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August 5, 2023: Dartmouth hammered by more rain — dire predictions re Eisner Wetland "development" proving true

Dartmouth Group calls for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to Immediately stop
further destruction of Eisner Cove Wetland
— July 30, 2023, pdf

DARTMOUTH —Since February 2022 the Save Our Southdale Wetland Society has been calling on the government to stop the development plans at Eisner Cove Wetland in Dartmouth. Part of their concerns centred on the increased risk of pollution entering the watercourse.

"We now have irrefutable proof of what we've been saying all along," said Bill Zebedee, President of the Society. "Clearcutting activities and grubbing of the overburden has destroyed the wetland, and that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change should never have approved the wetland alteration."

Using drone footage and on the ground truth-seeking photos, the Society says that silt from the recent storm has entered the waterway.

Protect Wetlands

"Siltation," says Hydrogeologist Peter Lund, "that enters the water, as a result of human activity, doesn't only occur through surface water, it can happen underground. Either way you look at it, large amounts of siltation have entered the wetland and this could very well mean the end of Eisner Cove Wetland."

The Society points to the PEI government's Wetlands and Soil Erosion Fact Sheet which states sediment can actually fill and destroy wetlands. It "prevents sunlight from reaching" the life in the wetland's waters "reducing photosynthesis and nutrition levels."

"In all my time walking in the wetland," said Zebedee, "the water has always been clear enough to see the bottom. Now, because of the actions of the developer, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the contractor, the waters are red."

Lund pointed out the recent siltation problems faced by the same developer at Penhorn Lake, a problem Councilor Sam Austin highlighted on social media and noted that no charges were laid by the Department of Environment and Climate Change.

Lund added "There are holes in Environmental legislation in Nova Scotia that need fixing to properly address the problems with siltation from groundwater and surface water, in order to prevent siltation of waterways and wetlands in the first place. Furthermore, we just experienced a 1-in-100-year storm on Friday [July 21, 2023]. Developments should be held accountable to at least this standard and should really design for 1-in-200-year storms as the federal government requires for new developments on their properties. Stiffer fines should also be enforced, not just slaps on the wrist."

Zebedee stated the developer will just say a mea culpa and all will be forgiven by the government, "But the public willl not forget."

The potential death of Eisner Cove Wetland is squarely on the shoulders of Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, John Lohr, for approving this development; the Housing Panel for not listening to experts; Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Tim Halman, for allowing the clearcutting and grubbing; Premier Tim Houston and his government; the construction contractor; and Clayton Developments.

Photos and video of siltation proof

Eisner Wetland FOIPOPs

(The Freedom of Information
and Protection of Privacy Act)

FOIPOP re correspondence between Chief Augustine & Environment Minister — April 26, 2023, pdf

As this is now public record, available through the Nova Scotia FOIPOP website, this does not breach any privacy. The Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society thanks Chief Lorraine Augustine of the Native Council of Nova Scotia, for expressing the Mi'kmaq concerns over what has happened at Eisner Cove Wetland.

From Chief Augustine's letter:

"I respectfully request your Office of the Minister of Environment to provide the NCNS with details about the "Eisner Cove Wetland" destruction and alteration for proposed development. . . "Had the Nova Scotia Office of L'nu Affairs advised your Ministry about Supreme Jurisprudence regarding consultation with Aboriginal People on matters which could affect their lands, resource, and rights thereto?"

Re Minister Halman's letter:

  • Please note: the first highlighted paragraph. These are the Same words verbatium to what he wrote to Bill Zebedee, Society President, on the 23rd of April this year.
  • The information provided in the wetland assessment was, from various other FOIPOPs, flawed, as it was incomplete.
  • Notice Minister Hamlan doesn't actually answer the questions asked.
  • FOIPOP re correspondence between Chief Augustine & Environment Minister — pdf, 4 pages

Before After the destruction of Dartmouth's largest wetland — April 23, 2023, video and vocals, 1:43

See the devastation of what's happening at Eisner Cove Wetland under watch of Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Tim Halman, and especially Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing John Lohr, who allowed this to happen as part of his program to create affordable housing, which we now know to be false.

Thanks to Matt Chisholm for the footage and to James Brockovich for writing and singing the song.

Protect Eisner Wetland Timeline 1976 - 2023 — 91 pages pdf

April 13/23: Letter to Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston from Society President Bill Zebedee

Honourable Premier.
I am, once again, writing to you hoping that you will listen to the concerns raised by people from across Nova Scotia, Canada, North America and the world regarding Eisner Cove Wetland and the special planning area Minister Lohr announced last year.

