Park designation saga doesn’t end at Owls Head, environmental group says

“Without stronger legal protections, Nova Scotia’s parks and protected areas will perpetually be at risk,” Lee said. 

That protection could come from a shift in common law to recognize that “the environment has become such an important issue for Nova Scotians and Canadians generally that it is time to recognize that the government does have an obligation to be transparent when it comes to important lands with ecological values,” lawyer Jamie Simpson told The Chronicle Herald in the past.

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CBC News: Owls Head, once considered for controversial golf course, designated as provincial park

Opponents took fight against proposed golf course development all the way to N.S. Supreme Court

“I’m very pleased and I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Bob Bancroft, a biologist who sought a judicial review of the former Liberal government’s decision to delist Owls Head from the Parks and Protected Areas Plan.

… Bancroft said he hopes lessons will be learned in the process.

“I hope that all the underlying measures of how this all happened are dealt with. We need to protect this from happening again.”

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Press Release: Applicants headed to Court of Appeal

Respected wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and local environmental group Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association are heading back to court. In July, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Christa Brothers ruled that there is “no recognized common law duty of procedural fairness owed by the Crown to the public at large.” But the applicants believe it’s time for that to change.

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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.

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