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St. Mary's Boat Club is situated in the South end of Halifax, on the Northwest Arm. Photo: Google Images

Community members applaud council’s motion to protect Northwest Arm from infilling

By Caitlin Snow Jan 10, 2024 | 1:54 PM

If you are one of many community members who enjoy the Northwest Arm, this will come as welcome news.

Along with the federal government, Halifax Regional Council approved planning Tuesday night to protect the ocean space from infilling.

It’s when property owners put in rock and soil to extend their property into the arm. Select owners had applied to infill pre-Confederation water lots.

MP Andy Filmore has been working on the issue for the last couple of years. He’s brought several Federal Ministers to the Arm to discuss the issue, as well as engaging with officials at all levels of government with the help of the Impact Assessment Agency. Jurisdictional issues were then solved, leading the way for HRM to go ahead with amendments to the by-laws.

“For countless Haligonians, the Northwest Arm is a special place of recreation, enjoyed for sailing, canoeing and swimming. It’s also important to our city’s climate resiliency, abutting the Armdale Rotary, a critical piece of transportation infrastructure,” MP Fillmore said. “The level of partnership across government and community on this issue reflects the important multifaceted role the Northwest Arm represents in our city’s past, present and future.”

He says the level of partnership between government and community on the matter, reflects the important role the Arm represents in our city’s past, present and future.

HRM Councilor for District 11, Patty Cuttell, said the roomful of community members applauded when the motion passed.

“Halifax is an ocean city, and the Northwest Arm is like our ocean common,” said Councillor Cuttell. “Protecting the Arm from infilling means we are protecting public access to this shared blue space for generations to come.”

Conservation advocate and Northwest Arm resident Allan Shaw spoke in support of the amendments at the municipality’s public hearing.

“The vast majority of people who use and enjoy the Northwest Arm do not live on the Arm,” said Mr. Shaw. “Arm infill is public water being appropriated to create private land. Our prime concern must be to preserve and protect these waters for all, forever.”

Just a few procedural steps remain.