As you are aware, we have held many rallies at both the development site, City Hall and at Province House, and have submitted numerous letters of concern to Minister Lohr, Minister Halman, and yourself, with little, if any response.

During the last election you ran, partly, on a platform to reform the FOIPOP process for Nova Scotia. Based on a number of FOIPOPs we have requested, surrounding the sale of the property from crown land to a private interest, we find the process is not transparent. I am calling you on that commitment Premier.

Through various FOIPOPs we know that representatives of Innovacorp (now part of Invest Nova Scotia), previous owner of the crown land, had concerns about the sale using CBRE. As you will see from the attached FOIPOP from (2020_Innovacorp.pdf), on page 32, Donna Bourque, from Innovacorp, expressed concerns going with CBRE, and their fair market value for the land; as they were "significantly lower" than other bidders. You will also see Collier's bid actually placed the value of the land at $2.3 million. A far cry from the $675.000 (an assessment provided by the winning broker to Property Valuation Services) bid by CBRE.

I also draw your attention to the 20(1), in red ink. That Section of the Act allows for redaction if the information is of a personal nature. There is nothing personal in this and, therefore, should never have been redacted. If the person redacting the document hadn't missed this, it would never have been known. This is partly why we are calling you on your commitment to improve the FOIPOP process in Nova Scotia.

You will also see, from page 162 of the 2020_Innovacorp document, representative Tim Reilly felt Eisner Cove Wetland was so significant that it was offered to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and the idea of donating it to Ducks Unlimited (page 160) was explored. Again, a question must be asked, if the Innovacorp felt it was significant enough to offer it to two well known environmental groups, why did Minister Halman not designate it as a wetland of significance?

In addition, even Property Valuation Services, on page 19 (02-22 Property Valuation Services pg 36-71) mentioned "Local people have been working for years to prevent development of the site." Again, why was Minister Halman not made aware of this comment before he approved the Wetland Alteration? We don't know because the Minister hasn't responded to correspondence sent in February 2023 which raised his attention to this fact. Your own government believed it was significant Premier, as did Ducks Unlimited. You will see (2023-00224-INS) on page 7 you will note Emma Bocking, former Conservation Programs Specialist with Ducks Unlimited, was planning a walking tour of Eisner Cove Wetland to "talk about wetlands, and their importance in urban areas." In an email from Tim Reilly to Ms. Bocking, Ducks Unlimited was made aware the land was for sale. Again, with this information why didn't Minister Halman declare Eisner Cove Wetland a wetland of significance?

It should also be pointed out, two of the three parcels of land, purchased by A.J. Legrow Holdings Ltd. for $680,000, were sold to Mr. Legrow and Jason Brunt, from Clayton Developments, and two others, for $3 million. The third property was recently listed for $7 million. Please refer to attached Map2.jpg for reference. Parcels 1 and 2 have been clear cut by Clayton Developments and parcel 3 remains treed. So, using parcel 3, if the land was purchased, with the other parcels, for a combined $680,000 and is now for sale at $7 million, what was the real fair market value?

Based on FOIPOPs from Property Valuation Services we don't know. Parcel 3 is still treed. One has to ask why it was sold for less than what it is now on the market for? I have not used the term "cover up" related to this sale Premier, but others have, and more are voicing that idea.

You will see on page --- (02-22_Property Valuation Services) that Sean Lonar, who was assessing the value of the properties in question, was directed by REDACTED to "tweak" his values to be "below the sale." Again, Premier, if we didn't submit FOIPOPs the public would never have known of this revelation.

In closing, and to hit the point of a need for you to reform the FOIPOP process. When I first submitted a request to Innovacorp from documents related to the sale back in 2022, I was told the fee was going to be in excess of $3,800, an astronomical fee for a citizen to pay. When I submitted the same request to Invest Nova Scotia this year, it cost me all of $5.00.

The sale of this once pristine urban wetland was perpetrated by the previous government Premier, but your government is complacent in its destruction. Instead of listening to developers whine about not having any more land to build on, you should have listened to Nova Scotians, and, more to the point of this email, you should have listened to your own government departments' concerns and thoughts on the significance of Eisner Cove Wetland. It isn't too late Premier, you can still stop this, reverse the wrong-headed concept of Minister Lohr's special planning area at Eisner Cove Wetland, and protect it now and into the future.

