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DOUG LOWRY: Lessons learned from West Mabou Beach

Doug Lowry Saltwire - April 27, 2023 Full article published here

Photo by Doug Lowry

There will be no golf course at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park and that’s the way it should be.

It never should have been up for debate. Not because Cabot Golf is some evil organization or because rich golfers aren’t welcome in Cape Breton. These arguments miss the point.

A provincial park is sacred. It has intrinsic value that no amount of money can buy. It is a place where everyone is welcome to visit and enjoy the unspoiled beauty of our natural world. There is a reason why these places are protected. Connecting with nature is an important part of the human experience.

Admittedly, for some, a round of golf fills their cup and this is why it is important that we have environmentally responsible golf courses. But, for others, for the people who visit provincial parks, a golf course is the exact thing they are looking to escape from. For this reason, the two are incompatible.

This should have been obvious and easily reconciled from the beginning. I struggle to understand why government allowed this to proceed for so long.

It is critical that we remain principled in our values and decision-making and that we safeguard our most precious assets. West Mabou Beach made evident that the regulations surrounding the appropriate use of provincial parks are unclear and, thus, insufficient. This requires an immediate response from government given the extraordinary value of these public assets and the public harm caused by the ambiguous wording of the legislation.

As a society, we too often take for granted the fundamental principles that allow us to live our lives in the way that we do. They have become so fundamental to our way of being that we don’t even notice them. But take a quick glance at events occurring in other parts of the world and it becomes apparent that what we have here is no accident and the experiment that is democracy is something that requires constant nurture.

Despite some of the ugliness and name-calling these last months, we will emerge from this having learned a great deal and we will all be better for it. Read the full article here.

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