Being designated an elite eco-destination should help Halifax’s waterfront build its tourism brand, says the president of the Waterfront Development Corp.
The Halifax waterfront on Wednesday became the first place in Nova Scotia and the first coastal marina in Atlantic Canada to receive the international blue flag designation.
Sponsored by the international Environmental Defence organization, blue flags are awarded to beaches and marinas that meet criteria for water quality and environmental management.
The Halifax designation means that blue flags fly over 16 beaches and four marinas in Canada.
Colin MacLean, president and CEO of the Waterfront Development Corp., said the designation just confirms that the provincial Crown corporation overseeing the waterfront is doing its job.
“Our responsibility is to push the boundaries of best practices when it comes to sustainable development and to be on the leading edge of those practices,” MacLean said in an interview.
Drivers using automobiles from CarShareHFX, the car-sharing service, get free parking along the waterfront.
MacLean said that the waterfront’s public spaces recycling program has been another hit. Working with Nova Scotia’s Resource Recovery Fund Board Inc. and Nestle Canada, the Waterfront Development Corp. has scattered 10 large receptacles around the waterfront.
The program diverts waste, recyclables, paper and organic refuse from the landfill. It also uses a solar-powered waste compactor that reduces garbage collection frequency by up to 80 per cent.
Being good stewards of the economy increasingly gives places increased cachet as a tourism destination, MacLean said.
“We want to try and infuse sustainability into all aspects of things we do,” said MacLean. “We want to help Halifax to be noticed for that as well.”