The Owls Head Act

“Our Owls Head Act says that whenever there is a piece of Crown Land in Nova Scotia that is pending protection as a wilderness area, or as a park, or as a nature reserve, that that pending protected status cannot be rescinded by the government without there being a process of public engagement, public consultation, and the sharing of public information. […] Because after all, that land was put on the protected list, in the first place, as a result of extensive public consultation.”

Gary Burrill

The Owls Head Act as tabled:

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Michael Gorman Interview Residents in Favour of the Golf Course and Gary Burrill

Rock Crevice by Caitlin Porter
Owls Head golf proposal could bring much needed economic development, supporters claim.

CBC’s Michael Gorman interviews Margaret Stevens, Seldon Keating, and Ronnie McKay, local residents that live near the proposed golf course development at Owls Head Park. Then, Michael Gorman hears from NDP Leader Gary Burrill about the Owls Head Act. We have transcribed some of the questions and answers below. You can listen to the whole interview here.

March 3, 2020
CBC Radio
Information Morning

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Late Debate: Gary Burrill Speaks about Owls Head in the House of Assembly

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February 26, 2020
The Nova Scotia House of Assembly
Late Debate (Adjournment Debate)
Gary Burrill, Leader of the NDP

Resolution for Late Debate, as submitted by Gary Burrill:

Therefore be it resolved that the government could have done a much-improved job in its handling of the question of the Owls Head Provincial Park.

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Gary Burrill Questions Premier Stephen McNeil about Owls Head Provincial Park

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Gary Burrill: I would like to ask the Premier about the Crown lands in Owls Head and Little Harbour. In March of last year, the government passed a confidential minute letter by means of which Owls Head Provincial Park was removed from the list of pending protected areas. Then in December, a couple of months ago, thanks only to the investigative work of a diligent journalist this fact came to public light. Last month, in January, the government quietly removed the park from the online map of protected areas. I want to ask the Premier if he would share his reasoning as to why his government did not consult, did not engage, did not even inform the public at any point along this process?

Continue reading “Gary Burrill Questions Premier Stephen McNeil about Owls Head Provincial Park”

Gary Burrill Introduces The Owls Head Act

NDP's Gary Burrill at Save Owls Head Rally - Photo by David Sorcher

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On February 26, 2020, Gary Burrill, leader of the NDP of Nova Scotia, introduced a bill to strengthen the Provincial Parks Act, the Special Places Protection Act, and the Wilderness Areas Protection Act. This bill aims to clarify the protections that the aforementioned acts afford to wilderness areas that are awaiting final designation as Parks or Park Reserves. If passed, the act would prevent the removal of lands without public notice or consultation. This Act may be cited as the Owls Head Act.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker,

I beg leave to introduce a bill titled “An Act Respecting Parks and Protected Areas.”

Gary Burrill

BILL NO. 231

(as introduced)

2nd Session, 63rd General Assembly
Nova Scotia
69 Elizabeth II, 2020

Private Member’s Bill

An Act Respecting
Parks and Protected Areas

Gary Burrill
Halifax Chebucto

This Bill strengthens the process for designations and removal of designations under the Provincial Parks Act, the Special Places Protection Act and the Wilderness Areas Protection Act.

An Act Respecting
Parks and Protected Areas

Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:

1 This Act may be cited as the Owls Head Act.

 

PROVINCIAL PARKS ACT

2 (1) Section 6 of Chapter 367 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Provincial Parks Act, is amended by

(a) renumbering subsection (1) as (1C);

(b) adding immediately before subsection (1C) the following subsections:

    (1) The Minister may set aside and reserve Crown land as park reserve for the purpose of temporarily protecting those lands until public consultation can be undertaken to determine whether those lands have the potential to be a provincial park and the Governor in Council makes a decision on whether to set side and reserve the Crown land as park reserve.

    (1A) Any Crown land designated as “NS Lands Proposed or Pending Protection” on the map “Parks and Protected Areas-A System for Nova Scotia” on the Government’s website on January 1, 2020, is deemed to have been set aside and reserved as park reserve by the Minister pursuant to subsection (1).

    (1B) The Minister shall prepare a report on the results of the consultation and submit the report to the Executive Council.

(2) Subsection 6(1C) of Chapter 367 is amended by

(a) striking out “The” in the first line and substituting “On submission to it of a report pursuant to subsection (1A), the”; and

(b) adding “referred to in the report” immediately after “land” in the second line.

(3) Section 6 of Chapter 367 is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (1C) the following subsection:

    (1D) Where the Governor in Council sets aside and reserves Crown land as park reserve, the Minister shall publish a notice of the reservation, including details thereof.

(4) Subsection 6(3) of Chapter 367 is repealed and the following subsections substituted:

    (3) Upon the setting aside and reservation of Crown land as park reserve, and notwithstanding the provision of any other special or general statute, the Province may not grant, lease or otherwise dispose of that land.

    (3A) Any grant of the Province of any rights under any other statute, including, but not so as to restrict the generality thereof, mining rights, fishing and game rights, forestry rights and water rights, are forbidden on any Crown land set aside and reserved as park reserve and any grant purported to be made is null and void.

