The Halifax Examiner
January 10, 2021
In late November, an American couple withdrew an offer to purchase 285 hectares of crown land known as Owls Head to develop a golf course along the Eastern Shore. That appears to have been the catalyst for a decision by the Houston government to protect Owls Head as a provincial park or potential wilderness area.
“The government has committed to protecting Owls Head lands as part of its 20% land protection goal (mandated in the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act passed in October),” said Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton in an email. “The process to protect those lands is underway but we don’t have any further details to share at this stage.”
That’s good news for the 10,000-plus people who signed a formal written petition and mounted a two-year campaign to “Save Owls Head” after the previous Liberal government secretly removed the rocky coastal area from a list of 125 places being considered for future designation as parks or protected areas because of their beauty or habitat for endangered species.
…The PCs are currently reviewing the process by which lands get nominated for potential protection, as well as the process by which some get formally designated as parks, wilderness areas, or protected places. Rushton has not committed to “plugging a democratic loophole” but he says the process will be improved.
“We are committed to transparency and giving the public an opportunity to provide input on how public lands are used, managed and protected,” said Rushton. “The departments of Natural Resources and Renewables and Environment and Climate Change are working together to identify the next sites and complete the necessary consultations, legal review, and surveying required to get these sites to the final stage of designation. Some areas are further along than others.”