RICHARD BELL: Owls Head Goes to Court

The Executive Summary states, “With these changes, the new parks and protected areas system will include: 205 provincial parks.” And “Appendix A: Lands” presented “a complete list of new protected areas, as well as provincial park properties.” The list included 782 properties, listed alphabetically. In position 694, the document lists “Owls Head Provincial Park” as an “existing” park.

What the public was not aware of  was that the province had never gone through the formal process of designating Owls Head Provincial Park as a “park.” And in fact, more than 100 of the other properties in the Plan were in the same undesignated category.

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Applicants’ Brief

Pre-hearing brief submitted on behalf of the applicants with respect to their application for judicial review

The Applicants in this judicial review challenge the following decisions:

a.the Minister of Lands and Forestry and Treasury and Policy Board’s March 13, 2019 decision to remove Owls Head Provincial Park from the Parks and Protected Areas Plan of 2013; and

b.the Minister of Lands and Forestry’s December 16, 2019 decision to execute a Letter of Offer with Lighthouse Links Development Corporation in order to sell the Owls Head Crown land for private development into resort residences and two or three golf-courses.

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Documents give details about controversial golf development in coastal N.S.

Record filed in N.S. Supreme Court by province includes value of Owls Head provincial park

Michael Gorman
CBC News
November 3, 2020

Full Article Here>

The parcel of rocky, rugged Crown land in Little Harbour is worth $216,000, according to the valuation report commissioned by Lighthouse Links and filed with the court. Although that report was previously made public, the value of the land had been redacted.

Jamie Simpson, the lawyer for the parties suing over the decision to delist the property, noted the value is based on what the report determined to be the “highest and best use” for the land: conservation and recreational purposes.

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Owls Head Sale Opponents Back in Court

Richard Bell
Eastern Shore Cooperator
August 23, 2020

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Opponents of the proposed sale of Owls Head Provincial Park to an American billionaire took the next legal step forward on August 18 with the filing of an amended version of their January request for a judicial review. A hearing to set a date for the full judicial review will take place on September 23, although the trial itself will probably not take place until 2021.

The amended petition challenges two different secret decisions by Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin:  the decision to de-list the park on March 13, 2019 and the decision to entertain a Letter of Offer with the golf course developer on December 19, 2019.

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Judicial review sought after Crown land removed from list of pending protected areas

The Canadian Press Staff
Published by Global News
Originally from The Canadian Press
August 18, 2020

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HALIFAX – The lawyer for a retired biologist and an environmental group is seeking judicial review of Nova Scotia’s decision to remove a section of Crown land along the province’s Eastern Shore from a list of pending protected areas.

Jamie Simpson said Tuesday his clients will make an initial appearance in Nova Scotia Supreme Court Sept. 23.

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Owls Head - Vision Air

Lawyer: Roughly half of N.S. provincial parks awaiting designation, like Owls Head was before delisting

Nicole Munro
The Chronicle Herald
June 28, 2020

Full Article Here>

HALIFAX, N.S. — Starting Monday, an environmental lawyer will make his case to a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge to allow for a judicial review of the delisting of Owls Head Provincial Park and its negotiated sale to a private golf course developer. 

But the two-day hearing is only the start to ensuring Nova Scotia’s Department of Lands and Forestry is open and transparent about all of its provincial parks, whether they’re officially designated or pending approval, Jamie Simpson said. 

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