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Updated: Jan 15, 2020

An environmental coalition is asking the Halifax Regional Municipality to help it add 1,000 acres of land in Sandy Lake to a protected regional park.

The article can be found here.


Halifax city councillors made a change at Tuesday night’s council meeting that will allow for the protection of Halifax Regional Municipality’s wildlife and the corridors they use to move through the city’s ecosystem.

Councillors unanimously passed an amendment on Tuesday evening to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy, a long range strategy that outlines how future growth and development should take place in the HRM between now and 2031.

The strategy gets reviewed every few years to ensure that it accurately reflects the changing needs and goals of the city. The next review is not for another couple of years, and any future plans set to be introduced can not be put in place until the review.

The change is specifically to the implementation of the Halifax Green Network Plan, which is a city-wide initiative that has been established to ensure that the HRM can continue moving toward being a more eco-friendly city. The exact part of the Green Network Plan that is being changed allows council to go ahead with the protection of wildlife corridors. The corridors allow wildlife such as deer, birds and rabbits in the HRM to move between different habitats more easily.

Karen Robinson spoke for the Sandy Lake Coalition, a conservation group concerned with the protection and preservation of the ecosystem around the Sackville River area.

She is happy that city councillors were able to unanimously agree on an amendment that she believes will directly help Halifax’s ecosystem, by promoting a more vibrant and healthy ecological community.

“Citizens today can have peace of mind knowing that their city is doing something to tackle the larger issue of climate change,” said Robinson.

Robinson said the corridors will protect biodiversity, which is crucial to the survival of all species, including humans.

“This is a great day, it’ll be even better once we get the full plan implemented,” said Coun. Shawn Cleary who motioned to pass the amendment.

Council’s decision comes in the wake of recent protests across the world surrounding climate change. This past week in Halifax, more than 10,000 citizens gathered in front of city hall as part of a demonstration.


Deer hunting season is October 25 to December 7th 2019, and rabbit hunting continues to the last day of February 2020.

Yes, much of the Sandy/Jack/Marsh Lake to Sackville River area is city park land (see map) but there are privately owned lands interspersed.

Last year, residents and park users reported hearing guns being discharged almost daily during hunting season. Most may have been completely legal.

However, crossing in and out of public and private property can easily happen as there are no fences or signs in the woods saying, “You are now on park land”, or otherwise.

Also, last November a hunter carrying a shotgun was photographed on park land at Marsh Lake. Out of this concern last year, the city’s Parks Manager, with consultation from a Provincial Conservation Officer, wrote to us, “Hunters are within their right to hunt on the private portion of land as long as they are adhering to the discharge limits set for dwellings, schools, athletics fields, and forestry operation pursuant to the Firearm and Bow Regulations”. Also that:

- Hunting is not allowed on city park land. The Parks By-law (P-600) states that “while in any park, no person shall be in possession of or use any firearm, air gun, bow and arrow, axe or offensive weapon of any kind, except by permission”.

- Hunters are not allowed to cross over parkland carrying weapons of any kind to reach private land.

- Hunters are not allowed to hunt or discharge weapons within 804m of a school, or within 182m of a home or most other public places. (Note: there is a private school beside Sandy Lake and many residential areas bordering the park land and privately owned wooded areas.)

- Hunting is not allowed most Sundays except for special Sundays when hunters can kill any animal, except moose. (It is complicated.)

Park users are encouraged to exercise caution. Some have suggested wearing at least 50% of hunter orange, specifically on your head and outer clothing above the waist. For dogs, an orange vest is a way to prevent having your pet mistaken for a wild animal. You do not want to be mistaken for an animal in the woods by a hunter.

The Sandy Lake Conservation Association (SLCA), along with the Sandy Lake-Sackville River Regional Park Coalition, is working to expand the existing 1000 acre park into a cohesive 2000-acre park. To learn why and to sign up for the “Friends of Sandy Lake – Sackville River Regional Park News list”, use the Contact Us forms at: SLCA Website:

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