HALIFAX, NS –
No matter the water capacity and traffic concerns, local residents have promoted the 525-first mobile park proposed near Elmsdale.
The Department of Land and Forestry says the proposed development has not addressed how it will treat other residents in the area: Endangered or threatened species, such as the wood turtle.
In a letter addressed to Shayne Vipond, a planner from Halifax Regional Municipality, the Department of Land and Forestry said it is concerned about the proposed development.
The residential development is proposed for 717 acres of land at Old Truro Road. The project was first presented by Cygnet Properties in 2014, but met with much criticism from people living close to the proposed website.
And the list of potential problems is growing.
“The site is within NS core habitat of the‘ threatened ’wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) as defined in the Nova Scotia Wood Turtle Species Recovery Plan,” said Donna Hurlburt, manager of biodiversity and endangered species at the department,.
Hurlburt said the area is “a significant commonly used habitat that supports the persistence and recovery of the species in NS.”
“A core definition of habitat implies that observations of wood turtles, and overwintering and breeding activity have taken place within the site’s footprint for many years,” she said.
Hurlburt noted that the center of the defined core habitat is currently not defined as such, there is “a very high probability that woody turtles can be regularly encountered in this area.”
There are also notes of other vulnerable or endangered species within three kilometers or less of the site, such as the eastern woodpecker, which is vulnerable under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act, observations, including a singing male and possible nesting habitat have been observed in the area.
Monarchs and small brown bats, which are listed as endangered by the act, have also been recorded in the area.
“These observations indicate that no work should proceed without consideration of permission from an endangered NS species,” Hurlburt said.
“No permit is currently held, nor has a permit application been submitted in connection with this project.”
The Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act introduces a number of restrictions, such as destroying, disturbing or disturbing the specific habitat or area occupied by one or more of endangered or threatened species.
“Permits for an Endangered Species Act can be issued for only two reasons, none of which apply to this project as currently described,” Hurlburt said.
Hurlburt’s letter was sent to the Halifax Northwest Region Community Council for its virtual public hearing on 14 December.
The council, which is due to approve or reject the development proposal, has postponed the matter until April 2021 pending a review of the concerns raised by the Department of Land and Forestry.
In an email statement to The Chronicle Herald, the Department of Land and Forestry declined to discuss the proposal because the matter “is now under legal review by the parties.”