LTE: Golf overkill

Re: “Secret Owls Head deal could haunt Rankin” (March 6 column by Jim Vibert). Nova Scotians need another golf course like a hole in the head! It appears we have approximately 65 golf courses in our province and one would think that would be enough, given our small land mass and population.

The people of Nova Scotia own Owls Head Provincial Park and we all have a stake in what happens to our Crown lands! I am extremely disappointed that Premier Iain Rankin, as former Minister of Lands and Forestry, delisted and planned to sell our asset without consultation with Nova Scotians. So much for transparency! Is this going to be his modus operandi?

(more…)

LTE: Enviro-epiphany?

Contributed by Fred F. Blois and Clifton & JimHarpell
The Chronicle Herald
March 13, 2021

Read on the Chronicle Herald’s Website>

Iain Rankin says he’ll make respect for the environment a pillar of his policy-making as premier. Did a heavenly vision trigger this remarkable change of heart? 

As a cabinet minister in Stephen McNeil’s government, Rankin’s record in environment and lands and forestry was troubling. He rubber-stamped Lafarge’s plan to burn used tires at its plant in Shortts Lake. He quietly delisted protected lands like Owls Head and opened them to private development. He failed to follow his department’s own laws to protect endangered species. He dragged his feet implementing the Lahey report’s recommendations on forestry. 

(more…)

LTE: Golf Links not Green

Governments should be investing in public infrastructure rather than gambling on being able to pick winners or losers within the realm of private business. Beckwith Gilbert is a wealthy American businessman who has made vague promises about his plans to develop multiple golf courses and real estate. If his plan has merit, surely the business case would not need public investment.

Our government was trying to secretly sell an intended provincial public park to Mr. Gilbert in order to support the creation of private infrastructure and wealth. In addition, private golf course development has been proven to be environmentally destructive as a result of its construction, herbicide and pesticide use, contaminated runoff, and local water consumption. Contrary to current government messaging, golf courses are neither “innovative” nor “sustainable” infrastructure, especially considering the current circumstances we face: a global pandemic and the effects of climate change.

(more…)

LTE: Elitism & ecocide

Read on the Chronicle Herald’s website>

Bob Rosborough’s piece attacking the opponents of an American golf venture at Owls Head is a sustained act of misdirection. Let’s leave aside that a golf course is a social and ecological catastrophe, providing ecosystem services nothing comparable to those it destroys, and only meagre, low-wage jobs: it’s too basic to merit debate. 

Let’s state facts, and underline Rosborough’s hypocrisy. Apparently, he supports the secret sale of protected land. He wants one of our few remaining pieces of public coastline in the private hands of a foreign billionaire. We who stand opposed are sheeplike “social media followers,” with no legitimate interest in our own province, influenced by “questionable, unsuccessful government employees.”

(more…)

LTE: Not Binary Choice

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.

(more…)

LTE: Sensitive Ecosystem

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.

(more…)