The stories of climate change and sea-level rise are written in the rocky shores and beaches of Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Coast. The eroded headlands and glacial till have created the migrating sand platforms, our beaches, and marshes. Drowned bays, coves, and inlets, cobble storm berms, rock ridges, and cliffs all stretch along the length of the Eastern and South Shores.
Owls Head has long been recognized as a “representative” coastal landscape, first as a candidate National Park component, then as a survivor of the community battles to emerge as a Provincial Natural Environment Park component of the Eastern Shore Seaside Park System.
For the next 45 years it was included in every park and wilderness area plan, in the 100 Wild Islands initiative, always protected in a quiet sense while researched carefully for its unique flora. Years of recognition, respect, an undisturbed public park land, an important coastal habitat, ancient biodiversity spared by its location and geography and the good stewardship of a community.
Enter those with visions of coastal golf courses, a few get-togethers behind closed doors, a plan hatched to strip the protected status, remove the history, denigrate the ecological significance, line a few pockets, get the “community” on their side, dollar signs dancing in front of their eyes.
At some point, a true public servant sees this deceit and says “this is wrong.” He or she calls the CBC, who does the research. The secret deal is revealed, the betrayal of 45 years of public trust, of well-grounded assumptions of protection based on the historical record, public commitments, government policy, and the science of biodiversity and habitat loss… All swept away in a display of arrogance and defiance.
And here we are, angry, sad, disillusioned in our provincial government since they would act in this manner. Sad and frustrated that they would lie, lie, lie to the public. They did not need to remove Owls Head Provincial Park from the list of Protected Areas. They didn’t need to deny its history, ignore their own staff’s direction and input, ignore transparency, proper procedure, and public consultation.
Why the deceit? Why the deception? Probably because they know it is wrong – a violation of their oath and responsibilities as elected representatives. Maybe now they are too embarrassed to reveal the truth. What are they hiding?
The truth is that Owls Head Provincial Park is an important public resource, a representative, coastal landscape with a globally rare plant community and 45 years of protected status – a protected status with deep roots. Deeper than the roots of the golf course fairways and greens that are meant to destroy Owls Head for the benefit of the wealthy few.
Stop the sale, Save Owls Head.