Saturday, 6 July 2019

An Inconvenient Turtle

Nova Scotia to become first province to regulate biodiversity

Does the new biodiversity act lessen the peril for this turtle, seen today laying her eggs directly in an off-road vehicle track?  

This hopeful mother is confident the Shearwater Flyer will become non-motorized!

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Working on behalf of our community

Chronicle-Herald June 4

Cole Harbour group minds their parks and trails

Sheryl Dubois

Volunteering takes many forms, and the Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association (CHPTA) has something for everyone.


Designed for the modern volunteer, the Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association (CHTPA) runs a stewardship program on Saturday mornings.

Advanced sign-up and membership are not required to volunteer, suiting people with dynamic schedules. Bring a friend or come with a small group. Work for an hour or stay until noon. Duties may include raking, picking up, clearing brush or mending bridges.

It’s informal, and everyone is welcome, according to Michael McFadden, chair of the association.

“We have a ‘high-tech’ checklist,” jokes McFadden describing the paper flip chart from which volunteers select their morning activity.

McFadden says the program is effective, allowing casual volunteers to contribute and getting vital items scratched off the list.


An avid trail user “for years”, McFadden started volunteering with CHTPA after Hurricane Juan (2003) just as he was on the cusp of retirement from a military career.

“I realized the trails don’t get cleaned on their own,” says McFadden, noting the picturesque paths after Juan were littered with fallen trees and branches, if not completely washed out.

Once he started to volunteer with CHPTA, he laughs, “the vortex sucked me in” and he has now served for more than 10 years.


A small group of concerned citizens formally incorporated CHPTA in 1998 to sustain and improve local parks and trails in and around Cole Harbour. The public used the trails for biking, walking, running, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

McFadden calls the core group of 15 or so unstoppable, hardcore, extremely dedicated volunteers.

They would have to be. The Cole Harbour Heritage Provincial Park alone is comprised of about 400 acres. The Salt Marsh Trail and Shearwater Flyer Trails round out their considerable responsibilities.

The mission requires volunteers to assure grants and other financial opportunities are in place every year to promote the parks and trails and to keep the land safe and accessible. Like the tide that transforms the saltwater marsh, the work never stops.

Indiana Jones

The full mandate of the CHPTA is broad in scope and includes interpretation of, for example, the Cole Harbour Heritage Park.

What is the history of the land in terms of flora, fauna, geology and human activity? To answer this question, at least in part, McFadden says CHPTA embarked on an archeological project about 10 years ago. Experts and students of archeology and many willing volunteers searched for remnants of the once standing Poor’s Farm, an institution he says was built in the early 1870s to house Halifax County’s so-called “harmlessly insane” and citizens destined for “debtors’ prison.” A fire in 1929 took it to the ground.

McFadden says volunteers delicately dug up and sifted through the site, square by square, cataloguing some 20,000 bits and pieces of old pipes, glassware and the good part of a teapot.

“You could come and be Indiana Jones for a day,” laughs McFadden.

Adopt, dedicate

There are other ways to support CHPTA short of volunteering time. McFadden invites people to adopt a metre of the Salt Marsh Trail or dedicate a bench, strategically placed along the trail, to encourage visitors to pause and take in the surroundings.

Visit to volunteer, offer support or learn more. You can also pop by 256 Bisset Road in Cole Harbour Saturday mornings.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Annual General Meeting 2019

Friends of CHPTA!

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is just under two weeks away. Clear your calendars and come on out Thursday 30 May starting at 6pm at the Church of Saint Andrew 2 Circassion Drive Forest Hills. Email has gone out to all members on our list who are eligible to vote. The By-Laws state that a member may vote if they joined at least one month prior to the meeting.

There are some members who have not provided their own email address. They  rely on friends and family who do get this notice to pass on the information - you know who you are, thanks for helping out.

Memberships expire at the end of the AGM.  To assist you in renewing, the Membership Director will be sending out membership renewal forms to all current members that are pre-filled with all the current information that we have on file. You can print it off, make any corrections, date, sign it and bring it with you to the meeting along with the $5.00 per person membership fee. It will make the renewal process at the meeting much faster.