Protect Wetlands

I look forward to your response to this email and would appreciate an invite to the press conference where you reverse your government's decision to all this development and give Eisner Cove Wetland back to the people of this province.

Bill Zebedee, President
Protect Our Southdale Wetland
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

April 11/23: Nova Scotia Internal Services reply to FOIPOP request — 32 pages, mostly blank

Wonder what we face when filing a Freedom of Information request? Take a look!
This is what Premier Houston promised he'd fix. We will not give up digging for the truth. We will not be pushed out of the way.
Lack of transparency reasons

April 3/23 Press Release: Unredacted FOIPOP doc reveals significantly lower suggested fair value for Eisner Cove Wetland

DARTMOUTH, NOVA SCOTA — Based on a series of newly received freedom of information documents that indicate multiple government policy violations, a local group is renewing calls for the provincial government to halt construction activities at Eisner Cove Wetland.

"In a FOIPOP from earlier this year," said Bill Zebedee, president of Protect Eisner Cove Wetland, "many of the documents were heavily redacted, but one particular email marked for redaction was missed. Luckily for us, this meant we had more information to work with."

Zebedee said the email, dated 15 October 2019, from Donna Bourque to Tim Reilly, both of Innovacorp (now part of Invest Nova Scotia) immediately got his attention, because even their employees were concerned about selling the land to the lowest bidder.

The email reads, in part, "One thing that keeps nagging at me — CBRE had a significantly lower suggested fair value than the other bid." "When I saw that," said Zebedee, "I wondered what the other bids were, and how significantly higher they were. What we found, in FOIPOP 2023-00223-INS, had us gobsmacked."

The group now knows who the other bidders were. Although they don't know what Cushman and Wakefield's fair market value was, they know Collier said fair value was $2.1 million, when Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE) said $675,000. "This was found in an email from Donna Bourque to both Malcolm Fraser and Dawn House, dated 16 October 2019. Why such a significant difference in fair value," asks Zebedee.

"Even the Executive Assistant for the Minister of Business, called a strategist in the department, asking why the listing was "below what he (a real estate agent) believed to be a fair market value" (email between Megan Ritchie to Anne Rosenthall dated 15 November 2019), what more does the Houston government need for them to put a halt to this boondoggle — which saw pristine forest and wetland going from public crown land to private ownership?"

The group points to the Government of Nova Scotia Management Manuals, Manual 25, Natural Resources, where "all sales of crown lands must be considered within the context of the Province's Real Property Disposal Policy." If the land is determined by a government department to be surplus, and "no other provincial government department requests that it not be sold," the policy dictates it should first be offered to the municipality, agency, non-profit groups or community organizations, then it would go to public tender. There are indications these steps were not followed.

With this new information in hand, the group is again asking the Houston government to halt the project and conduct a full review of the sale.

Details: FOIPOP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy) requestsMarch 25, 2023 [pdf, 44pages]

To recap what has happened as far as the property at Eisner Cove Wetland — March 23, 2023:

Parcel 1, 2 and 3 of the map was sold as part of a 4 parcel land sale to A.J. Legrow Holdings Limit, for $680,000.

Parcel 4 of the map was sold to Portucana in 2020 for $7,200,000 million

Lohr approves development of Eisner Cove Wetland
selling of eisner wetland

Assessed value:

Parcel #





2015 - 2019

Parcel 1




$95,500 (-70%)


Parcel 2




$337,400 (-75%)


Parcel 3




$145,800 (-0%)


Parcel 4






Parcels Sale or list history:

Parcel #




Parcel 1*



Parcel 2*



Parcel 3*



Parcel 4*




The yellow line (roughly) indicates areas that have been clear-cut by developers.
* sold as a package of 4 parcels (including a sliver along Hwy 111 between Mount Hope Ave and Pleasant St., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
**sold as a package of 2 properties

Group calls on Tim Halman, Nova Scotia Minister of Environment, to reverse decision — January 28, 2023

DARTMOUTH — With new information, Bill Zebedee, President of Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society, today renewed the call to Tim Halman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to reverse the decision approving alterations to the Eisner Cove wetland.

In documents received through Zebedee's latest FOIPOP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy) request - 165 pages obtained from Innovacorp, the former Crown Corporation and previous owner of land, it was clear even Innovacorp's own people believed the area was ecologically significant.

