LTE: Three Years of Secrecy by Lindsay Lee

Re: “Exploring potential sale for protected Crown land at Owls Head began in 2016.” 

Francis Campbell’s Nov. 4 article kicked off with one of the most consequential points yet written about Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve: “The province was preparing to remove Owls Head Park Reserve from the parks protection list and sell it to an American developer more than three years before the public was notified, provincial documents show.”

If the sale of this biodiverse coastal ecosystem was such a great idea, then why did our government orchestrate three years of secrecy? If betraying the 45-year history of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve was truly beneficial to our province, then why did the government refuse to organize public consultation? 

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Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association

Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association

Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association (ESFWA) is one of the applicants in the court case to save Owls Head Provincial Park. Along with biologist Bob Bancroft (President of Nature Nova Scotia), Forest Watch has requested a time extension to ask for a judicial review as well as requested the judicial review itself.

While Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association has never been an applicant in a court case before, the group felt compelled to take legal action when Owls Head Provincial Park was secretly removed from Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan.

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LTE: Faith in Grits Shaken by Pam Baker

I have been a Liberal voter all my life. Not a passive bystander, I have worked on six Liberal campaigns, both federal and provincial, in Ontario, P.E.I., and here in Nova Scotia. Much of my faith in the candidates whom I have supported has been rooted in the same ideology that has driven me in my career and my day-to-day life: fairness, transparency, logic, and compassion.

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Betrayal of Public (Service)

Owls Head Aerial, Caitlin Porter

The secret delisting and offer to sell Owls Head Provincial Park is not just a betrayal of the public, it is also a betrayal of the public service. You see there are a lot of good, smart, dedicated people in the Nova Scotia Public Service and this course of action by elected representatives is an insult to their training and their dedication.

You can see the climbers in the CBC’s FOIPOP (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy) data, no need to name names. But I know someone who would be close to this and my heart aches for her. As I said, there are some very good people who know their jobs, people I respect very much, who just did not get listened to by an arrogant and duplicitous government. It chose to throw the professional opinions aside and charge ahead in secrecy and deceit. The irony is that those good, smart, dedicated people are there to protect the government. They should have been listened to.

Stop the sale. Save Owls Head.

Christopher Trider

Weasel Awards

The starting point for this group was a CBC article by Michael Gorman. That article, on December 18, revealed that a secretive process was underway to remove Owls Head Provincial Park from the list of protected lands in the Nova Scotia Parks and Protected Areas Plan, and sell it to a private developer… reportedly for the development of three golf courses. It was revealed in that story that there was absolutely no public consultation nor scientific basis for removing the 661 acres of pristine coastal barrens from the protection and public ownership it had enjoyed for 45 years.

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Secrecy and the potential sale of Owl’s Head

Nova Scotia Provincial Map of Owls Head Park

Philip Moscovitch
Halifax Examiner
Morning File
December 24, 2019

Full Article Here>

… [Caitlin] Grady did raise the issue of secrecy:

On top of losing access to this site, Grady also says the decision sets a bad precedent for the future.

“If the government decides to sell off this property to a developer interested in a golf course, tomorrow it might be a site in Antigonish that’s of interest to a mining company or a site in Cape Breton that could be sold off to foresters,” she says.

Grady says any of the 90+ sites that are currently pending protection could be quietly removed at any time.

“It’s really about sending the message that we do not want to undermine our very extensive network of protected areas that we’re working on, and our parks can just not be put up for sale by the government at their will,” she says.

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