PC’s Brad Johns on Owls Head

Posted by Richard Bell
January 14, 2020 3:01 PM
Eastern Shore Cooperator

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In a phone interview with the Cooperator, Brad Johns, Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party critic for the environment, was blunt about the province’s decision to delist Owls Head Provincial Park and sell the land to a golf-course developer: “The fix is already in.”

Johns said that his party supported exploring opportunities for economic development, but that the time for public consultation was before making a decision, not after. “What they’ve done is put the cart before the horse here.”

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Owls Head Provincial Park has been deleted from the province’s map of parks and protected areas

Tim Bousquet
Halifax Examiner
January 13, 2020

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Last year the government quietly removed Owls Head provincial park in Little Harbour from the province’s pending protected status list. The move was made so negotiations could begin with Lighthouse Links Development Co., which hopes to acquire the 285 hectares of coastal headland, add it to land it already owns, and build up to three golf courses.

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Ecology Action Centre Reacts to Province Removing Site from Protected Plan

Piping plover photo by Jason Dain

CBC Radio
Information Morning
January 10, 2020

The “globally rare” ecosystem on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore was quietly removed from the provincial government’s protected parks plan. Karen McKendry, Wilderness Outreach Coordinator at Ecology Action Centre, spoke with host Portia Clark. We also heard from Environment Minister Gordon Wilson.

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Karen McKendry from the Ecology Action Centre understands that “people are concerned both about the process and the particular piece of Crown land.” Indeed, there has been strong public opposition to the delisting of the property, which was done in a secretive way. Citizens are also concerned that the ecological values of the site aren’t being protected by the provincial government.

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Owls Head - Vision Air

Ecology Action Centre Statement

Owls Head is a coastal headland on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia/Mi’kmaqi. A portion of the headland (268 hectares/ 662 acres) is provincial Crown Land and has been managed as a provincial park since the 1970s. Though Owls Head Provincial Park was never legally designated as a protected area, it has been proposed for designation in the Nova Scotia’s 2013 Parks and Protected Areas Plan (site #694). 
 
Because of investigative reporting and freedom of information requests, we all learned of the backdoor deal to sell Owls Head Provincial Park to a private developer, for conversion into golf courses. The secret actions of the Department of Lands and Forestry staff, past and current Ministers, and Cabinet to dispose of a rare ecosystem home to a number of endangered species without public consultation are deplorable. 

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LTE: Off course on Owls Head habitat by Bob Bancroft

Further to Jim Vibert’s Jan. 6 column on the provincial government’s planned conversion of Eastern Shore’s Owls Head Park Reserve to a golf course, readers may recall that Nature Nova Scotia and two other groups took the province to the Supreme Court last September over its failure to enact its own species-at-risk legislation. Wildlife cannot survive without suitable habitats. Owl’s Head is one more example of the government’s callous disregard for species at risk, and public consultation.

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