"Come on," stated Zebedee, "they offered the land to the Nature Conservatory of Canada (email 15 February 2019) and even floated the idea (email 30 May 2019) of donating the land to Ducks Unlimited. How can that not indicate to Minister Halman that Eisner Cove is a wetland of significance and should be designated so? Perhaps if Innovacorp had provided the government with proper information, the sale may not have happened."

Eisner Cove Wetland is located in Dartmouth, and, depending upon the report you read, is between 4.5 and 23.9 hectares in size. The forested area around it measures approximately 75 hectares. It is estimated 25 hectares have already been clear-cut.

"Minister Halman can still right this wrong," said Zebedee. "He claims to care about wetlands and the environment. With the new information contained in today's FOIPOP he now has the opportunity to put his environmental commitments into action."

Zebedee pointed out there were no further indications whether Ducks Unlimited was approached about the donation. Says Biologist David Patriquin, "Surely Ducks Unlimited would have loved the donation of almost 25 hectares of wetland. Instead, the Eisner Cove Wetland will now deteriorate as the forested upland is replaced."

#Ecocide at Eisner Cove Wetland — November, 2022

Ecocide at Eisner Cove Wetland - "Earthworks" Wetland Ecocide - Clearcutting & slicing by causeway

"We have been dealt some pretty horrible blows from the government and the developers and construction industry who appear to have the ear of that government. I don't believe we are down for the count though. We are still getting sign requests, donations and overwhelming support from the public. The majority of media isn't buying into the BS the government is putting out there.

"We still have a number of key FOIPOP requests outstanding. If even one of those has what we're looking for in them (already know from one FOIPOP the Sale of Crown Land Act may not have been followed) we will stand stong."
— Bill Zebedee
President, Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society

November 10, 2022

Lohr approves development of Eisner Cove Wetland
Lohr approves development of Eisner Cove Wetland

November 10, 2022
"John Lohr, Nova Scotia's Minister of Housing has signed off on the non-affordable housing development at Eisner Wetland, even with the growing unrest across Nova Scotia.

"We will continue to fight the false narrative Clayton Developments started, and the Nova Scotia Government bought into.

"We will continue to make our voices heard, as we watch for environmental violations. We will continue to raise further concerns about lack of public input. We will continue to raise growing concerns on the impact this development will have on the community and environment."

— Bill Zebedee
President, Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society

Lohr approves development of Eisner Cove Wetland

"You had such potential Mr. Houston when you took office . . .
but you fell down the same rabbit hole all Conservative governments fall into when they take office. You forget you were elected by the people in a democratic process.

If you believe, as I think you do, in democracy Premier Houston, you need to dismantle the Housing Task Force, stop with the rhetoric being fed to you by developers and the construction industry, open any and all minutes and meeting notes from the Task Force, and halt all special planning areas until you allow the democratic process to determine what happens next.

We will not be bullied into silence. We will not be threatened with violence from our government into silence.

"We will continue to fight the false narrative Clayton Developments started, and the Nova Scotia Government bought into.

— Bill Zebedee
President, Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society
From his Letter to the Editor, Chronicle Herald, November 23, 2022
Read Mr. Zebedee's entire letter

News — October 24, 2022
See, with larger maps, how Clayton Developments clearly has no regard for Halifax Regional Municipality's 20-metre wetland buffer policy.
We also have a screen capture which clearly shows the number of acres that will be clearcut by Clayton.

Map of developing plans for Eisner Cove Wetland Map of developing plans for Eisner Cove Wetland
protect eisner wetland poster

Eisner Wetland store poster

Housing is necessary, but HRM has more appropriate locations for housing developments that are not ecologically sensitive. Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society is a non-profit group dedicated to the preservation and protection of the Eisner Cove Wetland. We believe that:

  • Precious natural resources belong to all residents of Nova Scotia.
  • Our province and cities can and must make better decisions to allow growth in a more sustainable manner, prioritizing the protection of our environment.
  • The Eisner Cove Wetland and its protective forest belt should be returned to public ownership, and preserved as a wild area for recreational and educational use only.

