February 6, 2021
Dear Premier Rankin,
Congratulations on becoming the premier of Nova Scotia. Your campaign successfully highlighted biodiversity, Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan, and reducing Nova Scotia’s carbon footprint. We are calling on you to honour these values by reinstating Owls Head Provincial Park (site #694) to Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan.
Owls Head Provincial Park is a biodiverse coastal property that is home to “several species of conservation concern.” (Bob Bancroft). Fifteen years of study have highlighted the property’s significant conservation values. Biologists from Saint Mary’s University state clearly, “our years of data reveal that Owls Head is ecologically unique and of importance to biodiversity conservation.”
The offshore eelgrass beds provide important habitat for a multitude of aquatic species. Eelgrass, a type of seagrass, has been recognized by the United Nations as a “secret weapon in the fight against global heating.” Studies show that seagrass can “capture carbon from the atmosphere up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests.” (UN Environment Programme)
Owls Head Provincial Park has been a recognized candidate for formal protection for 45 years. The Eastern Shore Seaside Park System valued the ‘Islands and Headlands’ as “representative examples of the unique coastal landscape.” Through extensive public consultations, Owls Head Provincial Park was identified as Tier 1 (top priority) for conservation. In contrast, Owls Head Provincial Park was secretly delisted with no public consultation.
Nova Scotians expect and deserve transparency from our government. We urge you to insist upon an independent environmental assessment and public consultation, conducted by an impartial third party – not the developer. Plans to sell and destroy the ecological integrity of these Crown lands affect all Nova Scotians. Therefore, all Nova Scotians must have an equal opportunity to participate fully in any public consultation.
Our group and numerous conservation organizations across the province object to the sale of this coastal heritage property. This transfer of power offers a unique opportunity to re-evaluate and rectify past wrongs before the general election. As Premier, you can simultaneously preserve the environment and restore public trust. We ask that you listen to science and listen to Nova Scotians: stop the sale and formally protect Owls Head Provincial Park.
Save Little Harbour/Owls Head Nova Scotia From Becoming Golf Courses
This open letter was originally published on the Save Owls Head website. Republished with permission.
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