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Frequently Asked Questions

Interested in knowing more about the proposed infill project? Learn more about the work that's being proposed and better understand the impacts to the surrounding community.

  • Why are they suggesting Dartmouth Cove?
    The developer chose Dartmouth Cove because they were able to purchase a pre-Confederation water lot. These lots, unlike most water bodies, are in private hands. The jurisdiction for these lots is fairly limited, and there are few rules that the Municipality or the Province have to oversee how these lots are used. The developer is choosing to try and exploit the legal loopholes that surround these lots for profit by getting paid to dispose of fill from nearby construction sites. Although there are no current zoning regulations or plans for this lot, ultimately the developer is hoping that they can develop that newly created land.
  • Would preventing or cancelling this project impact development in the city?
    As of April 30, 2024 - there are no active developments that have been publically tied to the infill of this lot. The Halifax Port Authority has approved sequestration sites ready to go today, where pyritic slate can be safely disposed of for any ongoing developments. Final approvals have not been received from all governing bodies to proceed with the infill. It would be irresponsible development to tie any timeline or dependancies of any upcoming or ongoing project to this lot infill that has already undergone 2 years of delays with approvals.
  • Would this project help support the much needed solution for the housing crisis in HRM?
    While HRM is experiencing an unprecedented need for housing, allowing the infill project with hopes of further development, is not the solution. As Councilor Sam Austin and MLA Claudia Chender have repeatedly mentioned, the zoning regulation for the land would only allow for zoning of the Dartmouth Commons - so essentially, parkland. If the developers chose to hold the city hostage, and refused to redevelop the land for anything other than mixed use, this likely will not be for affordable housing.
  • Infill has already been done for King’s Wharf and in the Bedford Basin. So why not Dartmouth Cove?
    It’s true that infilling has been used within the Harbour for other projects such as King’s Wharf and the Cargo terminal in Bedford Basin. However, these were areas that had future development plans outlined as part of their project. This was not dumping for the purpose of getting rid of pyritic slate or to simply to create new land that could possibly be developed. There are also publicly designated sites throughout HRM where pyritic slate can be properly disposed of in a safe manner without ever using a private site such as this.
  • Hasn’t Dartmouth Cove already been used for dumping waste in the past?
    The developer is claiming that because Dartmouth Cove was used as a dumping ground for raw sewage and industrial waste, that the area is unfit for anything other than infill. While it is true that waste was dumped in the Cove, and Halifax Harbour for years, local citizens advocated for years for proper waste water treatment. In 2008, a proper waste water treatment plant was opened and Halifax Harbour, along with Dartmouth Cove was cleaned up. This has allowed for recreational and fishing activities to recently resume in the area.
  • What type of monitoring will be done to assess environmental impact?
    The developer states in his proposal that during infill, “Infilling activities will be visually monitored, and additional mitigation will be implemented as necessary in the event that a visible sediment plume migrates beyond the silt curtain.” Essentially there will be no testing of water quality or anything beyond waiting for a problem to be observed and trying to fix it after the fact.
  • What is the ecosystem like in the area given the history of dumping in the Cove?
    After the waste water treatment system was opened in 2008, Dartmouth Cove has become an increasingly more attractive area for wildlife and recreational activities. Fish, lobster, seals, river otters and other animals have all been spotted in the Cove. Infilling in other areas of the Harbour already impacts fishing activity that has been running for years withing the Harbour. There have been 115 bird species recorded in Dartmouth Cove on, two of which are species listed under Canada's Species at Risk Act: Barrow's Goldeneye and Harlequin Duck. In addition to wildlife, local residents have been using the Cove more frequently for kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and other recreational activities.
  • Why hasn’t the community been consulted?
    While the developer claims that the project is in early stages and they intended on consulting with the community once they received approval, it’s more likely that they were hoping that this proposal would move through the process unnoticed until it was too late. With pre-Confederation water lots, only federal approval is needed, and they’re primarily concerned with navigation rights. As of April 2024, the Atlantic Road Construction and Paving has yet to hold any type of consultation with the community.
  • Didn’t the developer provide the lands in order to build the trail?
    The current owner of the land, Bruce Wood, purchased the pre-Confederation water lot in April of 2021. The easement for the waterfront trail and the wastewater infrastructure that it sits upon, was negotiated with the previous owner and would have been a condition of the sale of the lot.
  • Would the waterfront trail still be accessible during this time?
    The developer claims that there have been discussions about preserving access to the waterfront trail during the course of the project, however, no one in the municipality seemed to be aware of this project before concerned parties brought the proposal to light. They have outlined that there are times when the trail would need to be closed for safety reasons. There is no specifics given on how long this time period would be. In addition to closing the trail for safety reasons, it can be assumed that when the trail is open, heavy machinery, dust and noise will make it an unusable option for many pedestrians and cyclists.
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