A “glamping” project got the green light from the Halifax and West Community Council Wednesday night following a public hearing.

David Cahill, owner of Wilderness Stays, proposed a “a low impact tourist development” at the corner of Prospect and McGraths Cove roads on Eastern Lake — located roughly between Peggy’s Cove and Prospect, about 30 km from the peninsula.

The development consists of up to 35 sites. Twenty of those will be traditional tent sites and 15 of them will be “glamping” sites.

“Glamping” combines the words “glamorous” and “camping,” described by municipal planner Maria Jacobs as “a type of camping which includes provision of some of the comforts and luxuries of home.”

Cahill appeared before the community council for a public hearing Wednesday night, but no one signed up to speak for or against his proposal. He told the council the glamping sites could include yurts, tipis, treehouses and other non-traditional tent-like structures that he said would be sustainably built.

“We’re not afraid to be innovative in our approach to building. The environment matters to us,” Cahill said, and “efficiency is key.”

A slide from Cahill’s presentation shows an example of one of the “glamping” sites.
A slide from Cahill’s presentation shows an example of one of the “glamping” sites.

Guests will come from all over the world due to the site’s proximity to Peggy’s Cove and the scenic area, Cahill said.

According to planner Jacobs’ staff report to the community council, the 18.9-hectare (46.7-acre) site will also house a boat launch, cafe and communal areas, rope and obstacle courses, climbing walls, a boardwalk, and a two-unit dwelling for Cahill and his staff.

The proposal is considered a commercial recreation use under the land-use bylaw for the area, and not permitted as of right. The bylaw does allow for commercial recreation use under a development agreement, however, as long as it doesn’t “negatively affect the surrounding natural or residential environments.”

Cahill’s full site plan
Cahill’s full site plan

Though no one showed up virtually to speak to the project, there was a public information meeting held about a year ago and residents raised some concerns, mostly about the impact on Eastern Lake.

The development agreement includes minimum setbacks from the lake. Cahill will also be required to apply for a building permit for each structure.

“This is fascinating,” said Coun. Stephen Adams, the chair of the community council and the councillor for the area.

“I’m really impressed with not only the presentation, but the concept, the idea. This is unique, well unique to our area anyway. I support this.”

The motion passed unanimously. Cahill has 120 days to sign the development agreement.

Three more proposals move along after Wednesday’s meeting

The community council voted to schedule public hearings for three more proposals:

  • A proposed development agreement “to reconfigure an existing non-conforming commercial/residential building” on Hunter Street to a six-unit apartment building
  • A proposed development agreement for a gas station and drive-thru on Prospect Road between Goodwood and Hatchet Lake
  • A proposed development agreement for a 262-unit subdivision off Herring Cove Road past Spryfield
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Zane Woodford

Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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  1. This sounds very interesting, it looks like the glamping that one can do at various Parks Canada sites.
    Once completed it would be an ideal opportunity for persons with limited means within HRM to engage in the camping experience without having to go too far away, or to have an RV or a trailer.


  2. Adams is right what a great idea. just getting off the damp ground is a biggy when camping. I see this as a great example of “thinking outside the box”. Wish them all the best in the future and know this will be a successful venture and an asset to the community.