March & Rally to Save Owls Head

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A Rally to Save Owls Head Provincial Park from Private Sale and Development

PRESS CONTACTS:
Group Leader: Christopher Trider christrider@hotmail.ca
Group Leader: Sydnee Lynn canadianmt@eastlink.ca

When:

Date: February 20, 2020
Time: 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Where:

Location: Grand Parade (1770 Barrington St., Halifax) and Province House (1726 Hollis St., Halifax)

Route: The group will gather at the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax before marching to Province House (the Nova Scotia Legislature), where the guest speakers will address the crowd.

What:

An awareness march that will express our opposition to:

  1. The removal of Owls Head Provincial Park from a list of properties slated for permanent protection.
  2. The secretive nature in which the government delisted Owls Head, accepted a developer’s Letter of Offer, and scrubbed the government’s websites.
  3. The proposed sale of a Provincial Park reserve without public notice, consultation, or consent.
  4. Jeopardizing what scientists have determined is a globally rare ecosystem.

Who:

The march was organized by members of the Facebook Group Save Little Harbour/Owls Head From Corrupt Backroom Deal. The group has rapidly grown to more than 3000 members. This is a grassroots movement of concerned citizens who strongly believe that Owls Head Provincial Park belongs to, and should remain the property of, the people of Nova Scotia.

Why We Are Marching:

Our Short-Term Goals:

  • Convince the government to withdraw from the Letter of Offer and restore Owls Head to the Parks and Protected Areas Plan.
  • Seek formal and lasting protection for Owls Head Provincial Park.

Our Long-Term Goals:

  • Seek formal protection for all properties on the Parks and Protected Areas Plan, in order to preserve them in perpetuity as public parks and reserves.
  • Protect public land for future generations through conservation science, meaningful public consultation, and transparent governance.

Why We Oppose the Sale of Owls Head:

  • Owls Head and other properties of high conservation value were slated for protection through the 2013 Parks and Protected Areas Plan. The plan was based on conservation science as well as extensive consultation with citizens, industry, and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.
  • On March 13, 2019, Owls Head was removed from the Parks and Protected Areas Plan through a secret minute letter, without any scientific basis, public consultation, or notice.
  • Owl’s Head has significant biodiversity and ecological value, including rare and endangered species of both plants and animals. Jeopardizing the significant wetlands, coastal barrens, and eelgrass beds is an unfathomable decision in our current climate crisis.
  • Lighthouse Links Development Co. has stated its intention to build as many as three golf courses on Owls Head, which would destroy the site’s globally rare ecosystem.
  • Nova Scotia’s natural beauty is the province’s greatest asset. The coastline draws visitors from all over the world. Irreparably harming the environment of Owls Head will also destroy opportunities for eco-tourism, which could offer great economic potential without harming the environment.
  • Private development on this property would prioritize the interests of a for-profit company over the long-term interests of Nova Scotians.
  • Not only is Owls Head part of The Eastern Shore Seaside Park System, but it also contributes to the 5% of Nova Scotia’s coastline that is public. Preserving public access to our coasts is imperative to the Nova Scotian way of life.
  • A golf course development at this particular site would conflict with environmental standards. It would be harmful to the area’s ecosystems, including wetlands, water recharge systems, and eelgrass beds. Chemical runoff is known to cause algae to bloom and subsequently cause eelgrass to die, which negatively affects local fisheries.

Additional Background

Owls Head has been managed as a Provincial Park Reserve for 45 years. Successive governments, dating as far back as the 1970s, promised to protect the property.

Many organizations, including the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), the Ecology Action Centre (EAC), and the Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association, have expressed concern over the delisting and potential development of Owls Head Provincial Park.

Resources:

Parks and Protected Lands: A Plan for Nova Scotia (2013)—This document, based on several years of extensive public consultation, is the latest government document showing Owls Head Provincial Park. See especially pages 47-57, where “Owls Head Provincial Park” is included in a list of more than 200 other Crown land parcels. The entry in the Comments/Special Considerations column for “Owls Head Provincial Park” reads, “To be managed as a supporting park.”

Eastern Shore Cooperator: Owls Head Resources Page – A collection of material prepared by the Eastern Shore Cooperator newspaper. Includes links video coverage of the public meeting, stories from CBC, The Coast, and Eastern Shore Cooperator, government documents, and more.

SaveOwlsHead.org website – Contains an extensive library of media coverage, government documents, scientific articles, and letters. Letter writers include concerned scientists and various nature organizations, who emphasize the biodiversity and ecological value of Owls Head, and much, much more. It is being expanded constantly.

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1952535728225319/

Facebook Group Event Page for Rally: https://www.facebook.com/events/1232979236897801/

CPAWS NS: Owls Head Information & Letter Page

Ecology Action Center: Owls Head Statement

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