We thank concerned resident Pamela Baker for speaking at the Save Owls Head rally and for giving us a copy of her statement to post on this website for those who could not attend.
Although I am suspicious that this sale of Owls Head/Little Harbour has anything to do with golf courses, I have nonetheless examined why the development and construction of these courses would be wrong for this property.
I am not a scientist, so I cannot expertly address the ecological damage that could be the result of this project; however, my brother’s background as General Manager of two major golf and country clubs in Ontario and experience in design and construction has been invaluable to me.
The key word is saturation. Approximately, 100-200 golf courses close every year in North America. It makes little sense to build more. Many close as developers deem the land to be valuable and they build estate lots on the property. Others close because they are not close enough to an urban centre. Finally, golf has become too expensive and millennials are choosing other sports or forms of exercise.
The damage to our roadbeds and ditches, not to mention the safety of our children, pets, and wildlife would be devastating. Calculations of needed fill for this area, for one golf course, would be [an estimated] 20,000 to 30,000 loads. That would be [tens of thousands of] trips on our roads. Imagine the noise, the dust, and the inconvenience.
No one on this shore is against development or new jobs, but beyond the initial construction, employment at a golf course is 4-5 months at best and very few people are needed at this seasonal venture. What we need is a new nursing home. What we need is good transit for the 80 – 90-year-old residents still driving. What we need are bike paths along Hwy. 7 to support ecotourism. What we need are sidewalks for our kids walking to and from school. What we need are fibre optics to encourage small businesses to set up shop. What we need is an educational science centre for school groups. What we don’t need are golf courses.
The government has never consulted us about this land and has dealt only with this extremely wealthy man who wants to buy up property after property. But our outrage should not be with him. It is with a small group of politicians who think they know better and believe that under the cloak of secrecy, they can change, delist and sell 285 hectares of land that should belong to all of us.
Jobs and investment are needed here. Nothing much changes on the Eastern Shore; however, change should not come at the expense of destroying a rare ecosystem. With apologies to Joni Mitchell, “Let’s not pave paradise to put up a parking lot.”