Dear Ms. McKay:
I am responding to your letter of January 12, 2020 regarding Crown lands located at Little Harbour, Nova Scotia, also referred to as Owl’s Head. I confirm that the Department of Lands and Forestry (the Department) has entered into a Letter of Offer to potentially sell the Crown lands (LOO). The LOO sets out the terms and conditions between the parties, but it does not approve the potential sale. When the Department receives an application to sell Crown lands, it is reviewed following relevant processes. The transaction under review to sell the Crown lands referred to as Owls Head will undergo the usual due diligence reviews and assessments, including seeking approval by Cabinet before it would be sold.
The Government of Nova Scotia and the Department is committed to making decisions in a manner that is consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing and asserted Aboriginal and treaty rights. Consultation with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and accommodation where required, and appropriate, occurs when contemplating conduct that has the potential to adversely impact established and/or asserted Mi’kmaw Aboriginal right. Consultation with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia will occur before the transaction under review is considered for approval.
If the Crown lands are sold, any proposed development would be subject to all applicable Municipal, Provincial and Federal legislation, approvals and authorizations required for the proposed development.
It is government’s role to balance the need to protect land with the need to allow economic activity in an area. We continue to examine areas both inside and outside the Parks and Protected Areas plan for designation.
Government remains committed to protecting the province’s most valuable biodiversity and habitats. That is why we recently designated 17 more sites as protected areas. We are also working to finalize another group of sites.
All together, these sites will protect more than 14,000 hectares and bring our total land protected to about 12.75%. That brings us closer to our goal of 13%.
Original signed by Iain Rankin
Minister of Lands and Forestry
c Hon. Gordon Wilson, Minister of Environment
Kevin Murphy, MLA Eastern Shore
Leslie C. Hickman, Executive Director, Lands and forestry
Peter Geddes, Executive Director, Policy, Planning & Support
Walter Fanning, Executive Director, Regional Services Branch
Jon Porter, Executive Director, Renewable Resources Branch