3 Chapter 367 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 6 the following Section:

    6A Where Crown land has been set aside and reserved as park reserve pursuant to Section 6, the setting aside and reservation as park reserve may only be cancelled by the Governor in Council after public consultation and a report by the Minister on the results of the consultation submitted to the Executive Council.

4 Chapter 367 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 9A the following Section:

    9B (1) Upon the designation of an area as a provincial park, and notwithstanding the provision of any other special or general statute, the Province may not grant, lease or otherwise dispose of that park.

    (2) Any grant of the Province of any rights under any other statute, including, but not so as to restrict the generality thereof, mining rights, fishing and game rights, forestry rights and water rights, are forbidden in any park and any grant purported to be made is null and void.

SPECIAL PLACES PROTECTION ACT

5 Section 5 of Chapter 438 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Special Places Protection Act, as amended by Chapter 28 of the Acts of 2005, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (2) the following subsection:

    (2A) Before appointing a member of the Committee pursuant to clause (2)(c), the Minister shall advertise the position.

6 Section 6 of Chapter 438 is amended by adding immediately after clause (b) the following clause:

    (ba) recommending the designation of special places;

7 (1) Section 7 of Chapter 438, as amended by Chapter 45 of the Acts of 1990, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (1) the following subsection:

    (1A) When submitting a designation to the Governor in Council pursuant to subsection (1), the Minister shall include with it any recommendation of the Committee pertaining to it.

(2) Section 7 of Chapter 438, as amended by Chapter 45 of the Acts of 1990, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (2B) the following subsection:

    (2C) Any land designated as “NS Lands Proposed or Pending Protection” on the map “Parks and Protected Areas-A System for Nova Scotia” on the Government’s website on January 1, 2020, is deemed to have been set aside and reserved as a protected site by the Minister pursuant to subsection (1).

8 Section 14 of Chapter 438, as amended by Chapter 45 of the Acts of 1990, Chapter 6 of the Acts of 2004 and Chapter 28 of the Acts of 2005, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (1) the following subsections:

    (1A) When submitting a designation to the Governor in Council pursuant to subsection (1), the Minister shall include with it any recommendation of the Committee pertainin

    (1B) Any Crown land designated as “NS Lands Proposed or Pending Protection” on the map “Parks and Protected Areas-A System for Nova Scotia” on the Government’s website on January 1, 2020, is deemed to have been set aside and reserved as an ecological site by the Minister pursuant to subsection (1).

WILDERNESS AREAS PROTECTION ACT

9 Section 10 of Chapter 27 of the Acts of 1998, the Wilderness Areas Protection Act, is amended by adding immediately after subsection (2) the following subsection

    (2A) The Minister shall establish an advisory committee with responsibility to recommend the designation of wilderness areas.

10 (1) Clause 11(3)(d) of Chapter 27 is amended by adding “but, for greater certainty, not to facilitate any commercial, resource-extraction or industrial activity” immediately after “area” in the last line.

(2) Section 11 of Chapter 27 is amended by adding immediately after subsection (3) the following subsection:

    (3A) Any land designated as “NS Lands Proposed or Pending Protection” on the map “Parks and Protected Areas-A System for Nova Scotia” on the Government’s website on January 1, 2020, is deemed to have been designated as a wilderness area by the Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, pursuant to subsection (3) until public consultation can be undertaken to determine whether that land has the potential to be a wilderness area and the Minister, with the approval of the Governor in Council, makes a decision on whether to designate the land as a wilderness area.

(3) Section 11 of Chapter 27 is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (5) the following subsections:

    (5A) Upon the designation of an area as a wilderness area, and notwithstanding the provision of any other special or general statute, the Province may not grant, lease or otherwise dispose of that area.

    (5B) Any grant of the Province of any rights under any other statute, including, but not so as to restrict the generality thereof, mining rights, fishing and game rights, forestry rights and water rights, are forbidden within any wilderness area and any grant purported to be made is null and void.

(4) Section 11 of Chapter 27 is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (7) the following subsection:

    (7A) When submitting a designation to the Governor in Council pursuant to subsection (3), the Minister shall include with it a report of the results of the consultation required by clause (6)(b).

11 Chapter 27 is further amended by adding immediately after Section 11 the following Section:

    11A (1) Where an area of land has been designated as a wilderness area pursuant to Section 11, the designation may only be cancelled by the Minister with the approval of the Governor in Council, and only after public consultation and a report by the Minister on the results of the consultation submitted to the Executive Coun

    (2) Nothing in subsection (1) authorizes the cancellation of the designations of the wilderness areas set out in the Schedules.


This page and its contents published by the Office of the Legislative Counsel, Nova Scotia House of Assembly, and © 2020 Crown in right of Nova Scotia. Created February 26, 2020. Send comments to legc.office@novascotia.ca.

Read the Bill on the Nova Scotia Legislature Website>

Explanatory Note

This Bill strengthens the process for designations and removal of designations under the Provincial Parks Act, the Special Places Protection Act and the Wilderness Areas Protection Act.