When the officials involved lie and try to sanitize online information, then you can rest assured that all is not above board. When discussions are moved to phone calls and plans are heavily redacted, again the alarm bells start ringing. Those in my profession are called “stewards of the land” and that really is what I am trying to be, to do. We must all be the voice of this land. I also know from the many years I worked with DNR (now Lands & Forestry) how difficult it is to acquire public coastal lands, and how precious the few that we have truly are.

I was involved in the golf course debate at West Mabou Beach and eventually at Cabot Links. The comparison between the Inverness courses and Owls Head is ridiculous. Cabot Links was built on an abandoned mine site that needed major remediation. The beach and dunes there have been artificially nourished by dredge spoil from the harbour for many years. So while there were environmental impacts and compromises, they were, in my opinion, outweighed by the positive economic impacts.

The Owls Head site has no soil; it has a precious, fragile organic duff layer that took thousands of years to evolve. Owls Head has pristine coastal barrens and is home to rare plants and endangered species.

Aerial View in Winter, by David Baker

Furthermore, the development of three golf courses at Owls Head may hurt the viability of the Inverness courses, rather than support it. They would be competing for the same wealthy fly-in golf crowd who only have so much time. That was the logic behind the recent push for an airport for Inverness: get them in and out, quicker and closer.

The Inverness Courses do not have the same geology or hydrological profile as Owls Head. Owls Head is a water recharge area contiguous to a candidate marine protected area (noted for its nursery and breeding characteristics for commercial fish species). High nitrogen or toxic chemical flows from 3 courses could have a very serious environmental impact. Most of the chemicals used in golf course maintenance have no detailed research on their impacts on the food chain. But I see that there are class action lawsuits from cancer victims exposed to many of the components.

For me, the lies and the deception of elected officials who are supposed to protect our interests are one thing; the abject failure to properly value the history and ecological significance of these lands is another.

So I’ll say it again: Stop the sale, protect Owls Head Provincial Park.

Christopher Trider

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