LTE: Golf Links not Green

Contributed by Ian Guppy (P.Eng)
The Chronicle Herald
March 1, 2021

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Re: your Feb. 8 story, “Group urges Rankin to revisit Owls Head property sale decision.”

Governments should be investing in public infrastructure rather than gambling on being able to pick winners or losers within the realm of private business. Beckwith Gilbert is a wealthy American businessman who has made vague promises about his plans to develop multiple golf courses and real estate. If his plan has merit, surely the business case would not need public investment.

Our government was trying to secretly sell an intended provincial public park to Mr. Gilbert in order to support the creation of private infrastructure and wealth. In addition, private golf course development has been proven to be environmentally destructive as a result of its construction, herbicide and pesticide use, contaminated runoff, and local water consumption. Contrary to current government messaging, golf courses are neither “innovative” nor “sustainable” infrastructure, especially considering the current circumstances we face: a global pandemic and the effects of climate change.

It is vitally important that governments invest in green infrastructure in order to ensure the health and well-being of Nova Scotians, including their economic well-being. In the new knowledge economy, for example, high-speed internet access is urgently needed in rural Nova Scotia and would be a wiser route to improving the local economy than a golf course.

As a professional engineer, I admire and appreciate creative solutions and thinking. Destroying public land of high conservation value at Owls Head is neither a smart investment nor innovative, and needs to be stopped.

Ian Guppy, P.Eng., Halifax

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