Beyond Owls Head Park

Rally 2/20/2020 - photo Peter Barss

June 30, 2020

It bears repeating at this point that the struggle to stop the secret sale and protect Owls Head Provincial Park has never been just about Owls Head.

It has never been about preventing local economic development , and never about just preventing golf courses.

It is about protecting all our Provincial Parks and Wilderness Areas.

Minister Rankin and Premier McNeil have both stated publicly that every property in the Parks and Protected Areas Plan is ” under review.” Any property on that list can be removed and offered for sale without public knowledge or oversight, and without following established policies and procedures.

After the years of public engagement, stewardship, and commitments to protect our lands, for the government to act in this manner is morally and ethically unacceptable.

Stop the sale. Save Owls Head.

Christopher Trider

Lawyer: Roughly half of N.S. provincial parks awaiting designation, like Owls Head was before delisting

Owls Head - Vision Air

Nicole Munro
The Chronicle Herald
June 28, 2020

Full Article Here>

HALIFAX, N.S. — Starting Monday, an environmental lawyer will make his case to a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge to allow for a judicial review of the delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park and its negotiated sale to a private golf course developer. 

But the two-day hearing is only the start to ensuring Nova Scotia’s Department of Lands and Forestry is open and transparent about all of its provincial parks, whether they’re officially designated or pending approval, Jamie Simpson said. 

Continue reading “Lawyer: Roughly half of N.S. provincial parks awaiting designation, like Owls Head was before delisting”

LTE: Owls Head(ache) Provincial Park

Letter to the Editor
Contributed by Dusan Soudek
The Coast
February 6, 2020

If you think the provincial cabinet’s secret decision to remove Owls Head Provincial Park reserve (or an “undesignated” provincial park in government-speak) from a list of public properties slated for permanent protection is of interest only to a few Eastern Shore locals, think again.

Many other provincial parks in HRM, and elsewhere in Nova Scotia, are “undesignated” under the Provincial Parks Act and hence enjoy only administrative protection—not legal protection. On the Eastern Shore, they include Paces Lake Provincial Park, Lower East Chezzetcook Provincial Park, Liscomb Point Provincial Park, and others farther east. Closer to home, they include the immensely popular McCormacks Beach Provincial Park in Eastern Passage and Herring Cove Provincial Park and Blind Bay Provincial Park outside Halifax.

Continue reading “LTE: Owls Head(ache) Provincial Park”

Provincial parks legislation needs update on pending protected land: NDP Press Release

January 30th, 2020

Halifax — The NDP Caucus will table legislation this upcoming session to strengthen the Provincial Parks Act to ensure pending protected land cannot be delisted without public consultation. The Wilderness Areas Protection Act already requires public consultation when changing designation of significant areas.

“As we’ve seen with Owl’s Head, right now, the government can meet behind closed doors and delist land that the community believed to be protected,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “This process must be more open and involve community input. When it comes to protecting land and wildlife, a decision made at the Cabinet table shouldn’t be the only step to move land from pending protection status to being available for sale.”

The NDP government consulted over 2000 Nova Scotians before publishing a plan to protect dozens of sites across the province in 2013. The Our Parks and Protected Areas plan includes about 90 sites that are still pending protection. The NDP plan included a goal of protecting all of those sites by 2015.

“When communities see how quickly and quietly things have moved with Owl’s Head, it is understandable that people throughout the province are concerned this could happen to their parks too,” said Burrill.

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Source: https://www.nsndp.ca/provincial-parks-legislation-needs-update-pending-protected-land

Now vs Then

Every property that made it onto the list of Parks and Protected Areas Plan had a reason to be there. Each had a history. Owl’s Head Provincial Park was property #694 until an arrogant, duplicitous Minister and Cabinet removed it. Now the government is trying to erase Owls Head from the public record. The initial CBC article by Michael Gorman, published on December 18, points to a backroom deal fabricated by lobbyists and political dinosaurs who think that anything is for sale. A secret deal, a Letter of Offer to sell 661 acres of public coastal land to a private developer. At this time, two Ministers have made misleading public statements in attempts to cover the smell of a deal that would not stand the light of public scrutiny or professional review.

Pristine coastal barrens, rare plants, endangered species, water frontage on 5 coves and a lake, sand beaches, ideal coves and inlets for coastal kayaking, did I mention publicly owned? Continue reading “Now vs Then”