Picture this: the ocean breeze is blowing through your hair. Imagine the sand underneath your feet. Think back to days spent at a quiet beach or walking along a rocky shore. You are building sandcastles, watching the seals following the fishing boats, looking for sea glass, digging clams, or collecting shells. Can you imagine life in Nova Scotia without these things? No, neither can I.
When we open our eyes, we see that our coasts are being taken away. More and more of us are losing our access to the shore, as land that the public has enjoyed for generations is being sold to the highest bidder. Each time the government sells the public’s coastal lands, they are also selling a crucial aspect of life in Nova Scotia.
The latest example in a dangerous trend of losing our coastline is Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve. It encompasses 268 hectares (662 acres) of beautiful coastal land that the provincial government secretly delisted to sell to an American developer. The property had been slated for protection through the 2013 Parks and Protected Areas Plan, so of course, we thought it was safe. If we blink, our remaining coastline will get even smaller.
For Nova Scotians, the coast is often our backyard, our escape, our identity. And yet, only 5% of our coastline is actually public. Even that slice isn’t necessarily protected. You have to wonder… if only 5% of our coast is public and protected, what will remain for future generations?
Are we still Canada’s Ocean Playground if we lose our shores and coastal access?