LTE: Nova Scotians Gradually Losing Access to Shores and Beaches

Letter to the Editor
Contributed by Lindsay Lee
The Masthead News
March 11, 2020

Picture this.

The ocean breeze is blowing through your hair. Imagine the feel of sand underneath your feet as you listen to the waves lapping against the beach. Think back to days spent sailing in the bay or walking along a rocky shore. You are building sandcastles, watching the fishing boats, looking for sea glass, or collecting shells.

Can you imagine life in Nova Scotia without these things?

No, neither can I.

When we open our eyes, we see that more and more of us are losing access to our shores, as land that the public has enjoyed for generations is being sold to the highest bidder.

Each time the provincial government sells the public’s coastal lands, they are also selling a crucial aspect of life in Nova Scotia.

The government is jeopardizing our coastal and marine ecosystems. All across our province, everyday citizens are speaking up for what is right for Nova Scotia. A dedicated group on the South Shore is fighting to prevent open-pen fish farming.

On the Eastern Shore, a grassroots movement is striving to save the globally rare ecosystem at Owls Head. The provincial park reserve had been slated for protection through the 2013 Parks and Protected Areas Plan.

Coastal ecosystems are severely underrepresented in Nova Scotia’s protected properties. Yet Owls Head was secretly delisted so the government could sell public land to an American developer.

For Nova Scotians, the coast is often our backyard, our escape, our identity. And yet, only 5% of our coastline is actually public.

This number might surprise you. After all, our province really depends on the 5% of the coastline that is public–for recreation and enjoyment, to provide vital habitats for wildlife and shorebirds, and for tourism that is supported by our beautiful sandy beaches.

Owls Head currently contributes to that 5% figure. Even less than 5% is protected.

If we blink, our remaining coastline will get even smaller.

You have to wonder…if only 5% of our coast is left now, what will remain for future generations?

Are we still Canada’s Ocean Playground if we lose our shores and coastal access?

Lindsay Lee

Source: https://www.themastheadnews.ca/images/Issues/2020/2020_03_11.pdf

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