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Worries over wetlands, turtles rejected as N.S. approves road for housing development

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Nova Scotia’s environment minister has rejected an application to halt an access road for a housing development near a wetland in a suburb of Halifax. The two appellants, William Zebedee and the Ecology Action Centre, requested
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Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change Minister Tim Halman poses for a photo at the legislature in Halifax, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Halman has rejected an application by environmentalists to halt an access road for a housing development near a wetland in a suburb of Halifax.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Keith Doucette

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — Nova Scotia’s environment minister has rejected an application to halt an access road for a housing development near a wetland in a suburb of Halifax.

The two appellants, William Zebedee and the Ecology Action Centre, requested the wetland alteration approval be withdrawn based on several claims, including that the Eisner Cove wetland in Dartmouth is of special significance and that the development threatened wood turtles in the area.

In its response, the Environment Department says in a release today that it found no grounds for the claims for the affected area of slightly less than a hectare.

The decision said several surveys found no evidence of wood turtles at the project site and an independent ecologist also determined the area is not a suitable core habitat for wood turtles.

It also found the area being approved for the road does not meet the criteria to be considered a wetland of special significance.

The ruling from Environment Minister Tim Halman says the appellants have 30 days to appeal.

Four people were recently arrested on obstruction charges for allegedly blocking police and construction vehicles during a protest at the site on Sept. 7.

The Ecology Action Centre has criticized the development, saying last year that while it accepted the province needs to increase its housing stock, the Eisner Cove lands were adjacent to valuable wetlands.

An advocacy group also said earlier this year it had located black ash at the wetland, noting the tree species is at risk.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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