LTE: Three Years of Secrecy

Letter to the editor
The Chronicle Herald
Contributed by Lindsay Lee
November 7, 2020

Re: “Exploring potential sale for protected Crown land at Owls Head began in 2016.” 

Francis Campbell’s Nov. 4 article kicked off with one of the most consequential points yet written about Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve: “The province was preparing to remove Owls Head Park Reserve from the parks protection list and sell it to an American developer more than three years before the public was notified, provincial documents show.”

If the sale of this biodiverse coastal ecosystem was such a great idea, then why did our government orchestrate three years of secrecy? If betraying the 45-year history of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve was truly beneficial to our province, then why did the government refuse to organize public consultation? 

If the property’s scientific and conservation values didn’t conflict with the delisting, then why were the government websites scrubbed of information about Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve? 

The truth is, the government did anticipate resistance, which is precisely why it engaged in a clandestine deal to sell public property without public knowledge or approval. 

Campbell wrote: “The government removed Owls Head from the protected list in March 2019 and the public was not notified until the following December.” 

But it’s worth noting that even in December of 2019, the government didn’t belatedly decide to share this information. If not for the investigative journalism of the CBC’s Michael Gorman, who broke the story, there is no telling when Nova Scotians would have been apprised. After all, the government’s only chance of delisting and selling this land without public outrage was to make certain that its citizens didn’t know.

Lindsay Lee, Halifax

Link to letter on the Chronicle Herald website here

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