FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEOctober 8, 2021 Owls Head Provincial Park Court Appeal Bob Bancroft and Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association hope that their case will be the first in Canada to usher in a new age in environmental law in Canada. Respected wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and local environmental group Eastern Read more…
Court examines procedural fairness,
‘public interest doctrine’ in fight over parkland’s pending sale
… The written decision notes that if the land “had been formally designated as a provincial park, as was represented to the public,” any change to its status would have been made public knowledge.
“Ultimately, the government’s own misrepresentation of the status of the lands shielded its actions from scrutiny and allowed purportedly protected lands to be considered for sale, out of the public eye,” wrote the court.(more…)
Bancroft v. Nova Scotia (Lands and Forestry) 2021 NSSC 234 August 1, 2021 To the people of Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia): We would like to extend our gratitude to the applicants—respected wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and local environmental group Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association—for standing up for Nova Scotia’s parks and Read more…
Bancroft v. Nova Scotia (Lands and Forestry), 2021 NSSC 234 SUPREME COURT OF NOVA SCOTIA Citation: Bancroft v. Nova Scotia (Lands and Forestry), 2021 NSSC 234 Date: 20210726 Docket: Hfx, No. 496023 Registry: Halifax Between: Robert Bancroft and Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association (Applicants) Nova Scotia Minister of Lands and Forestry and Attorney General of Nova Scotia (Respondents) Read more…
In Court on April 1, Judge Brothers asked Jamie Simpson to explain:
If Canadian courts were to recognize the public trust doctrine, then future Ministers of Lands & Forestry could more easily be held responsible if they failed to consult the public on critical decisions that appeared to be in violation of the public trust.Owls Head Goes to Court by Richard Bell
So it was not surprising that Judge Brothers asked Simpson to explain, “Why should I be the first judge in Canada” to rely on the public trust doctrine, given the reluctance thus far of other Canadian judges to cite the doctrine. Simpson went through statements of Canadian judges from a series of cases arguing for the benefits of incorporating public interest doctrine into Canadian law; from their perspective, the common law is not a fixed, unchanging entity, but something that has changed over time in order to deal with changes in the world at large.
I can answer Judge Brothers’s question: because somebody has to be the first.
The Executive Summary states, “With these changes, the new parks and protected areas system will include: 205 provincial parks.” And “Appendix A: Lands” presented “a complete list of new protected areas, as well as provincial park properties.” The list included 782 properties, listed alphabetically. In position 694, the document lists “Owls Head Provincial Park” as an “existing” park.
What the public was not aware of was that the province had never gone through the formal process of designating Owls Head Provincial Park as a “park.” And in fact, more than 100 of the other properties in the Plan were in the same undesignated category.(more…)
The Department of Lands and Forestry’s decision to secretly delist Owls Head Provincial Park prompted applicants Bob Bancroft and Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association to take the case to court on behalf of concerned Nova Scotians. This legal case has been generously funded by supporters of the Save Owls Head Read more…
An Excerpt from the Applicants’ Pre-Trial Brief
“The Applicants’ legitimate expectations that they would be informed and consulted before a park would be removed from the PAPA Plan and sold for private development further elevates the duty of fairness owed.”(more…)