Owls Head becomes ground zero of land protection battle with province

Jim Vibert (jim.vibert@saltwire.com)
February 5, 2020
The Chronicle Herald

Journalist and writer Jim Vibert has worked as a communications adviser to five Nova Scotia governments.

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If, for 45 years, successive provincial governments and, more importantly, Nova Scotians believe and treat a piece of the province as a provincial park, can the current government negate that 45-year-history, decide the land was never a park, and sell it off for private development? 

Stephen McNeil’s government believes the answer to that question is “yes,” and groups determined to protect the land are adamant that it’s “no.”

The land in question is Owls Head, a 265-hectare unspoiled coastal barren at Little Harbour on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore. It’s become ground zero in the battle between Nova Scotians who want to protect land named in the province’s 2013 parks and protected areas plan, and McNeil’s government, which seems to believe the plan is just a suggestion and the omnipotent government-of-the-day can do with it as it sees fit.

The Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association (ESFWA) and Nature Nova Scotia president Bob Bancroft have launched an action in Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court challenging the province’s removal of Owls Head from the protected areas list and attempting to block the province’s sale of the Crown land to an American golf course developer.

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