LTE: Not Binary Choice

Contributed by Patricia Egli
The Chronicle Herald
March 1, 2021

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Bob Rosborough’s Feb. 20 opinion piece failed to address the key concerns about Owls Head Provincial Park. The question has never been whether or not golf courses should be developed on the Eastern Shore. There is no lack of private land on the Eastern Shore that would be as suitable, if not more, for such developments.

Any politicians or private interests who frame the situation as “golf vs. conservation” or “economy vs. environment” are not only misrepresenting the situation but also doing a disservice to Nova Scotians.

The Nova Scotia government reneged on its commitments by secretly delisting Owls Head Provincial Park, a piece of public land slated for protection. The government deliberately discounted the property’s 45-year history, its well-established conservation values, and years of public consultations, all to offer the land for sale to an American developer at a bargain price.

What’s most egregious is that this was all done behind closed doors, so there was no opportunity for public consultation or scientific inquiry before the property was delisted.

Former Lands & Forestry Minister (now Premier) Iain Rankin ignored extensive research on the site’s conservation values when he facilitated the secret delisting and letter of offer to sell Owls Head Provincial Park.

If our elected officials can covertly and unilaterally choose not to honour past commitments, the next time they could sacrifice any one of a hundred other “provincial parks” that are awaiting official designation. It’s no wonder that citizens across the province are concerned about the precedent this will set.

Mr. Rosborough is entitled to his opinion, but he does not speak for all Eastern Shore residents. Many residents of the Eastern Shore — along with thousands of other Nova Scotians — are advocating for the government to respect the scientific evidence and respect its citizens. We should not have to take the government to court to have a chance to be heard.

All Nova Scotians are stakeholders of Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan; we are all in this together. Every resident deserves transparency and meaningful public consultation — not years of orchestrated secrecy — from their government.

Patricia Egli, Oyster Pond, member of Eastern Shore Forest Watch

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