LTE: Could Owls Head follow Trump’s Scottish template?

Letter to the Editor
Contributed by Pamela Baker
The Chronicle Herald
February 9, 2021

Originally published here>

A rich, white American looking for a location to make money goes to a foreign country with a plan to take over vast acreage to build a magnificent homage to the game of golf. He convinces the locals that this is in their best interests. He says it will bring employment and improve the existing rocky, barren landscape. He buys up, in his words, “deplorable properties” and called one “a pigsty, so who cares?”

This American promised 6,000 jobs, a five-star hotel with 450 rooms, shops, a sports complex, time-share flats and two golf courses.

The reality? There is currently one golf course, open about 6-7 months, a practice range, a small clubhouse and renovated house with 16 rooms. Locals insist that they were deceived, their nearby sand dunes and plant life endangered and their peaceful existence irrevocably ruined.

Although this is the story of Donald Trump’s foray into Scotland, it could easily be the fate of Owls Head on the Eastern Shore.

Locals are being led to believe that a rich white American is going to deliver the same joyous outcome as promised to the Scots. Signs abound that many welcome the golf course, whilst signs for saving Owls Head (by a 4,000-strong opposition group, including locals, biologists, ecologists, doctors, etc.) are routinely torn down. The course supporters see this venture as bringing jobs to the Shore. There is no doubt that unemployment is a concern, but at what cost? And, for whom? What guarantee is there, as with Trump, that once a course is built, it will fulfil the promise of employment? How many months of the year on Owls Head would this course be open? Three? Maybe four.

Where are these golfers going to come from, or stay? Will the over one-hour drive be worth it? During black fly season? How will local residents be affected by months of construction? How will roads fare after constant truck travel?

Most importantly, what damage will it do to a fragile ecosystem, to an area that should be and was promised to be protected?

The Scottish documentary was originally titled, “You’ve been Trumped Too” and rebranded as “The film he doesn’t want you to see.”

My fear is that it will happen here, and documentaries will be made about us.

Pamela Baker, Ship Harbour


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