News / Halifax

Halifax regional council moves ahead with proposed Purcells Cove park

Council directed staff to begin negotiations to buy 379 acres around Williams and Colpitts Lakes from The Shaw Group, but the proposed price is a secret.

Part of the proposed Williams Lake park area

CONTRIBUTED/MIKE DEMBECK

Part of the proposed Williams Lake park area

Halifax regional council voted Tuesday to start the process to create a wilderness park on the Purcell’s Cove Backlands, but the public is in the dark when it comes to how much that might cost.

Council directed municipal staff to begin negotiations to buy 379 acres around Williams and Colpitts Lakes from The Shaw Group, and then return to council for “consideration of key terms” of the wilderness park proposal with Shaw and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).

“This is a motion that is going to positively affect not only the people today, next year, but for generations to come,” area Coun. Steve Adams told his fellow councillors on Tuesday.

“This is going to go down as one of the best decisions we’ve made with respect to green space.”

The proposal would put the land in the municipality’s control, 170 acres by deed transfer from the Shaw Group and 209 acres on a 99-year land lease from the NCC.

A rendering of the proposed park boundaries.

Contributed

A rendering of the proposed park boundaries.

Staff has yet to begin negotiations on a price of the transfer and lease, though the staff report says it’s believed it can be bought at fair market value. The seller has given a proposed purchase price, but that figure is hidden in an in camera report.

That was a problem for one councillor – the only vote against the motion.

“I agree this is beautiful land. My problem, as I said with the Birch Cove Blue Water, I don’t know the price,” said Coun. Gloria McCluskey.

“I’d like to see the price before I vote on it because I’m not here willing to have taxpayers of HRM agree to buy land when we don’t know how much it’s going to cost.”

Council didn’t decide to purchase the land on Tuesday though, only to begin negotiations. That decision will be made after staff reports back.

The Shaw Group’s proposal also asks for primary naming rights on the future park, which chairman Allan Shaw told Metro is “a legacy thing.”

“If we’re gonna pay fair market value, we should not give any naming rights,” Coun. Linda Mosher said during debate on Tuesday.

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