Residents urged to oppose project
Slam townhouse-marina development at public meeting
By BARRY DOREY*
HALIFAX (29 November 2005) -- THERE was impassioned talk, there were fancy acronyms such as LULU, there was even somewhat confusing talk of "detuning."
But no matter what the words and no matter who spoke them, the message was the same at a public hearing Monday night in Black Point.
"I call on everyone to oppose this and we will oppose this to the end," Tony Seed said.
The community-wide opposition — which led 200 residents to come out, many of them prepared to speak their full five minutes in protest — stems from a proposal by Destiny Developments.
It would feature 17 townhouses, a gazebo, a marina, a pool and a boat launch, as well as docks for 31 boats, a 110-metre seawall and a 70-metre breakwater, within a one-hectare water lot.
The breakwater would extend into the Ingram River estuary and "permanently alter the character of the bay," according to resident Martin Ward.
There is also an application to lease public seabed to build the breakwater.
Halifax Regional Municipality staffers have already given their blessing to the project, which may largely be permissible under a 1991 development agreement that is still on the books. One resident said the developer wants to "detune" the project, which apparently meant to tone it down or reduce its scope.
Late in the hearing, which began at 7 p.m. at the Black Point Fire Hall and wrapped up shortly before 11 p.m., the developer indicated he would discuss scaling back the project and the issue was deferred to the next Western Region community council session.
Another resident, who referred to surveys and polls showing near unanimous opposition to any type of large project there, called it a LULU — locally unwanted land use.
One speaker questioned councillors’ motives in holding the meeting on "dumping day," the day many locals hit the water for the start of lobster season.
If the project’s opponents were worried about a small turnout, their fears were unfounded. Vehicles lined the highway for a half-kilometre in either direction as residents made sure their voices were heard in their last opportunity to head off the project.
Fisherman Caleb Coolen whipped the crowd into a frenzy by waving the lobster licence he got in 1941 and stating the development would wreck his livelihood. The 75-year-old also brought a 30-metre length of fishing net to illustrate another point.
Michelle Adams said residents have been alternately labelled uneducated bumpkins who fear progress or "elitist landowners" trying to hog the shoreline for themselves.
Mr. Ward said council must balance citizens’ wishes with progress, but in this case the developer is using public lands.
"This is not Destiny Development’s land, this is our land," he said, adding the staff report in support of the project was slanted. He urged councillors to "get it right."
Others feared that the water demands of such a busy project would "suck the water dry in this community." Many locals already have problems with well water.
*Staff Reporter for the Halifax Chronicle Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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