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Halifax council wants management plan for Kearney Lake

Residents fear how large-scale development will affect their community

3 min read
caption A woman strolls at Kearney Lake Beach on Monday.
Will McLernon

Regional council asked for a management plan for Kearney Lake on Tuesday in light of plans that will add at least 3,000 people to the area in the next few years.

Coun. Kathryn Morse’s motion was passed unanimously. The goal of the management plan would be to protect the quality of the water and address the sustainability of the multiple recreational uses of the lake. Kearney Lake has a public beach, a popular aquatic club and various hiking trails.

Morse said all these recreational uses are becoming extremely popular and are putting pressure on the lake.

“I’m hoping we could get a little bit ahead of some of the development and come up with some measures to protect the lake before anything happens,” Morse said while addressing council.

Clayton Developments is proposing the construction of residential and commercial units in Bedford, including Kearney Lake Road.  A public hearing for the developments has been scheduled for next Tuesday at council.

Morse said the plan should address the need for more recreational infrastructure such as washrooms, lifeguards and better access points. She said there are safety issues with the amount of people arriving at Kearney Lake and parking on a very narrow road.

“We want to improve the safety issues and find ways to add more people,” Morse said in an interview. “But control the runoff that might be going into the lake and ensure it’s filtered and cleaned so that we can protect the lake’s quality.”

Mary Ann McGrath, who chairs the Kearney Lake Residents Association, is concerned about how the development will affect her community. She said the lake is already overused and doesn’t have the capacity to handle much more.

McGrath said she worries about safety at Kearney Lake Beach. She said enlarging the parking lot will encourage too many people to come to the small beach and the lifeguards won’t be able to safely watch all the beachgoers.

“Our kids generally don’t go to the public beach to swim because it’s too crowded and not safe,” McGrath said. “Those facilities that were put there in the ’70s for the (Kearney Lake) community are now public facilities for a much larger community.”

McGrath said people routinely park illegally on the street leading up to the beach and walk in the middle of the road, which congests traffic.

“How do our neighbours access an ambulance if somebody’s blocking the road?” McGrath said. “That’s the kind of stuff we’re worried about because we are on a dead-end street and there are no other exits.”

McGrath said there needs to be some way to control demand on the Kearney Lake region. She suggested potentially siting a second beach or restricting the number of people who could access the parking lots around the lake.

Deputy Mayor Pam Lovelace brought forward a friendly amendment to include the streams contributing to Kearney Lake in the management plan. Morse accepted.

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About the author

Will McLernon

Will McLernon is a journalist with The Signal. He is currently finishing up his Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) degree with a minor in International...

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