The provincial government has approved the fast-tracked Port Wallace development in Dartmouth.
Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Lohr approved planning document amendments on Jan. 26, and a development agreement between Clayton Developments and Halifax Regional Municipality on Jan. 31, according to HRM. The municipality placed an ad in the Chronicle Herald last Friday, Feb. 3.
The project will see up to 4,900 new homes built on a 220-hectare site in Port Wallace, off Waverley Road in Dartmouth. It’s one of the province’s special planning areas, along with the already-approved the Eisner Cove development and the Penhorn Mall redevelopment.
Lohr approves those projects based on recommendations from the Executive Panel on Housing in the Halifax Regional Municipality. That panel meets in secret, with minutes and even agendas posted months after the fact. Currently the most recent available agenda is from November 2022, and contains no detail.
But as the Halifax Examiner has reported extensively, there are myriad environmental issues with the project.
Joan Baxter reported on those issues over a four-part series, Port Wallace Gamble: the real estate boom meets Nova Scotia’s toxic mine legacy. Click the links to read each part: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
As Baxter reported, Barry’s Run, a waterway running through the site, and the surrounding land is contaminated with arsenic-laced historic tailings from Montague Gold mines upstream. Any development in the area risks contaminating Lake Charles downstream, and the chain of lakes flowing out to the ocean from there.
The provincial government says the development will be subject to all environmental regulations.