LTE: Revolving Door

Contributed by Gillian Thomas
July 3, 2021
The Chronicle Herald

Originally published here>

Jim Vibert’s column (June 16, “Freedom of Information: Premier’s Response Hard to Swallow“) is a reminder that much needs to be done to free Nova Scotia politics from its unsavoury past.

A decade ago, in the wake of the M.L.A expense scandal, The Globe and Mail observed that, “ Nova Scotia was once known as a province where vote-buying and personal enrichment by politicians was accepted, even expected.” In the same article, Herald columnist Ralph Surette suggested that his home province was not necessarily more corrupt than other provinces but that “it hung on longer and was deeper here.”

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Proponent of Owls Head golf development has acquired more than 20 area properties

Francis Campbell
The Chronicle Herald
May 2, 2021

Full Article Here>

“Beckwith Gilbert, director and president of Lighthouse Links, has been acquiring real estate in Little Harbour on the Eastern Shore that are referenced in the Lighthouse Links proposal as part of the larger plans for the area,” said Sydnee McKay, founder of the the grassroots Facebook group, Save Little Harbour/Owls Head from Becoming a Golf Course.

“Owls Head provincial park should be protected for the enjoyment of all Nova Scotians, not ground into sand, like Lighthouse Links proposes to do,” McKay said.

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JIM VIBERT: Without answers, Rankin’s credibility suffers

Naturalist Bob Bancroft and the Eastern Shore Forest Watch were in court last week making the case that the secret removal of Owls Head from the list denied the public an opportunity to be heard. There was broad public consultation to develop the list.

… Rankin’s defence of the behind-closed-doors machinations was vague and vapid. He talked about listening to Nova Scotians and following the right process.

Yet, all available evidence suggests Rankin and the government listened only to the golf course proponents and their well-connected Liberal lobbyists. As for the process, it was hidden from Nova Scotians, who just happen to own the land.

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FRANCIS CAMPBELL: Owls Head decision, a hot topic in the court of public opinion, goes before a judge

“We’re saying that the minister ought to have let the public know and consulted the public before making the decision to remove Owls Head provincial park from the parks and protected areas plan, in other words to remove its status as protected public land,” said lawyer Jamie Simpson, who is representing applicants Bob Bancroft and the Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association in court.

“It’s been represented to the public as a provincial park for over 40 years and it’s been serving that role, doing what it was set up to do, that is protecting a special part of the province and a special habitat for wildlife and certain rare plants and species at risk. 

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Cartoon by Matt Dempsey

LTE: Money grows on trees

This does not bode well for the renewed promises on the environment that came out of the Liberal leadership race. I also read Bill Black’s puffery piece on Owls Head last week, and still fear for the outcome of that nefarious scheme. If it goes ahead, the messages will be clear: “Business as usual” and “Wealth Trumps all” — pun intended. Has this pandemic failed to teach us anything about looking after this planet and the public good? 

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Other outdoor pursuits

Nova Scotia residents and tourists could take part in many activities that would allow them to be active in the present environment. Camping, diving, kayaking, bird-watching and hiking are becoming more attractive to more people than golf. All of this could be made available, while maintaining ownership for present and future Nova Scotians.

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