Richard Bell
Eastern Shore Cooperator
February 18, 2020

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The controversy over Owls Head Provincial Park began on December 18, 2019, when CBC reporter Michael Gorman reported the province had secretly decided on March 13, 2019 to sell Owls Head Provincial Park to a wealthy American who planned to build three golf courses on the site (Lighthouse Links). The decision put in jeopardy hundreds of other parcels of Crown land that the public had previously believed were protected lands that could not be removed from protection without a public hearing.

Upset by the government’s back-room dealings, opponents of the secret deal mobilized quickly, starting with a Facebook site on December 19th that had more than 3,000 members by February 14th. Opponents on the site, now called “Save Little Harbour/Owls Head From Corrupt Backroom Deal,” have marshalled a wide variety of historical and scientific evidence supporting their arguments.

… With the Facebook page growing rapidly, opponents held a public meeting on January 26 at the Ship Harbour Community Centre at which more than 200 people showed up. Patricia Egli from Forest Watch presented her research on the history of Owls Head Provincial Park, showing that for the last 45 years, successive provincial governments have consistently identified Owls Head Provincial Park in plans for protecting Nova Scotia’s public lands. Chris Trider, who worked on coastal planning issues for 21 years at the then-Department of Natural Resources, reviewed the scientific evidence on the ecological value of the parklands. Representatives of the Ecology Action Centre and the Canada Parks and Wilderness Society spoke in favour of stopping the sale, as did Mike Collard from the Halifax Wilderness Association, and NS Association of Anglers and Hunters.

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