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Western Common Lands Protected
(Friday, July 7/2000)-- A land area slightly larger than peninsula Halifax has been set aside and protected in the western region of the Halifax Regional Municipality for future park and recreation uses.
District 22 Councillor Reg Ranking (Hammonds Plains/Timberlea) and District 23 Councillor Jack Mitchell (St. Margaret's Bay/Prospect) played leading roles in having the more than 6,000 acres, to be known as the "Western Common," designated as parkland for future generations. The area stretches southeasterly from Highway #103, between Prospect Road and the Nile Mile River, to Nichols Lake.
Both Councillors commended the former City of Halifax for having the foresight to acquire the land from the former Halifax Water Commission and thanked their colleagues on Halifax Regional Council for supporting their efforts to have the land protected.
Most of the lands had been originally purchased by the former Halifax Water Commission to protect Big Indian Lake when it served as a potable water supply for the city. When the Pockwock Lake system was commissioned, the Water Commission conveyed the lands to the former City of Halifax. Subsequently, HRM acquired the land, as well as additional abutting lands near Otter Lake.
A citizen advisory committee, the Western Region Needs Assessment Committee, was established in 1997 to make recommendations as to how these lands might be best utilized for the neighbouring communities and the broader region. Community input was sought and a final plan was submitted to Regional Council in February and approved this month.
Councillor Rankin said "Our actions today will provide prime park and recreational lands for the generations of tomorrow. These lands are preserved under the Municipal Planning Strategy and protected under the land use by-laws. The Western Common will bring the people of the neighbouring communities a mix of parkland, wilderness areas and prime recreational facilities."
Councillor Mitchell said "Thanks to staff, members of the advisory committee and the strong support from our fellow Councillors, a dream has become a reality for the people of the Western Region. These lands will provide many hours of freedom and enjoyment for people of all ages for many generations to come."
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Councillor Reg Rankin
Councillor Jack Mitchell