Contributed A logging machine sits next to piles of felled trees at an Armco Communities property near Sandy Lake off Hammonds Plains Road. The clearcutting has been suspended until concerned residents can meet with the developer.

The developer who has clear-cut hundreds of acres of land off Hammonds Plains Road has agreed to an “11th-hour” appeal to stop, for now.

“I’m so relieved,” said area resident Karen Robinson Sunday.

A handful of residents gathered at the site near Sandy Lake last Thursday to call attention to Armco Communities’ actions, saying the clear-cutting is threatening the “pristine” lake.

Because Armco hasn’t applied for any development permits, it’s free to cut trees as close to waterways as it likes. A permit would require a 20-metre buffer around any bodies of water.

The company started cutting trees next to the lake last week, prompting Thursday’s protest.

Robinson said she followed up with Coun. Tim Outhit on Friday.

“I had called Tim and said, ‘This is the 11th hour, would you please try to broker stopping of the cutting until we can sit down…and make the best decisions for this little gem we have here?’” she said.

Outhit confirmed he’d spoken with Armco founder George Armoyan Friday, and secured a promise to suspend the clearcutting.

“He’s going to meet with the residents and just stop until we have that meeting in a week or two,” said Outhit.

Robinson said she and her neighbours are going into the meeting in “good faith.”

“If we do that, then we have the best chance of having something positive happen,” she said. “So I have to feel that yes, we must go into it optimistically.”

Outhit said HRM staff members are looking at ways to close the loophole in the regulations that permitted the clearcutting via the Regional Plan five-year review, which is currently underway.

Armco’s website states that the land is being cleared so that development can begin as soon as the city’s planning process is complete.

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