Owls Head Sale Opponents Back in Court

Richard Bell
Eastern Shore Cooperator
August 23, 2020

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Opponents of the proposed sale of Owls Head Provincial Park to an American billionaire took the next legal step forward on August 18 with the filing of an amended version of their January request for a judicial review. A hearing to set a date for the full judicial review will take place on September 23, although the trial itself will probably not take place until 2021.

The amended petition challenges two different secret decisions by Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin:  the decision to de-list the park on March 13, 2019 and the decision to entertain a Letter of Offer with the golf course developer on December 19, 2019.

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Opponents to Owls Head golf proposal will seek judicial review

Company wants to build up to 3 golf courses, a housing development and more

Michael Gorman
CBC News
August 18, 2020

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Armed with a favourable court ruling, a retired biologist and environmental group will seek a judicial review of the Nova Scotia government’s decision to remove 285 hectares of Crown land from the pending protected status list.

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Owls Head Dancing on the Head of a Pin

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Richard Bell
Eastern Shore Cooperator
July 13, 2020

Granite Ridge at Owls Head

At a hearing before Supreme Court Judge Kevin Coady on June 29, opponents of the province’s plan to destroy Owls Head Provincial Park learned that the fate of the 600-plus acres of coastal land may hinge on the narrowest of legal points

On December 18, 2019, CBC’s Michael Gorman wrote that through a Freedom of Information request, he had learned that the Cabinet, acting on a request from the Department of Lands and Forestry, had delisted Owls Head Provincial Park on March 13, 2019, but had hidden the decision from the public.

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How Nova Scotia naturalists forced the province to uphold its Endangered Species Act

Zack Metcalfe
Canada’s National Observer
June 22, 2020

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The Nova Scotia government just lost a 16-month lawsuit to a flower, moose, turtle, two birds and a tree, which, it goes without saying, has never happened before.

Zack Metcalfe

This is the first time Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act has been the subject of legal action, and the first time such legislation has been upheld in a Maritime court, setting several legal precedents that could have enormous consequences for regional conservation. […] Juniper Law is preparing for another lawsuit against the Department of Land and Forestry for its controversial decision to delist Owls Head Provincial Park on the province’s eastern shore, and attempt to sell it to a developer for the construction of three golf courses, thus undermining the sanctity of other protected areas across the province.

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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.”

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