Do You Believe in Public Access to Our Coastlines?

Give Back To The Coast That Gives You So Much!

Donate a wooden plank for the Cow Bay Boardwalk and help support a public coastal access initiative in Nova Scotia.

We Need Your Help!

Hard Won Success

After years of working towards permanent access to the pristine beaches and surf breaks in Cow Bay, we are pleased to announce that success is near. With your help we will make this public access a place for today’s and future generations to enjoy. Donate a wooden plank for the Cow Bay Boardwalk and help support a public coastal access initiative in Nova Scotia.
In early 2010, the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) purchased a stretch of coastal land in Cow Bay which give access to two surf breaks known as ‘Minutes’ and ‘Backyards.’ The land acquisition is a partnership between the residents and community of Cow Bay, HRM and the surfing community, represented by the Coastal Access Committee.

A Sustainable Future for Cow Bay

The land acquisition provides an important public access point for Nova Scotians. It offers a permanent and sustainable space for residents and coastal enthusiasts to enjoy a beautiful piece of pristine coastline. Construction of the parking area and boardwalk is to begin July, 2010.
Support from the community is a pre- condition of the land acquisition and toward this goal we are offering engraved boards on the property’s boardwalk for a minimum donation of $100 per board. All donations are welcome. The board can have your name on it, a friend’s name or the name of your business.

Donation Information

Please make all cheques out to the Halifax Regional Municipality. Tax receipts are available. Be sure to include your address and phone number. People interested can purchase boards at Emma’s Eatery in Eastern Passage, If Only Surfshop in the South End, Propeller Cold Beer Store in the North End and Kannon Beach Surf & Windsurf Shop in Lawrencetown.

Checks can be mailed directly to:

Coastal Access Committee
c/o Sean Kelly
5671 North street, apt #2
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3K 1N5

For additional information, please contact the Coastal Access Committee at coastalaccessns@gmail.com or call (902) 478-1146


The CAC History

In the early part of the decade a group of surfers who frequent the waves of Cow Bay became concerned about possibly loosing access to one of their favorite surfing breaks in the area, The Moose. In a situation similar to any coastal region the world over, private developers sought to subdivide the property in front of the surf area. This would have resulted in a loss of access to one of the more consistent waves in the area and a focal point for the local surfing community. This potential loss proved to be the catalyst to bring a group of surfers together and form the Coastal Access Committee.

As luck would have it, the land in front of The Moose holds significant historical value for the local community. In the early twentieth century the area we now call The Moose was a beautiful white sand beach called Silversands. It was a popular vacation spot for residents of Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, ten to thirty minute drive away. Silversands was a place for the local community of Eastern Passage to congregate and relax. Part of the attraction was a small canteen and dancehall that featured large concrete animals constructed by Winston Bronnum. In the 1930’s to the 1950’s massive amounts of sand were dredged out of the bay to facilitate the construction of the Shearwater Air Force Base. As a result the sand disappeared from the beautiful beach leaving the rocky shore that exists today. The only remnant is the concrete moose that now gives the beach its namesake.

By working collectively the citizen’s organization, called Friends of the Moose, the Coastal Access Committee successfully lobbied governments and raised funds to establish the Silversands Surfing Park. The historical significance of the area to the local population and the contemporary importance of the area to the HRM’s growing surf community was enough to bring the two groups together to fight for continued access to this storied area. Recently completed in the summer of 2008, Silversands will be there for generations of surfers and locals to enjoy.

For a number of years the Coastal Access Committee went into hibernation. In 2006 a number of pressing access issues came to light in the Cow Bay area resulting in the resurgence of the organization. The first issue was losing direct access to Backyards. The provincial land, previously used to access the surfing break, was sold off to someone who discovered the land accessing the surf, has since built a large house and has cut off public access across his property. The second issue is the potential of losing access to Minutes. Located around the corner from Backyards, Minutes has been accessed for years with the permission of very supportive land owners. The land owners are currently subdividing their property in order to retire. Although access is not presently lost, it will be soon.

The renaissance of the Coastal Access Committee has manifested itself into four main initiatives. The first is in the formalization of the organization. We are in the process of gaining not-for-profit status, building relationships with other like minded organizations and continue to raise our profile in the greater community. The second is with our annual “Cow Bay Spring Cleaning” in order to give back just a little to the local residents and the land itself which gives us so much. This past spring (2008) we completed our second successful cleanup. Third we are currently working with the municipality to secure a permanent access point in the Minutes and Backyards Area. We hope to be announcing a second official access point in Cow Bay in the months to come. Lastly we are establishing the Coastal Access Stewardship Tracking System (CASTS.) CASTS is an online, Google Earth based platform that will make all public coastal access locations easy to find for all coastal users.

It is our goal to establish free and easy access to all of Nova Scotia’s coastlines. We believe that free and easy access to our coastlines is not only the right of all of our province’s residents and visitors but is a fundamental part of our economic and cultural being. As such we pledge to continue fighting in order to make Nova Scotia`s coastal areas accessible to all.