Highlights: Eisner Cove Wetland Rally at Province House
Halifax, Nova Scotia — October 18, 2022

Mi'kmaw Elder Darlene Gilbert speaking at Rally

Grandmother Darlene Gilbert
Sybil Nunn photo

Bill Zebedee speaking at Rally

Bill Zebedee — Sybil Nunn photo

David Patriquin speaking at Rally

David Patriquin — Sybil Nunn photo

  • Rally links - videos
    Opening with Mi'kmaw Elder, Darlene Gilbert
    Speaker Bill Zebedee
    Speaker David Patriquin (audio)
    Closing remarks Bill Zebedee
    Open Mic and photos
    Eisner Cove Wetland Rally at Province House
    October 18, 2022
  • Speech by Bill Zebedee
    President, Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society
    Eisner Cove Wetland Rally at Province House
    October 18, 2022
    pdf — 3 pages
  • Speech by David Patriquin
    Professor, Retired, Marine Biology
    Eisner Cove Wetland Rally at Province House
    October 18, 2022
    pdf — 2 pages
Eisner Cove Rally Oct 18, 2022 Eisner Cove Rally Oct 18, 2022

Ducks Unlimited connected to Wetland Developers:

Extracts from correspondence related to the Ducks Unlimited Eisner Cove Wetland WESP (Wetland Ecosystem Services Protocol) Report between David Patriquin (NSWFS) and Ducks Unlimited's HRM Conservation Specialist.
Not mentioned by the Duck's Unlimited Conservation Specialist in the various correspondence: that DU had signed a letter on Nov 24, 2021 confirming that "Ducks Unlimited Canada is willing to enter into a Letter of Understanding with A.J. LeGrow Holding Limited, to provide Wetland Compensation Services as required by Nova Scotia Department of Environment" (revealed by a FOIPOP - Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy).
Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society
September 29, 2022

Society president challenges ministers to a debate

"We've tried contacting the ministers," said Zebedee, President of the Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society. "We've emailed them. We've called them. We've sent letters. But we've received no answers from either of them over the past nine months. What have they been doing?"
Debate Challenge press release
September 19, 2022

To: Timothy Halman, Minister of Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change
From: President, Protect Our Southdale Wetland Society

"I ask that you reconsider Eisner Cove Wetland as a Wetland of Special Significance based on [the Penhorn/Woodlawn Community Visioning Vision and Action Strategy]. It clearly provides evidence the wetland has been of high social and cultural significance for many many years."
Wetland of Special Significance
September 21, 2022

Excellent question from Friends of Halifax Common

The Premier's Housing Joint Task Force meeting minutes show senior HRM staff Kelly Denty, Executive Director of Planning and Development and Peter Duncan, Director of Infrastructure Planning led and fully participated in the site selection.
FHC to Mayor/Council:
Please Clarify Role of Senior Staff in Premier's Panel on Housing
October 12, 2022

Heartfelt letter from an Eisner Wetland Cove-area resident since 1960

"Many cities spend thousands of dollars to plant green areas to bring back life in their cities and our government is spending thousands to destroy it.
Remember once it's gone, it's gone forever."
Complete letter, not edited
September 14, 2022

Statement of Support from Ecology Action Centre:

ecology action centre logo

"We don't need to choose between affordable housing and the protection of our natural environment. Ecology Action Centre condemns the destruction of the Eisner Cove Wetland and the violence against peaceful protesters brought on by the Province, Clayton Developments and the Halifax Regional Police.
Read our full statement
September 7, 2022

Letter of Support from Council of Canadians:

council of canadians

". . . Please stop this development and return the land to the public. It should have never been sold."

Sincerely & with respect & hope for the future,
Co-Chairs, Council of Canadians HRM Chapter
August 25, 2022
Council of Canadians

A subversive map set by Shanni Bale:

Last days of Eisner Cove Wetland
Brought to you by AJ Legrow Holdings, Clayton Developments, Nova Scotia Minister of Environment and Climate Change Tim Halman, Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs John Lohr, and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston.
August 25, 2022

Eisner Wetland Links:

Eisner Wetland Social Media:

Eisner Wetland Media Reports:

Google map of the area

Bird Study Released August 12, 2022:
The same week Clayton Development began preparing the site for "development" by clearcutting, in direct violation of the Federal Bird Migratory Act.
Bird Study Details

For the record: Beautiful old forest surrounds near-pristine "Eisner's Cove Wetland" in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Clearcutting started. Most of the forest is scheduled to be cut.
On-location photos
12 May 2017 - 30 May 2022

Woman discusses Wetlands as Carbon Sink

NS Wetlands + Carbon - The Facts, The Story.
video from Eisner Cove Wetland 3:47min