Halifax Waterfront Awarded International Blue Flag Designation

HALIFAX, July 18, 2012 /CNW/ - The Halifax waterfront is the first place in Nova Scotia and first coastal marina in Atlantic Canada to receive the international Blue Flag designation.

Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage Leonard Preyra, Colin MacLean, President & CEO of Waterfront Development and Malcolm Powell, Executive Board Member for the International Blue Flag program officially raised the blue flag today near Bishop's Landing.

Blue Flag is an eco-label awarded to over 3850 beaches and marinas in 46 countries. Celebrating 25 years, it is an international eco-label awarded to beaches and marinas that meet high environmental standards. It is programmed by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Environmental Defence is the national operator of Blue Flag in Canada. 

"This recognition as the first Blue Flag recipient in Nova Scotia showcases our province's commitment to sustainability for those who live here and those who come from around the world," said Preyra on behalf of Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Percy Paris.

"We're pleased to fly the Blue Flag as a designated Blue Flag marina. We're committed to creating some of the world's greatest waterfronts," said MacLean.  "The Halifax waterfront is the most visited destination in Nova Scotia and an internationally renowned Tall Ships host. This allows us to create exciting experiences at the water's edge, educating visitors and locals about the sea and our part in keeping it clean and healthy."

The current Tall Ships Nova Scotia event is part of the Tall Ships Challenge Atlantic - a partner of the Blue Flag program. One ship that is part of the current Tall Ships race, USS Providence, is certified blue flag. The Blue Flag Oath will be shared with other ships while in port for those who may wish to sign up.

Waterfront Development was required to meet 24 criteria which cover everything from water quality, environmental education and sustainable management to the safety provisions and services marina users can expect to find when they visit. Enhanced marina services also include free daily berthing.

"It is an honour to award the Halifax waterfront with the international Blue Flag.  This waterfront joins 646 marinas worldwide receiving the Blue Flag this year for meeting high environmental standards," said Powell. "We are also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the international Blue Flag program this year, and are delighted to raise the first Blue Flag in Nova Scotia here today."

"By raising the Blue Flag in Halifax today, we are celebrating the expansion of the program, now coast-to-coast in Canada," said Sarah Winterton, Managing Director, Environmental Defence. "This shows that Halifax waterfront is upholding marina management and operations to some of the highest standards in the world.  We commend their commitment to environmental sustainability."

"We applaud the Halifax Waterfront for their eco-leadership that will benefit the people who visit the area, and the people and species who depend on a healthy, thriving marina," said Gina Patterson, Director of Programs, Clean Nova Scotia. "Clean Nova Scotia is supporting and promoting the Blue Flag project in this region, and we hope this is just the first of many flags raised at the over 100 beaches we are so proud of here in this province."

An important feature of the program over many other eco-designations for beaches and marinas is the emphasis on striking partnerships between stakeholders and providing quality educational opportunities for visitors and residents. Waterfront Development will work with local boating clubs and marine partners to create awareness and opportunities to support the program.

Other Waterfront Development lead green initiatives include:

  • Tall Ships Nova Scotia will be bullfrogpowered® with 100% green electricity. This means Bullfrog Power's generators inject clean, renewable electricity onto the grid to match the amount of power being used during the festival through wind and hydro facilities. 
  • Incorporating sustainable development into practices and activities including driving development projects towards shared sustainability goals with developers, communities and future tenants.
  • The successful Public Spaces Recycling Program is continuing to expand, with plans to roll out four-stream recycling depots (Big Bellies) with solar-powered trash compactors to Bedford, Dartmouth, and Lunenburg, reducing volume and trips to collect trash, and educating the public on appropriate disposal of waste.
  • Alternate transportation options like the partnership with CarShare Halifax which reduces the number of vehicles on the road.

About Waterfront Development:

Waterfront Development is a provincial crown corporation developing the strategic potential of waterfronts in Bedford, Dartmouth, Halifax and Lunenburg. The corporation fosters the creation of waterfronts that drive economic opportunity, enhance tourism, provide experiences and reflect and protects marine heritage.  www.my-waterfront.ca

About Blue Flag:

Blue Flag is a non-governmental, non-profit, independent program. It is recognized and supported by international organizations including the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Blue Flag is presently the largest global eco-label for beaches and marinas and has a national administration centre in each participating country.

About Environmental Defence:

Environmental Defence is the Canadian Operator of the Blue Flag Program. Environmental Defence is Canada's most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all. www.environmentaldefence.ca

About The Foundation for Environmental Education:
The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization consisting of member organizations representing 63 countries worldwide. FEE actively promotes and delivers education about the environment and sustainable development through international programs such as the Blue Flag Program. www.fee-international.org

SOURCE Environmental Defence

For further information:

Media Contacts: 

Kelly Rose, Communications Advisor, Waterfront Development, 902-422-5115 x 111, 902-222-6296 (cell), kelly@wdcl.ca

Stephanie Kohls, Communications Director, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 232; 647-280-9521 (cell); skohls@environmentaldefence.ca


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