Parks and Protected Areas: Protecting the Public Interest

Here’s another gem from the government website on Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan:

Our parks and protected areas contribute to our economy by:

  • anchoring our nature tourism industry
  • supporting the outdoor recreation industry
  • helping us brand Nova Scotia as a clean, green place in which to live, work, and do business
  • contributing to local and regional economies
  • employing people (directly and indirectly), especially in rural areas

So now, on April 1, we have to go to Court and fight the government, Premier Rankin’s government, to protect the public interest in the significant, large, coastal protected area referred to as Owls Head Provincial Park.

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Counterpoint: All Nova Scotians have stake in Owls Head golf issue

Bob Rosborough’s Feb. 20 opinion piece, “Sick of critics taking swings at golf development,” leaves out a number of significant aspects of the current debate on Owls Head. These aspects are important to understanding the widespread and growing public opposition to the secret removal of the property, referred to as Owls Head Provincial Park, from the Parks and Protected Areas Plan, and offering it for sale to a private developer.

Owls Head has a long history of protection that can be traced back to the intense public discussions of the mid-1970s around the creation of a potential national park on the Eastern Shore. The large, unique coastal Crown block survived that process as a natural environment park component in the Eastern Shore Seaside Park System. It was recognized as a park by public agencies for 45 years and was included in the final 2013 plan that identified the sites to be designated for protection to meet the province’s 13 per cent target as site #694. 

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The Whole is Greater

There’s a saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” which refers to the synergy that is created when the pieces all complete each other and contribute to a greater experience.

Owls Head was not appraised by the secret real estate deal guys as the integral part of the whole Eastern Shore Islands that it represents.
The public lands of Owls Head, 700 acres of pristine coastal heathlands, represent an invaluable connection between the Wild Islands project and the Eastern Shore Seaside Park System. They are a classic, representative landscape of parallel quartzite ridges, bogs and coastal spruce forests with a globally rare plant community.

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Hold Them Close

The formal transfer of the so-called “surplus” federal land at Owls Head to Environment and Climate Change Canada is good news for all of us that are trying to prevent the secret deal to sell the lands of Owls Head Provincial Park.

The same developer, to whom Minister Rankin and Company offered to sell our parklands, was also secretly maneuvering to acquire these lands by using the Federal MP and the Provincial Cabinet.

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Corema - Broom Crowberry

How Do We Put a Value on Owls Head?

How do we put a value on Owls Head Provincial Park?

There have been few valuations for rare plants, let alone globally rare plant communities. For example, a rare Shenzhen Nongke orchid is valued at $202,000 per plant. We would need to do a series of transects and plots at Owls Head Provincial Park to get an honest number of the rare plants and communities to put into the economic calculus of a ” balanced ” view.

“A mature tree can have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.” So let’s do a survey of all the ancient coastal white spruce stands at Owls head and put an average value of $2000 on the individual specimens, but let’s be fair and only value the trees that are 75-100+ years old, the ones impossible to replace in a lifetime.

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