I don’t like speaking in public but since I was born and brought up right next to Owls Head Provincial Park, I thought I should say a few words.
Approximately 15-16 years ago, a stranger from the US purchased some property in Little Harbour. This property lies between my parents’ home and Owls Head Provincial Park. This was the first time that someone moved to Little Harbour, built a home and gated their property off from the rest of the community. Over the next 15-16 years, this same person purchased 21 additional properties in the community. Most of these properties are sitting vacant.
In December 2019, Michael Gorman, a CBC reporter announced that he was informed by a whistle-blower that Owls Head Provincial Park was to be sold to that very same person. Shortly after this announcement, I formed the Facebook group to save Owls Head Provincial Park. As of today, we now have over 4,300 members fighting to protect this rare ecosystem. An ecosystem that is home to two endangered species, habitat to over 70 species of birds, a refuge for migratory birds, natural bedrock ridges that are over 10,000 years old, A biodiverse property with undisturbed wetlands, salt marshes, bogs, a freshwater lake, beaches and rugged coastline and much more.
So, what does this stranger propose to do with Owls Head Provincial Park? He proposes to turn it into three world-class golf courses. He proposes to grind up the 10,000 years of natural bedrock into sand. He proposes to destroy and alter the wetlands. He proposes to truck in 1000s of loads of soil and fill and convert this rare ecosystem into a grass monoculture that will be managed by nitrates and pesticides.
Just the thought of this, brings tears to my eyes. My brother Timmy has been laid to rest on this property next to his tree stand and favourite hunting spot. I know he is here in spirit along with all the others who couldn’t make it to the rally.
Our present Premier Rankin’s logo is listen, learn and lead. He signed the Letter of Offer to sell Owls Head Provincial Park to this stranger who moved to Little Harbour many years ago. There was no public consultation. This was all planned in a backroom deal behind closed doors. I will be forever grateful for the whistle-blower who brought this sneaky deal to the attention of Michael Gorman at CBC.
So, that was sort of the short of it. This is why we are here today. I am overwhelmed by the support of Nova Scotians to save Owls Head Provincial Park. Premier Rankin, listen and learn, we are a community and we stand strong. We are the voice for Owls Head Provincial Park.
I want to personally thank each and every member of the Facebook group Save Owls Head/Little Harbour from Becoming Golf Courses. The passion and the love are way beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I want to thank Chris Trider and Bev Isaacs the other two admins of the group. Thank you to Lindsay Lee, editor of the website saveowlshead.org and so much more. Worth over her weight in gold because she doesn’t weigh very much. You are invaluable. I want to thank all the speakers who spoke today and I want to thank you all for coming out today in support of this court case. A special thank you to Nina for emceeing this event today. I swear from my PMs, that you must think I am crazy by now, but I promise you, I am only half-crazy.
I want to thank Environmental Lawyer Jamie Simpson, Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association and Bob Bancroft for taking on this case and all the people who donated funds to make it possible. Let us have hope that the judge will rule that our government’s actions towards this sale were unethical and then let us hope our government will do the right thing and save Owls Head Provincial Park.
On April 1, supporters gathered outside the Law Courts in solidarity with judicial review applicants Bob Bancroft and Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association.
Sydnee Lynn McKay, originally from Little Harbour, founded the Facebook group the very next day after Michael Gorman broke the story in December 2019.