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Letters to the Editor

"Into the Wild" (Dec 18th) highlights the difficulty in acquiring and preserving adequate wilderness green space (as opposed to manicured parks) within or close to urban/suburban areas. As a Dartmouthian I read this article with interest, keeping in mind the many squandered opportunities on my side of the harbour over the past few decades.

One factor that affects municipal land planning is the ability of large developers to acquire large chunks of real estate, and then sit on them for decades. This exacerbates urban sprawl, since other developers with more pressing needs move further out to build subdivisions...which has happened often enough in HRM. This also interferes with long-term land use strategy, since speculators with deep pockets can stay well ahead of public acquisitions, and get settled in in awkward spots...hence problems like what we have mentioned in the article.

I've often thought that there ought to be some component of "use it or lose it" to certain kinds of land ownership. And I'm also thinking that there's something wrong when the huge majority of people in HRM...well over 95 percent...are deprived of all but the most limited access to any of the dozens of lakes in our municipality. A reasonable land use strategy would lessen the ability of the major speculators to sit on huge swathes of territory, and be much more proactive in saving lakeshores and wilderness for the majority.

By Arved Sandstrom

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