Letter to the Editor
Contributed by Edward L. Pencer
The Chronicle Herald
January 4, 2020
I read with interest and, I must admit, alarm your article regarding the Owls Head proposal. Juxtaposing this development with the major concerns around the Town Point Consulting (TPC) project in Antigonish Harbour, it appears clear that a pattern is emerging.
In both instances, developers proceeded with projects harmful to the environment, without adequate prior public notification or consultation, but with the full knowledge of the Department of Lands and Forestry. In the case of (TPC), the company laid pipes in the harbour without required permits. In the case of Owls Head, Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin delisted 285 hectares of protected Crown property and then entered into very private negotiations with the Gilbert family to purchase this land with a view to building two or three 18-hole golf courses.
More egregiously, the minister has allowed TPC to apply for the necessary permits after the work had been conducted and may grant retroactive approval. As I indicated in a previous letter, this is like a minister allowing an individual, perhaps a wealthy, well-connected one, caught driving without a valid driver’s licence to retroactively apply for one to mitigate any penalties.
We see the same pattern with Owls Head. The property was delisted from protected status, sold, and again, after the fact, the province will conduct the “full public review.”It is becoming abundantly clear that Rankin has favoured the interests of wealthy private investors over the public interest he has sworn to serve. This man wants to be the leader of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia? We need leaders to serve the public interests and we need these projects halted.
Edward L. Pencer, Lanark
In the case of Owls Head Provincial Park, the park has not officially been sold and Lighthouse Links has not yet started development. But it is true that Lighthouse Links is moving forward despite public discord and the warnings of scientists. For instance, the company applied for (and received) “intervenor” status in the ongoing court case.
Lighthouse Links is required to have a “public consultation,” but there’s no telling what that will look like or who will be allowed to participate. Furthermore, public consultation by the developer does not replace the public consultation that Lands and Forestry (the Nova Scotia government) should have conducted BEFORE the park was delisted. Our government still refuses to undertake its own public consultation.