LTE: Sensitive Ecosystem

Contributed by Peter Barss
The Chronicle Herald
March 1, 2021

Read on the Chronicle Herald’s website>

In his Feb. 20 opinion piece, Bob Rosborough argues that the sale and construction of golf courses at Owls Head will help the economy  of the Eastern Shore to “thrive and survive.”

Most certainly, people who live in the area deserve a healthy economy, but are golf courses and luxury condos the answer?

Rosborough describes the two wealthy Americans, Beckwith and Kitty Gilbert, who are behind the deal as “environmentally conscious” and, at the same time, notes that the land in question has been undisturbed for over 10,000 years “since the last ice age.”

This land was, at one point, environmentally significant enough to be designated as a park. Several scientific studies have determined that the ecology of the land is “globally rare.” It is difficult to make a valid argument that the Gilberts have any intention of caring for the natural environment when the golf courses they are proposing are decidedly man-made.

Rosborough also embraces the Gilberts as “philanthropists,” apparently saviours who are parachuting in to save the “humble” poor who live on the Eastern Shore. I will point out that the very wealthy don’t get very wealthy by lending a hand to sagging economies. Perhaps wrapping self-interest in a blanket of patriarchal condescension sweetens the deal?

Independent studies conducted by Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s universities and confirmed by experts at  the Ecology Action Centre and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society offer scientific proof that the environments of the land, the shore, and the eel grass beds just off shore are fragile and could very well be destroyed by the proposed development. Rosborough dismisses these bodies of scientific study as the “false claims” of “ranting social media followers.”

Rosborough’s argument and the development he supports fly in the face of common sense and scientific fact.

Full disclosure: I am from the South Shore. I do not presume to speak for the residents of the Owls Head area. However, I believe that this issue extends beyond Owls Head and even beyond Nova Scotia. Ultimately, we all live in the same environment. We breathe the same air and drink the same water. I support environmental causes because I have grandchildren and someday they will have children.

Peter Barss

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