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Letter: Fairway follies

Updated: Mar 4

Letter to the Editor by Jennyfer Brickenden Saltwire - Oct.31, 2022

Letter originally published here

Former premier Rodney MacDonald is fiddling with the future of West Mabou Beach Provincial Park while we are in the midst of global catastrophe.

What Cabot Group, with the help of MacDonald, its community liaison, is proposing is to take, lease, from public access over 30 per cent of the park and build a golf course right out on the most sensitive land behind the dunes. These fairways will cover the entire dunes and continue towards the ponds and salt marsh on the harbour side.

These are the most fragile and sensitive areas and will have a dreadful impact on the dune system, the largest such system in Nova Scotia.

Not only is this beach one of the finest in Nova Scotia, it has a highly sensitive dune system, inhabited by rare species, flora and fauna including the Piping Plover.

Nova Scotia is in the process of implementing a Coastal Protection Act, which is designed to protect coastal features, sand dunes and salt marshes, and with only about five per cent publicly available coastline, it is crucial to maintain what we have. Cabot also makes no mention in its proposal to service infrastructure that will need to be built, including a road, a clubhouse and parking lot. How much more of the provincial park will be required, as these would be the minimum infrastructure needed to service The Sand Dunes Golf Course.

I quote from the Halifax Examiner (Oct 27. 2022): “We’re in a climate crisis, which is fuelled in large part by people jetting around to vacation and golf in remote places. Ever-stronger storms are slamming against our shores, yet we’ll take seriously a proposal to alter a shoreline buffer in order to install golf greens. Economic disruption is occurring everywhere, but rather than talk about self-reliant local economies, we shill ourselves as servants for a globe-trotting wealthy elite, with perhaps fickle travel desires.”

The flaws and arrogance of Cabot’s proposal are extensive. It’s time to put an end to their constant attempts to grab public land and just say no!

The money they are offering four local groups — $125,000 a year — is pocket change for the profits that Cabot would reel in. I feel like I am living in the good ole days when the local yokels were given a bottle of rum for their compliance. Have we learned nothing?

The other is regarding other provincial or national parks having golf courses. Cabot’s proposal fails to mention the expropriation of the farms in the Clyburn Valley in order to build the Ingonish course. Wrongs of the past don’t justify repeating them in the present.

There are many more examples, but we need to just say no and hands off West Mabou Beach Provincial Park!

Jennyfer Brickenden, Mabou

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