Lorna MacNeil goCapeBreton.com - Feb. 11, 2023 Article originally published here
Allow me to begin by quoting Cabot from mabougolfproject.ca , the website marketing a proposed golf course in West Mabou Beach Provincial Park:
“Cabot is seeking to lease a portion of the land within the boundaries of the West Mabou Beach Provincial Park. Cabot's goals align with the goals of Nova Scotia’s provincial park system: to provide opportunities for outdoor recreational pursuits; to preserve elements of the natural environment; and to provide residents and visitors with opportunities to discover, experience, and enjoy our province’s distinctive natural resources.”
It is your government, and future governments, under the Provincial Parks Act, that are meant to “preserve unique, rare, representative or otherwise significant elements of the natural environment and historic resources of Nova Scotia…” and to preserve our provincial parks in “perpetuity for the benefit of present and future generations of Nova Scotians."
Cabot develops exclusive golf courses and luxurious master planned communities. This is their raison d'etre.
As I type, Mike Keiser is trying to build a golf course in Couls Links, one of Scotland’s last remaining intact dune habitats: This after his plan was rejected by the Scottish government in 2020 because, “the proposed routing of the course was to sit on more than 30 acres of unspoiled dunes, part of Loch Fleet, a more than 3,000-acre area formally designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by the Scottish government.”
The Nova Scotia government is working toward protecting 20 percent of our land and water by 2030. In 2015, we celebrated meeting the goal of protecting 12 percent of our ecologically valuable land.
Our Parks and Protected Areas: A Plan for Nova Scotia provided the path for this success: The plan was supported by the Assembly of Mi’kmaq Chiefs, a Mi’kmaq technical advisory group, the Natural Resources Strategy, the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, the Climate Change Action Plan, the Renewable Electricity Plan, the Draft Coast Strategy, the Heritage Strategy, and the people of Nova Scotia who contributed more than 2,000 written submissions and attended 17 public open houses.
This plan – Our Parks and Protected Areas: A Plan for Nova Scotia – determined that West Mabou Beach Provincial Park would be protected and be part of the 12.4 percent of our landmass and water that was legally protected in 2015.
To quote from the plan: "Parks represent a special case; only those whose main intent is to protect nature count toward our legal protection goal; other parks protect cultural and recreational features."
West Mabou Beach Provincial Parks is one of the parks whose main intent is to protect nature; it is a nature environment core park. It is described, it its official profile, like so:
"Contributes to Province’s goal of protecting 12% of its land base by 2015; unique dune field; one species of bird found at the park is listed as critically imperilled and another two species vulnerable to extirpation or extinction. In addition, two species of vascular plants were listed as imperilled and one species as vulnerable to extirpation or extinction."
Premier Houston, the only way to allow Cabot to build its Mabou golf course is to put them in front of all Nova Scotians, and of the organizations listed above as supporting Our Parks and Protected Areas: A Plan for Nova Scotia. There is no logical reason to do so.
Our decisions to protect invaluable land and water in our province must not be derailed by a government that goes rogue, shrugging off the environmental obligations passed to them by the people of this province.
Please do the right thing with urgency. I cannot think of a proper reason why you would not directly make a public statement that we do not build golf courses on protected land in Nova Scotia - no official proposal is required by Cabot.
Originally published here.