January 24, 2020
For years now, members of the conservation community and even anonymous government employees have expressed to me their worry that exactly this would happen – that years of lethargy from our provincial government would result, finally, in their abandoning the Parks and Protected Areas Plan.
If you’ve never heard of this plan or are confused as to its significance, you’re not alone. It hasn’t exactly been a talking point of the reigning Liberals because, while it represents an important milestone in our efforts to preserve provincial biodiversity and combat climate change, to our leaders it’s a thorn in their side, placed there in 2013.
… Even before its inclusion under the Parks and Protected Areas Plan in 2013, Owls Head was designated a “provincial park reserve,” which basically means it’s a provincial park in the making, again, just waiting for its protection to be made official by cabinet. It’s this designation which our government stripped away in March without telling anyone.
Their reasons for this delisting and forthcoming sale were predictable and infuriating. Minister of Lands and Forestry, Iain Rankin, said Owls Head wasn’t necessary in order to reach their made-up goal of 13 per cent, and, even more egregious, that the property wasn’t actually that ecologically valuable, a claim which has flabbergasted the people who performed the groundwork which put it on the list, such as Chris Miller of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.