Kent Smith for Eastern Shore
My view is that it is a terrible deal overall:
• Terrible for the environment for obvious reasons
• Terrible for the public because we had no opportunity to offer feedback
• Terrible for establishing/restoring faith in our elected officials to do the right thing.
There has to be a better balance between environment/economy, and taxpayers deserve to be informed & have a mechanism to provide input on decisions like this.Kent Smith
Julie Chaisson for Hammonds Plains – Lucasville
First off I’ll tell you the leader’s position, which I share too. Tim Houston has a big problem with the province’s secret process for taking land intended for a provincial park and selling it to a wealthy American who wants to build three golf courses there. The phrase “behind closed doors” doesn’t even begin to cut it.
At this point, we know that opponents to the project have asked for a judicial review of the decision to delist Owls Head and that the judge reserved her decision, basically saying that the developer has to hold a public consultation, approved by Lands and Forests, and includes, the public and First Nations community. At this point, the developers have not put together any. Nor does the government show any movement away from their initial decision to de-list, despite the outcry.
With large wilderness areas in our own backyard, like the Birch Cove Blue Mountain area, who knows what other parts of the province are up for grabs to the highest bidder. It’s very concerning.
Our local economy’s success is key to the success of this province. The cost of living has gone up, and businesses are still navigating a pandemic where government help was limited. I believe Nova Scotians are looking for solutions to put ‘local’ at the heart of our economic recovery.Julie Chaisson
Becky Druhan for Lunenburg West
Susan Corkum-Greek for Lunenburg
What happened at Owl’s Head is a travesty, and the man running to continue as Premier is at the very center of it.Susan Corkum-Greek
The PC party has a long record of commitment to conservation. In fact it was legislation brought in under a PC government, called the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, that established (among other things) the framework for adding more protected areas.
Of course we know some of the skulduggery that took place under Mr. Rankin’s watch, his argument that it was crown land and not protected. The point is that even the Dexter government kept the EGSP legislation because members recognized that it laid out a strong system of accountability for government, i.e. not just stating goals but reporting on progress or lack of progress.
As regards Owl’s Head, our commitment has 2 prongs:
1. Ensure this absolutely can never happen again (nearly everyone agrees the former legislation was clear in its intention but we can make it illegal for government authorities to bypass public process). And
2. We will stop the sale if it is possible. Why the if? Because there is a signed letter of offer and other documents that do have legal value. So this will likely go to court and then we must assess the cost and winability. While I admire Mr. Burrell‘s staunch commitment to overturning the sale, I would suggest he can’t really promise that.
And one of the things I most admire about Tim Houston is he will not make a promise he can’t keep. Would it be more politically expedient to say he too will overturn the sale? Did 2-term premier Stephen McNeil find a doctor for every Nova Scotian? We can’t write a blank cheque for legal fees relating to Owl’s Head. But if it is deemed possible to overturn the sale – and I tend to think the best bet is the fact it was sold for an assessed value based on land that could not be developed when the intention was to develop it – a PC government will do so.
Tim Houston, Leader of the PC Party
Rankin’s actions are this file are really despicable.Tim Houston
My position is that any property on a protected list should stay on a protected list, unless a Court directs otherwise.
I will not allow this type of situation to happen under my watch and I certainly wouldn’t instigate it like he did.
That said, first, we need to understand what he actually signed behind those closed doors. My position is that everything pauses until we figure that out. If Rankin has committed the province to something we will need to understand that.