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.
Indeed, $165,000 for the purchase of the federal parcel had been approved so that the province of Nova Scotia could buy the property and flip it to the developer in an incredible abuse of authority.
These lands could have (and should have) been added to the existing lands of the Provincial Park for $1. (But as Michael Gorman reported, that would have required that the parcel be used for a public purpose.)
Thankfully, through the work of CPAWS Nova Scotia, Michael Gorman’s CBC article on December 18, as well as the public outcry from this group and others, conservationists shone a light on this process and the Federal Government withdrew the offer to sell.
The property then survived a review process and more lobbying from the Federal MP before landing in a relatively safe place in Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Is this great news? You bet.
Is the battle over to save Owls Head? No, not by a long shot.
The Federal Minister of Environment, Jonathan Wilkinson deserves a lot of credit for preventing this betrayal of the public trust, for resisting the backroom political pressure, and for protecting these lands.
In these troubled times, we take these victories and hold them close. In the face of the vandalism and destruction of our signs, the personal attacks and threats against group members, the ongoing lies and denial of history by the McNeil Cabinet, we carry on.
Stop the sale. Save Owls Head.