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Eisner Cove Wetland activists call for halt to housing project; developer undeterred


Ignoring “no trespassing” signs, security guards and a Halifax Regional Police officer, environmental activist Lil Macpherson was among a handful of protestors who took the campaign to stop construction near Eisner Cove Wetland straight to the source.

“You can't clear cut around the wetland and expect the wetland to survive,” said MacPherson, moments before she and three others walked past construction tape and into the wooded construction site, where Clayton Developments has begun the work on a project to build 875 housing units.

The protestors’ actions were independent of the Southdale Wetland Society, which was formed to try and save the wetland but did have the society’s support.

“They're really upset about these trees going down,” said Bill Zebedee, the society’s president.

He recently filed an appeal with the Department of Environment over a planned causeway for Mount Hope Village which will cut directly through the wetland.

Zebedee’s efforts to locate a threatened species of tree — the black ash — came up empty.

But he's still worried other potential at-risk species could be impacted, and wants the province to halt the project.

“So that we can get proper independent tests done by surveyors that are agreed upon by all parties,” he said.

According to video taken by MacPherson, it appeared contractors temporarily stopped their heavy machinery as protestors walked further into the site.

Despite the presence of police, no arrests were made, and MacPherson and the others emerged about an hour later.

“The immediate goal is to get them to stop cutting the trees right now,” said protestor Jacob Fillmore. “But we're asking the city or the province to buy back the property here and restore it to the people as a green space.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment says Minister Timothy Halman is unable to ask questions about that, as it is his department that will review the Society’s appeal.

The province fast-tracked that work earlier this year as part of efforts to provide “more affordable” places to live in the city amidst a housing crisis.

According to the Nova Scotia government, the 55-acre parcel of land at issue was part of a sale of 101 acres of “surplus land” near Neptune Crescent by Crown corporation Innovacorp in January of 2020. The total land area was sold to AJ Legrow Holdings Ltd. for $680,000.

That company partnered with Clayton Developments for the Mount Hope Village project, which received approval from city council earlier this year.

A statement from Clayton Developments indicates the company is undeterred by opponents.

“Clayton developments is moving forward with approved new housing at mount hope." writes Kevin Neatt, the company's vice-president of planning and development.

“All activity has been authorized by HRM and the Province of Nova Scotia. As always, Clayton Developments continues to engage with the community on our path to build 875 new housing units at this site.”

According to the company’s project website, the project will eventually consist of six city blocks, with 42 per cent of the units described as "affordable housing in the range of 80% of equivalent market rents."


A previous version of this story stated the project will eventually consist of six city blocks, with 42 per cent of the units described as "affordable" housing, with rents in the range of 80 per cent below market equivalents. Top Stories

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