Lancers’ response to the Halifax Common Master Plan
***This is a public statement regarding the Halifax Common Master Plan***
The Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers (Halifax Lancers) is a non-profit urban riding school in the heart of Halifax. Lancers was established in 1936 to give “city children” the opportunity to experience the benefits and joy of horses through sport. Bell Road has been home to Lancers since 1942 and we define our role as serving the public by being stewards of the “horses of Halifax”. Our location in the heart of Halifax is integral to who we are and our mission. We are proud to have riders who travel to us but to also have those “city children” (and adults) benefiting from our programs including therapeutic riding. Our mandate is to “build better lives through horsemanship” and our mission is to promote the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship, and loyalty. We are currently the only non-profit urban stable operating in Canada and are a leader in the urban stables movement.
Over the past two years, we have been in consultation with the project planners in regards to the Halifax Common Master Plan. The recently released Wanderers’ Grounds section of the Halifax Common Master Plan came as a grave shock to the Lancer community and our neighbourhood friends. This draft plan did not reflect our previous discussions as it would greatly impact and threaten our operations by:
• Removing our Bell road parking lot which would impact our ability to receive hay and shavings deliveries and manure removal services
• Removing accessible access to the stables for our Therapeutic Riders
• Reducing the size of the outdoor arena and separating it by a public sidewalk from the indoor arena.
• All of this can jeopardize the safety of the public, our riders, and the horses.
We see this proposal as a significant threat to the Lancers and its many positive impacts on the wider Halifax community. In response to this news, on Thursday morning we met with the Project Lead and city officials to make our concerns with the proposed plan heard - namely that its current design will impact our operations going forward. They recognised the safety, accessibility, and operational issues with the current released plan, and with a co-operative approach, we have engaged with them to hopefully solve those issues. It is our sincerest intention to work in good faith with the city to produce the best results for all citizens of HRM.
Lancers is the only tenant of this land that uses the space every day, 365 days per year. These proposed plans came as an additional surprise because, since 2017, we have made the city aware that our programming is at capacity and, with extremely long waitlists and high demand, we are capable of doing more if we have additional space. A small expansion would allow us to increase our programming by having more horses and a second arena. An expansion utilising existing space would enable us to grow our therapeutic (physical and mental health) program to meet the needs of groups such as at-risk youth, veterans, first responders, hospital patients, and seniors. Additionally, we could fulfill more requests for educational programming from schools and universities, and expand our recreational programming for children, youth, and adults.
We cannot do this presently as a result of our space restrictions. This would be with the intention of not encroaching upon our neighbouring recreational organisations.
At the city’s suggestion, this month we will draft and submit our own proposal for expansion of the Lancer grounds that will better serve the public of HRM. It would align perfectly with the historic purpose of the Wanderers’ Grounds, the city goals and principles of the Halifax Common Master Plan, and a vision of green, accessible, safe, and modern HRM.
Lancers takes pride in all the enjoyment that the public gets from visiting the horses outside and in the stables, watching the lessons and sporting events, participating in our free Open Houses, having Pony rides and ultimately feeling that the horses are in part theirs and have a place in their lives and hearts. We want everyone to share with us and our city officials, councilors, and planners how you experience and enjoy the “Horses of Halifax” via #YourHorsesofHalifax
- How you have interacted with Lancers, whether past or present
- What Lancers means to you
- How you feel Lancers can continue to serve the public of Halifax
We welcome everyone to join us on Sunday, July 28th for our 28th annual Downtown Horse Show where you can watch horses from across the province in the city for an exciting jumping competition. There will be food trucks, face painters, and other family fun things to see and do!
Please also support this vision by:
1. Completing the public survey
While lengthy, it will let you skip ahead and start on page 32 (Wanderer’s Grounds including Lancers). It is imperative that the survey results echo our concerns, so please complete it (even numerous times) by July 15.
Being familiar with the plan and talk about it with everyone you know and showing your support of Lancers (https://www.shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/4580/documents/17392 and is attached to this email)
2. Writing to your City Councilor and the Mayor via email/phone calls/social media to voice your concerns. We will soon circulate a draft letter than can be personalized by sharing what Lancers means to you and how you believe we benefit the city. Please “cc” firstname.lastname@example.orgLancers means to you and how you believe we benefit the city. Please “cc” email@example.com
3. Emailing Carolle Koziak Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org (Project Lead for the Halifax Common Master Plan) and express the same as above
4. Posting on social media to voice your concerns and voice them loudly BUT respectfully and accurately. Tag us @Halifax_Lancers (Instagram), @Bengal_Lancers (Twitter) and Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers (Facebook). #YourHorsesofHalifax
Lancers is an important historic and cultural institution in the city of Halifax. We are very grateful for your shared passion in seeing a successful future for Lancers and the Halifax public come to fruition.
Angie Holt, Barn Manager and Head Coach
- We are thankful that Bell Road has been our home since 1942.
- Refer to us as Halifax Lancers, Lancers, or Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers (not the Bengal Lancers or Junior Bengal Lancers)
- As a non-profit, we envision our organisation as being the stewards of the Horses of Halifax
- Our mandate is to “build better lives through horsemanship” and our mission is to promote the highest ideals of sportsmanship, citizenship, and loyalty
- The horses are owned by the non-profit organisation (they are not privately owned)
- Any individual in the community (age 8+) can join Lancers
- We have 168 riders ride with us every week
- Our waitlists for junior and adult programs are at least two years long due to our space constraints
- We opened in 1936 and have resided in the stables on Bell road since 1942
- We have been a non-profit since 1956
- We are proud to have the second oldest therapeutic riding program in Canada
- We were the first riding school in Atlantic Canada
- We are one of the only urban riding stables in Canada
- We have been a landmark in the city for over eighty years
- Youth recreation is paramount in promoting healthy active lifestyles
- Lancers was established in 1936 to give “city children” the opportunity to experience the benefits and joy of horses through sport. Our location in the heart of Halifax is integral to who we are and our mission. We are proud to have so many riders who travel to us but to also have those “city children” (and adults) benefiting from our programs.
- Lancers is the only tenant of this land that uses their space every day, 365 days per year
- Our public events (Musical Ride, Downtown Horse Show, Open House) routinely draw hundreds of people
- Share your happiest personal stories, memories, and interactions
- We invite everyone to the Downtown Horse Show on July 28th
To find out who your councilor is, follow these links: