Contributed by Angela Poirier
The Chronicle Herald
May 15, 2021

Originally published here>

Re: “Proponent of Owls Head golf development has acquired more than 20 area properties,” May 2.

Karen White, publicist for the proponents of this project, says, “It is unfortunate that so much misinformation is clouding an objective view of the project.” I would like to think that objective analysis would come from government and not the developer’s side of the house.

As a former civil servant, it’s highly likely comprehensive analysis was undertaken by bureaucrats before submitting options to cabinet regarding the delisting of Crown lands for Owls Head Provincial Park. Summaries of those options have been redacted from the Memorandum to Cabinet obtained by opponents to the development because of cabinet confidentiality.

But there should be nothing stopping government from releasing the research bureaucrats undertook to support the cabinet submission, which might go some way toward helping people understand the rationale behind government’s decision. A cast of thousands signed off on the paperwork, many of whom have a duty and responsibility to provide evidence to support decision making.

Given the steps I had to go through when presenting policy options to abinet, I would find it hard to believe that research and analysis to inform this decision wouldn’t exist.

Coincidentally, I’ve co-authored a book, How Government Really Works — A field guide to bureaucracies in Canada, that uses a hypothetical issue associated with provincial parks to explore the steps bureaucrats follow when undertaking such analysis. In the example, we note this is an area of government service that is underfunded with little money for new developments. We also recognize the so-called invisible hand of the market could negatively affect the sustainability of the resource through development and bypassing preservation goals.

Angela Poirier, Shad Bay

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