Save the Baille Ard Forest

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In response to the devastating flooding of 2016, CBRM Mayor and Council approved a flood mitigation plan which includes a significant holding pond in the Baille Ard Forest. To create this holding pond they will build a number of large berms that will crisscross the Baille Ard Trail. These berms will destroy the integrity of the forest and trail system. An environmental impact assessment and proper public consultation, which are important for successful flood resilience planning, were not conducted. 

We are a group of community members who believe the Baille Ard Trail is an important community asset. The trail is used for healthy physical activity, maintenance of mental health, and outdoor learning. It is also an important natural sanctuary that is home to many animals and plants. Baille Ard is a beautiful urban forest within the city of Sydney. If it is destroyed the community will lose this important asset.

Many of the testimonials on the impact this forest has on our community can be seen here on Save the Baille Ard Forest facebook page.

The CBRM has an opportunity to be a leader for Nova Scotia in the area of flood mitigation. A comprehensive flood mitigation program which results in greater protection for homes, schools, organizations and businesses; an increase in community health and recreation resources; and an increase in ecological resiliency in the face of climate change could serve as a model for the province and a source of pride for the CBRM.

We the undersigned ask that CBRM Mayor and Council revisit the flood mitigation plan and open up meaningful public dialogue with an aim to develop a comprehensive plan that protects the built assets along the Washbrook while protecting the natural asset that is Baille Ard. To that end we ask that the CBRM Council

  1. Pause current mitigation planning and activities for Baille Ard
  2. Requests an extension of the deadline to spend federal funding on flood mitigation
  3. Work with stakeholders to develop a multidisciplinary team of experts to advise on all aspects of the plan
  4. Complete environmental and social impact assessments
  5. Conduct comprehensive public consultation, including a citizen advisory committee

As a community, we can invest in a combination of built infrastructure and the protection and enhancement of natural areas to create a flood mitigation system that provides an array of ecosystem services, recreational opportunities, and tourist attractions.