As with every AGM it is very important that we have as many members show up. It is a great opportunity to see what we have been up to in the last year and what is in the plans for this and next year. 

More importantly you get the opportunity to participate as a full fledged member in our future. The big item this year is a special resolution that will update our Memorandum of Association (basically our constitution) and our By-Laws. Bring all your fellow members (i.e. the family and friends that you have recruited) to the meeting because every vote counts.

I am hoping that you will bring your own copy of the attached documents to the AGM. You may load it on your smartphone, tablet or similar device or print it. If you need a printed document, there will be a limited quantity available at the door. This will help keep our costs down.

I hope to see you at the AGM. There may even be Timbits!

Michael McFadden
Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Annual General Meeting 2019

Dear Friends of CHPTA,

As we slosh our way through spring, it is time to look forward to warmer weather and the Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association Annual General Meeting (AGM).

The AGM is scheduled for Thursday 30 May 2019 starting at 6pm at the Church of Saint Andrew 2 Circassion Drive. Members are strongly encouraged to attend and the meeting is open to the public. A poster for your use and information is here. Feel free to print, post it in your neighbourhood and bring a friend to the meeting. While CHPTA has email addresses for almost all of our members there are a few for whom we do not have an email address. Some indicated that they get their information from friends who are also members. Please pass on the information to those people.

In addition to the ordinary business, CHPTA members are being asked to consider a Special Resolution to update our Memorandum of Association and our By-Laws. These are the basic documents governing our Association. The Memorandum has not been updated since our founding over 20 years ago. The Board of Directors felt that these revisions better articulate our founding intentions and what we want to do for parks and trails in our communities. The amendment to the Memorandum of Association also updates our registered office and expands the type and level of organizations beyond just the province to which we need to interact with to accomplish our goals.

The Special Resolution will read:
That the Memorandum of Association be amended as follows:
Article 2.(a) to read
"2.       The objects of the Society are;
(a)  To encourage volunteer membership in the Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association for the purpose of promoting and coordinating the construction and maintenance of parks and trails for the purposes of the quiet enjoyment of nature, active transportation (human powered) and health in the Cole Harbour Basin and surrounding areas"
Article 2.(b)(iii) to read:
"2. (b) To pursue by way of volunteers, staff and partnership arrangements:
(iii) association with, or membership in federal, provincial and municipal level organizations concerned with the development of trails and parks."
Article 3. to read:
"3.      The registered office of the Society shall be 218 Donegal Drive, Dartmouth NS B2V 1P3."
and that the By-Laws of the Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association By-Law  6.(a) be amended to read:

"6.    Membership in the Society shall consist of
(a)    those who abide by and support the objects of the Society as set out in the Memorandum of Association;"
The referenced documents are in this folder  "MoAProposalAGM2019.pdf" and "By-LawProposal-AGM2019.pdf" show what the amended version would look like with the proposed changes in red font.

One of the most important things the membership does at the AGM is to nominate and elect the new Board of Directors for the next year.  Several positions were left vacant at the last AGM which greatly increased the workload on the remaining Directors. Thankfully three members came forward to fill positions since the last AGM - Phil Johnson, Treasurer, Gil Smith, Maintenance Director and Dwight Perkins, Membership and Volunteer Director. All the positions are open and we invite members to consider working with us over the next year.
The current slate with the incumbent is (Note the VACANT positions):
  • Chair, Michael McFadden
  • Past Chair, Holly Woodill
  • Vice Chair VACANT
  • Secretary, VACANT (interim Michael McFadden)
  • Treasurer, Phil Johnson (not reoffering as treasurer but wants to stay on as Director)
  • Capital Projects Director, Charley Sharkey
  • Maintenance Director, Gil Smith
  • Chief Trail Warden/Director, Victor Henrikson
  • Membership and Volunteer Director, Dwight Perkins
  • Communications Director, Amy Scott
  • Director, Anita Johnston Gazzola
  • Director, VACANT
 Keep tuned to emails, our twitter feed and our website for more information on the AGM including the agenda and the feature presentation.
 Questions, comments and nominations can be passed via email to, phone (Voice or text) 902-435-3952.
Michael McFadden
Cole Harbour Parks and Trails Association