The Halifax city skyline is seen at sunset from Dartmouth. In the foreground there's a rocky outcropping with a log and an old tire. There's another rocky outcropping in the mid-ground, the King's Wharf pier.
Dartmouth Cove in August 2021. — Photo: Zane Woodford

The federal government received nearly 500 comments about an application to infill part of Dartmouth Cove, but the municipal government missed the deadline.

As the Halifax Examiner reported last month, a numbered company owned by Bruce Wood has applied to fill in part of Halifax Harbour at the cove with excavated rock from construction sites, including pyritic slate. More than 150 people in the community, many of whom use the cove and the walking path next to it, went to a public meeting at the Zatzman Sportsplex to express their opposition. At a meeting the next day, Halifax regional council passed a motion from Dartmouth Centre Coun. Sam Austin to add the municipality’s voice to the opposition, “during the application’s comment period.”

Austin’s motion continued: “The submission should consider the surrounding land uses, proximity to railway operations, what development rights the resulting property would have under the recently approved Centre Plan, and the potential negative implications for the greater public of disrupting access to the Harbour Trail.”

The deadline for submissions to Transport Canada was at 5am on June 10. A few days later, Transport Canada spokesperson Frédérica Dupuis confirmed the number of submissions to the Examiner.

“Transport Canada has received 493 comments for the Dartmouth Cove application, which will be reviewed to understand any potential impacts on navigation,” Dupuis wrote in an email.

“The next step is to undertake a parallel review of the application with other government departments and consult with Indigenous communities. Since the process involves other organizations, there is no set deadline for rendering a decision.”

Included in those was a submission from the Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE). Spokesperson Leslie Munro declined to share the submission with the Examiner, but confirmed it was sent on time.

“The operations of the site and the ability of the 70 ocean technology companies to use the facility without affecting their ability to develop ocean innovation are our utmost concern,” Munro wrote in an email.

But the municipality missed the deadline, and took a week to answer the Examiner’s questions about it.

“Municipal staff have been working on a response to the motion to make a submission to Transport Canada, however it was not ready in time to meet the initial deadline,” HRM spokesperson Ryan Nearing wrote in an email.

“Staff have now prepared a letter to the Minister of Transport Canada outlining the municipality’s concerns with this project and this is intended to meet the same purpose of the submission.”

The Examiner asked for a copy of the letter, and hasn’t received it.

“The letter is still making it’s [sic] way through staff approvals, I hope to have an update on timing in the coming days,” Nearing wrote on Tuesday.

Despite blowing the deadline, it’s expected Transport Canada will still consider HRM’s submission.

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. Disappointed in the HRM. As I write this I am walking on Spring Garden Road and feeling overwhelmed at the ugliness of what was a very pleasant street. The planning department provides no leadership at all and the city is suffering. This was a priority. And yes, we are a developer’s town. Very little sense of the public good!

  2. If I missed an important deadline (maybe they don’t see it as such) at my work, I would be fired

  3. Given the city’s willingness to give developers whatever they want it’s probably because everyone on staff knows the project will get the go ahead so what’s the point of raising a fake objection?

  4. HRM had 30 days to file a submission. Pathetic that the council and staff could not meet the deadline.