A Halifax councillor’s motion aiming to rezone three Purcells Cove backlands properties has passed.
As the Halifax Examiner reported last month, the three parcels for sale sit right next to the wilderness park recently created by the municipality and the Nature Conservancy of Canada — a 153-hectare (or 378-acre) park, twice the size of Point Pleasant Park. They paid a combined $6.6 million for that land.
The land next to the park, totalling 55 hectares (or 137 acres) is for sale for $4.5 million. The ad for the properties on ViewPoint touts them as a development opportunity, opening with an all-caps “ATTENTION” to developers and investors. The properties skirt the shorelines of Colpitt and Williams lakes.
Even though the high-priced properties have been on the market since November, Coun. Shawn Cleary, whose Halifax West Armdale district covers about half the land in question, doesn’t like the idea of any more development happening in the area.
“Williams Lake just really can’t take any more development,” Cleary said in an interview last month.
“It wouldn’t be too heavily developed, but any development in the area wouldn’t be appropriate.”
Cleary’s motion, drafted last month, seeks a report on rezoning the land. Two of the parcels are zoned for housing development, while the largest and closest to the park is partially zoned urban reserve — meaning it can’t be developed currently but could be in the future.
Cleary wants the whole area zoned urban reserve, and argued that zoning, combined with the city’s Green Network Plan, would provide adequate protection for the land.
The Halifax and West community council met via teleconference on Wednesday afternoon and the draft minutes were posted online Thursday morning.
According to the minutes, Cleary’s motion was seconded by Coun. Lindell Smith and passed. There are no details in the minutes of any debate or a breakdown of the vote.
In a news release on Thursday, the Ecology Action Centre applauded the vote.
“We are very pleased this next important step is being taken,” Karen McKendry, wilderness outreach coordinator for Ecology Action Centre said in the release.
“Current zoning is not in step with the conservation vision for the Backlands. Progress has been made on securing some lands for nature conservation and public access, but many spaces in this urban wilderness area are still in need of protection from incompatible development.”