Protesters want small island and reef restored, marine park created.

by Robert Devet

Mermaids too joined a rally to protest infill occurring at the Bedford Basin. Photo by Robert Devet
Mermaids too joined a rally to protest infill occurring at the Bedford Basin. Photo by Robert Devet
Well over a hundred protesters demanded an end to the infill and the restoration of the natural shoreline. Photo Robert Devet
Well over a hundred protesters demanded an end to the infill and the restoration of the natural shoreline. Photo Robert Devet
Crosby Island, the treed area shown in in the background, is now entirely land-bound as a result of the Waterfront Development Corporation infill activities.  Protesters want it restored to its old state.  Photo by Robert Devet
Crosby Island, the treed area shown in in the background, is now entirely land-bound as a result of the Waterfront Development Corporation infill activities. Protesters want it restored to its old state. Photo by Robert Devet
Walter Regan, of the Sackville Rivers Asociation, joined the rally because he is concerned about the effect of the infill on the health of the Sackville River watershed.  The Sackville River empties into the Bedford Basin.
Walter Regan, of the Sackville Rivers Asociation, joined the rally because he is concerned about the effect of the infill on the health of the Sackville River watershed. The Sackville River empties into the Bedford Basin.

Well over a hundred people gathered on the Bedford waterfront to protest the infill of parts of the Bedford Basin by the Waterfront Development Corporation (WDC). The protesters are asking provincial politicians to create a maritime park on the site instead.

The rally was organized by Save the Bedford Basin Reef.

Crosby Island, once indeed a small island, is now entirely land-bound as aresult of the infill. When completed the infill will have created a large parcel of land where once there existed a tidal pool providing shelter and nutrients to a variety of fish and migratory bird species.

Eventually HWC wants to develop the infilled land.  It could house as many as 6000 residents.

Walter Regan, President of the Sackville Rivers Association joined the protest because changes at the mouth of the Sackville River affect the entire Sackville River watershed area.

"Why are we destroying an island in this day and age," said Regan. "Why today are we ocean dumping in Halifax Harbour? We have been dumping into the harbour for 250 years, we are losing our intertidal areas."

Regan is concerned that intertidal areas are being systematically destroyed, turning Halifax Harbour into a deep water channel exclusively. He points to the infill activities in Bedford, but also at Kings Wharf in Halifax and Fairview Cove to illustrate his point.

"We need these intertidal areas for the spawning of saltwater fish and mussels and other life," said Regan. "This should not be allowed. We have to say enough is enough."

A WDC sign at the development states that the infill occurs in response to a request by the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment and Environment Canada to provide a safe disposal site for acid generating pyritic slate.

The pyritic slate, a naturally occurring rock excavated during development, is trucked here from anywhere in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. If not managed properly pyritic slate creates acid runoff, but when submerged in seawater it is deemed safe by the Department of Environment. 

The Save the Bedford Basin Reef group argues that long-term effects of the slate disposal are not known.

"We are calling for permanent closure of the dump site," said Mark Currie, one of the rally's organizers. "The WDC claims the infill has stopped, but it is only temporary. We are calling for a permanent closure."

Currie's group wants to turn the area into a provincial park. They also demand that the infill around the former Crosby Island be removed.

"There should be all kinds of wonderful and clever ways to develop that area into a marine park," said Currie.

"We are served on a silver platter this wonderful reef and little island, and an enormous natural tidal pool, right smack in the middle of [urban] HRM. Can you imagine how popular that would be if it was developed in a provincial park, for everybody in HRM?"