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Premier's office digs in against West Mabou Beach golf course idea

Frances Willick CBC News - April 28th, 2023 Full article published here

Photo submitted by Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

The premier's office says it does not intend to allow a proposed golf course to be created within a provincial park in Cape Breton despite vows by a former Nova Scotia premier to continue lobbying for the development.

"The land is protected under the Provincial Parks Act, and we have no plans to change that," reads a brief statement sent to the CBC on Friday morning from the office of Premier Tim Houston.

Cabot Cape Breton, owners of Cabot Links, Cabot Cliffs and short course The Nest, is considering developing a golf course in West Mabou Beach Provincial Park.

Although no formal proposal has been submitted to the province, even the suggestion of using a provincial park for a golf course was enough to spark widespread opposition.

Some residents have expressed concern about the potential threat to protected public land and an ecologically sensitive area that's home to vulnerable species of birds and plants.

Company could approach cabinet

Last week, Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton said officials from his department recently informed the company that even if Cabot does make a formal request, the government will not consider it.

That statement — the strongest the government has made on the issue since the prospect of a golf course became publicly known last fall — prompted Rodney MacDonald, former Nova Scotia premier and now lobbyist for Cabot — to reaffirm his commitment to the project.

In a post in a Facebook group last weekend, he insisted "this issue is far from over."

"The reality is that cabinet is within its right to consider an application at any point in time regardless of what the department position is. This is ultimately a cabinet decision."

MacDonald said the company was still preparing its application for the project, and that it will "now pause to review last week's comments by the minister."

The CBC has contacted MacDonald for further comment, but he told Information Morning Cape Breton he is not available this week.

Cabot said it had no comment on the matter.

Read the full article here.

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