shown in the HRM regional plan.

Provincial protected area map: This is the map from the provincial government which shows the boundary of the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes protected wilderness area, which was created in 2009 and expanded in 2015.  This provincial protected area applies to provincial public lands, not private lands.

Frontcountry and Backcountry map: This map was prepared by City staff and shows the combined Municipal and Provincial vision for the protection of the entire Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes wilderness lands (including the provincial protected wilderness area and the adjacent regional park).  This map was posted on the City webpage as recently as a few months ago, but has since been removed. (Don’t worry, we capture all information that has been published from the government on the Birch Cove Lakes and are happy to share publicly).