“Why Should I Be the First?”

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.

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.

Owls Head Goes to Court by Richard Bell


I can answer Judge Brothers’s question: because somebody has to be the first.

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RICHARD BELL: Owls Head Goes to Court

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.

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Paying Twice

On April 1, the government of Nova Scotia — Premier Rankin’s government — will be arguing against the people of the province in favour of a secret deal to sell the 700-acre public park at Owls Head to a private development company.

They are essentially fighting the public interest in favour of the American developer. It’s not a pretty picture, is it?

A government forcing its citizens to fundraise and go to Court to seek fairness, truth and transparency.

Ironically, taxpayers are also paying the developer’s costs since the government has chosen to argue on his behalf. The government lawyers are paid by all the taxpaying public, not just the few who stand to profit privately from this development.

On April 1 the government — Premier Rankin’s government — will fight against the interests of the people who elected them.

Stop the sale. Save Owls Head.

Applicants’ Brief

PRE-HEARING BRIEF SUBMITTED ON BEHALF OF THE APPLICANTS WITH RESPECT TO THEIR APPLICATION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW

The Applicants in this judicial review challenge the following decisions:

a.the Minister of Lands and Forestry and Treasury and Policy Board’s March 13, 2019 decision to remove Owls Head Provincial Park from the Parks and Protected Areas Plan of 2013; and

b.the Minister of Lands and Forestry’s December 16, 2019 decision to execute a Letter of Offer with Lighthouse Links Development Corporation in order to sell the Owls Head Crown land for private development into resort residences and two or three golf-courses.

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Donate to the Legal Fund

Labrador Tea by Lindsay Lee
This fundraising campaign is now closed.

Update

Barbara Markovits from Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association has announced that we’ve raised enough money to go forward with the judicial review. Thank you for your generous support!

Background

As you know, the people of Nova Scotia have won the first round! Justice Coady of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court has granted us an extension to file an application for a judicial review (regarding the delisting of Owl’s Head Park from the list of Provincial Park Reserves).

We (Forest Watch and Bob Bancroft) have now officially requested this judicial review. This next step will take more time and more money. In August, we estimated that we would need an additional $10,000 to address the issues in the judicial review process.

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Court Costs Overview from Forest Watch

Update: The judicial review has been fully funded thanks to concerned citizens like you. Thank you!

Statement from Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association
September 5, 2020

Good News: The people of Nova Scotia have won the first round! Justice Coady of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court has granted us an extension to file an application for a judicial review regarding the delisting of Owl’s Head Park from the list of Provincial Park Reserves. We are also requesting a judicial review of the provincial government’s Letter of Offer to sell Owl’s Head Provincial Park Reserve to Lighthouse Links Development Company.

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Owls Head Sale Opponents Back in Court

Richard Bell
Eastern Shore Cooperator
August 23, 2020

Full Article Here>

Opponents of the proposed sale of Owls Head Provincial Park to an American billionaire took the next legal step forward on August 18 with the filing of an amended version of their January request for a judicial review. A hearing to set a date for the full judicial review will take place on September 23, although the trial itself will probably not take place until 2021.

The amended petition challenges two different secret decisions by Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin:  the decision to de-list the park on March 13, 2019 and the decision to entertain a Letter of Offer with the golf course developer on December 19, 2019.

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