August 7, 2021
Originally published here
A boisterous crowd of nearly 200 people gathered in downtown Halifax to call on the province of Nova Scotia to halt the sale of more than 705 acres of crown land known as Owls Head to a U.S. developer who wants to build several golf courses along the Atlantic shoreline.
With the provincial election drawing closer on August 17, the contentious sale of Owls Head is quickly becoming a major issue on the campaign trail.
“This is a significant chunk of our coastline being offered up for $216,000,” said Theresa Pelley, a retired teacher and concerned citizen who lives in West Chezzetcook. “But the bigger issue than the fire sale on this globally rare and sensitive land is that it could happen in other areas of our province.”
Environmental lawyer Jamie Simpson and a group of concerned citizens called the Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association filed a judicial review in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, arguing the conditional sale of Owls Head, approved by then lands and forestry minister Iain Rankin to the Lighthouse Links Development Group, was done without public consultation and that failed to meet standards laid out by the province to protect public lands and goes against the public’s interest.
“If Owls Head had been formally designated as a provincial park, as was represented to the public, any change to its status as protected land would have required an order in counsel and would therefore would have been public knowledge,” said Simpson. […] “Ultimately, the government’s own misrepresentation of the status of the lands shielded its actions from scrutiny and allowed purportedly public lands to be sold out of the public’s eye,” said Simpson. “And those are damning facts, for sure.”