Environmental concerns are being raised about a proposed development in Dartmouth, N.S.
On Tuesday, Halifax regional council agreed to start a development agreement process for 45 hectares of land between the Woodside Industrial Park and Highway 111.
The developer wants to build 700 units of "attainable housing" for middle-income earners in what municipal planners call the Southdale Future Growth Node. It's known as the Eisner Cove Wetland to local residents.
"It's a special place with a mix of trees, ferns and wildlife. It's just beautiful to walk through there," said Susan Van Iderstine.
The developers plan to retain the wetland as a green space feature of the development and create trails around it. Van Iderstine said she appreciates the move, but is not sure it will be enough.
"The wooded area on both sides where they're planning to develop is what drains into the wetland and creates that pristine watercourse and supports the wildlife and flora," said Van Iderstine.
'It's not going to survive as it is'
According to a retired biology professor who has visited the site a number of times, it is not just a wetland, but a watercourse.
David Patriquin said he does not believe widening the buffer zone will protect the area.
"There's fairly steeply sloping land on either side of it, and that's the land they are developing, so I don't think it's got a chance ... it's just not going to survive as it is," said Patriquin, a member of the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society.
Patriquin is also worried about the impact of road salt.
"You can't filter that out with a buffer; [salt] just goes through everything."
Giving residents a chance to weigh in
Van Iderstine has written to municipal officials, the premier and the minister of environment about her concerns. She hopes the development agreement process will allow the public to provide meaningful feedback.
The councillor for the area did ask planners about the public participation for this proposal.
"There's a lot of interest in this in the broader area, so notification should be on a more neighbourhood level," said Coun. Sam Austin.
Planners told Halifax regional council they are considering a "fairly large area" for the mail-outs.
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