Designation would prevent a proposed gold mine from accessing the water source

Michael Gorman
CBC News
June 3, 2021

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A year and a half after asking for feedback on a proposed wilderness area that could kibosh a potential gold mine, Nova Scotia’s environment minister cannot say when a decision will be made or why it’s taking so long.

… “No self-respecting snail would have drug itself along as slowly as the Department of Environment is on the Archibald Lake protection question,” he told reporters.

Burrill said the government’s credibility on protected areas could be brought into question the longer it takes to make a decision.

He also pointed to the ongoing consideration for selling the coastal Crown land known as Owls Head provincial park, which until recently most people thought was already protected, and the effect that has had on public confidence.

“Why would they not be concerned that something parallel is going on?” he said.

In early 2020, as controversy mounted over the potential of Owls Head being sold to a private developer to build golf courses, the government leaned on the potential protection of Archibald Lake as proof of its commitment to the environment.

In a February 2020 information note to the minister of the day, obtained by CBC News through a freedom of information request, government talking points highlight the need to balance protected areas with job creation in rural communities.

It goes on to note a number of new properties other than Owls Head identified for protection, including Archibald Lake.

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