Property owner submits proposal to infill part of Northwest Arm in Halifax
Nova Scotia has more than 13,000 kilometres of coastline. That's great for recreation but it has also made the province a target for climate change.
“In Nova Scotia we have the highest sea level rise predictions in the country,” says Nancy Anningston, the senior coastal adaptation coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre.
That’s why a proposal by a property owner to infill part of the Northwest Arm is not going over well with the environmental organization.
The plan is to extend the property into the waterway by 45 metres.
“This is not the time to be in filling out into the ocean, this is the time to be pulling back from the ocean,” says Anningston.
Neither the city nor the province has any jurisdiction over the proposed development. Federally, Transport Canada's only criteria for evaluating such a project is its effect on the navigability of the waterway, which, on its own is not significant.
Anningston says the only hope of halting the proposal lies with the Department of Fisheries.
“Hopefully, Fisheries and Oceans will come out and see there are lobster here getting caught and grown and all kinds of other important species.”
The province is close to being able to pass judgement on developments like this. Two years ago they brought in the Coastal Protection Act. Its intention is to be able to protect the coastline from potentially harmful developments. But Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill says the law is ineffective
“Since the law was passed it has not been brought into force. Its regulations have been delayed and delayed and delayed,” said Burrill.
As a result, Burrill is calling for a halt on approvals for infilling along the arm until proper assessments can be performed.
Anningston says if all the lots along the Northwest Arm were infilled, the water area would decrease by a third.
A public notice from Transport Canada identifies the landowner as Andrew Metlege. CTV News was unable to reach him for comment.