The Delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve

By Caitlin Grady of CPAWS NS

Originally published here

A lot has happened since the CBC investigative report by Michael Gorman uncovered the secret delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve by the Nova Scotia government. This backroom deal to turn a park into a golf course development has drawn huge public condemnation, and rightly so.

Here’s what we know so far:

2017 – Negotiations begin behind-closed-doors to delist Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve and remove the site from the Nova Scotia ‘Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan’. 

March 2019 – The Nova Scotia government quietly delists Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve without notifying the public.

December 18th, 2019 – Michael Gorman releases his investigative report on the secret land negotiations.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/natural-resources-protected-land-golf-course-development-1.5397821

December 19th, 2019 – Local residents set up ‘Save Little Harbour/Owls Head’ Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1952535728225319/

January 13th, 2020 – Nova Scotia government purges website of content related to Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve.
https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/province-house/owls-head-provincial-park-has-been-deleted-from-the-provinces-map-of-parks-and-protected-areas/

January 21st, 2020 – Scientists from St. Mary’s University who have studied the ecology of Owls Head raise alarm about government delisting.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/owls-head-provincial-park-development-golf-eastern-shore-1.5433792

January 22nd, 2020 – CPAWS-NS launches an Action Page to make it easier for the public to submit letters to the Nova Scotia government opposing the delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve. https://action.cpaws.org/page/54853/action/1

January 25th, 2020 – The federal government announces that it has rescinded its offer to sell federal lands adjacent to Owls Head to the Nova Scotia government for the golf course development. Federal lands will be transferred to the Canadian Wildlife Service instead, to become a federal protected area.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/owls-head-little-harbour-protected-land-golf-course-development-1.5439596

January 26th, 2020 – Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association hosts a community meeting in Ship Harbour to share information about Owls Head. Standing room only. All three opposition parties attend and express their support for protecting Owls Head. No government representatives in attendance.

February 4th, 2020 – The Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association and retired government biologist, Bob Bancroft, initiate legal proceedings for a judicial review of the delisting of Owls Head. A Go Fund Me website is set-up to raise $15,000 in funds.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/owls-head-provincial-park-development-golf-eastern-shore-1.5451230

February 7th, 2020 – Nova Scotia government says it will press ahead with the land sale despite ongoing public outcry.
https://globalnews.ca/news/6516753/nova-scotia-campaign-save-owls-head/

February 9th, 2020 – Go Fund Me goal of $15,000 for Owls Head legal proceedings reached in just 5 days.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/lets-go-to-court-to-save-owls-head?fbclid=IwAR1E-DInhYyGtzWvUCUcBKVr0UeBnuTLhuaBGdQPjdhCJOldpvNTyjfN8e8

February 10th, 2020 – Approximately 2,300 letters have been submitted to the government through the CPAWS-NS Action Page.

February 20th, 2020 – Planned rally at Province House to oppose the Nova Scotia government’s secret delisting of Owls Head. Event organized by the ‘Save Little Harbour/Owls Head’ Facebook group.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1232979236897801/

Related Posts from CPAWS NS

Photos of Eastern Shore Islands by CPAWS NS

CPAWS Video Tour of the Eastern Shore Islands

Back at Owls Head” by CPAWS NS offers a fascinating glimpse into the site’s biodiversity, including 75 species of birds.

Community Scientists Descend on Owls Head

Caitlin Grady’s Timeline: The Delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve

CPAWS NS Explores the Eastern Shore Islands

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