A Halifax-based environmental charity has started a campaign to save Sandy Lake and the Sackville River from the risk of a pending housing development.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the Ecology Action Centre decided to send valentine cards to the three municipal councillors of this area: Lisa Blackburn, Paul Russell, and Waye Mason.
The goal was to pressure them to get this area legally protected as a regional park.
“It’s a bottleneck for species such as moose, deers, frogs and snakes and many other creatures,” said Charlotte Connolly, the campaign’s support officer.
“So, if this area was developed, it would actually cut off ecological balance for these creatures instead of preserving them.”
The area is not only crucial to the environment, she said, but also provides an array of outdoor recreation activities like canoeing, swimming, hiking, and dog walking.
“It would really be a shame if we lost this immersive wilderness experience so close to the heart of the city,” said Connolly.
Connolly said if housing development is allowed in this area, it would degrade the lake’s water chemistry by adding pollutants. This would affect the ability of this area to act as a flood plain.
Just 1,000 acres of land are protected now. An additional 1,800 acres need to be protected, which is why the Ecology Action Centre is turning to “craftivism” to raise awareness.
“I just wanted to help protect Sandy Lake. I think it’s important to protect areas with natural habitat,” said Carly Mayhew Gallant, one of the group’s supporters.
At first glance, the cards might look like typical valentines. But they have messages specific to the area, like: “Will there be a happy ending for Sandy Lake?” and “The time is now! What will you do?”
Lisa Blackburn, Halifax’s deputy mayor, said staff have been actively trying to protect the land. But complications arose when one of the landowners near Sandy Lake was unwilling to sell their property or engage in a land swap with the government.
“Our staffers are still working with them to see what other little pockets of land around Sandy Lake can be taken care of and put under protection,” said Blackburn.
“So, we can ensure that the jewel of a crown of Halifax is kept safe for future generations.”
The love letters were not directed to Coun. Tim Outhit, who represents the area which includes Sandy Lake. He is an outspoken advocate in support of saving the area from development.
“I’ve already made it clear that I stand with saving the lake,” said Outhit in an interview Friday.
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I am from India studying journalism at the University of Kings College. I love going on hikes and cooking!