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Transport Canada Rescinding its Approval on Dartmouth Cove Infill

In a surprising move, Transport Canada is walking back its approval to Atlantic Road Construction and Paving to infill Dartmouth Cove.

On Wednesday afternoon, MP Darren Fisher released a statement announcing that Transport Canada would be beginning the process to rescind its approval to Atlantic Road Construction and Paving (ARCP) to infill Dartmouth Cove.

The proposal, which had been approved by Transport Canada in April, is currently under review by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It was scheduled to start September 1, 2024, but with this recent update, that start date is unlikely to happen. The Centre for Ocean Venture and Entrepreneurship at one end of the Cove had requested a judicial review of Transport Canada’s decision in May, and based on that legal action, Transport Canada has rescinded their decision.

In an interview with CBC news, Bruce Wood, CFO of Atlantic Road Construction and Paving, said, “We're kind of in shock.” They plan to continue moving forward with the proposal, but the assessment period with Transport Canada has essentially been reset.

Halifax City Council passed Councillor Sam Austin’s motions to have the Mayor draft letters to Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, as well the request to prepare a staff report on making bylaw amendments to help restrict infilling in Dartmouth Cove similar to the Northwest Arm. Councillor Austin has said that this work to prevent infilling can only be successful with the cooperation of the federal government. While the Minister of Transportation has said in written communication that his department would work with HRM to help put together a bylaw, Councillor Austin has been very clear that this is not what they had heard at the Transport Canada staff level in the past. This seems to have recently changed, opening up the door for more impactful bylaw amendments.

MP Darren Fisher has repeatedly said that the strongest move to stop infilling in lots such as this is a municipal bylaw. While Transport Canada is concerned with navigation, and the Department of Fisheries is concerned with fish habitats, there is room for the municipality to exercise legislation when it comes to land use and activities such as infilling.

While this doesn’t mean that the project is dead at the moment, it gives advocates and politicians much more time to put the right guardrails in place to ensure it doesn’t see the light of day. We would encourage community members to follow up with HRM City Council to ensure that it sees the action items from this past Council session through to fruition.

To everyone who has already written letters, made phone calls, and spread the message, thank you so much for your dedication and advocacy. Together we will ensure that the Cove is protected for generations to come.

Please ensure you check back soon for updates on how you can continue to fight to save Dartmouth Cove.


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