Updated: Mar 16
Saltwire - Dec. 2nd, 2022
Full article published here
The reaction was swift and almost universal across the province: “OMG, not again!”
The dust has barely settled on the Owls Head fiasco and another American billionaire golf course developer has the temerity to take another run at another treasured piece of protected public lands — this time at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park — for the second time, no less, having already been told no by the government in 2018.
Cabot’s audacious request sets the stage for another Owls Head debacle. The nerve of these guys!
The West Mabou Beach Provincial Park is an iconic and exceptional protected natural area, full of rare and endangered species and habitats. It’s also an important part of Nova Scotia’s Parks and Protected Area Network which counts towards Canada’s national and international commitments under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
Only five per cent of our coastline is protected public land. Development is precisely what it is protected from. These lands are not, nor should they ever be for sale, lease, barter or trade. They are part of our natural heritage, to be passed on to future generations, human and otherwise.
These special places are not just notionally protected until some developer comes along and says, “Yes, I’d like that land, please.” The answer from the government must always be no. “Protected” must mean “protected” or it means nothing at all.
There is a disturbing pattern of behaviour with the Cabot Group that is highly presumptuous when it comes to our protected public lands.
Their first golf course encroached on a protected beach and blocked community access. It also got a lot of taxpayer financing. In 2018, they made their first play for West Mabou Beach Park and were rightly turned down by the Department of Natural Resources.
In 2019, Cabot tried to get the provincial government to give them Crown land on or beside the Masons Mountain Nature Reserve to build a jet airport for their wealthy clients — and, in an act of supreme arrogance, tried to get taxpayers to pay for it, to the tune of $18 million. That audacious proposal was also quite rightly rejected by the federal and provincial governments after a significant public uproar.
But don’t think they won’t try again. As this second attempt to get their paws on West Mabou Beach Provincial Park shows, these guys are nothing if not bold as brass.
And this pattern of behaviour extends beyond Nova Scotia to places like, St. Lucia, Scotland and Oregon, where proposed new Cabot golf resort developments targeting state parks and sensitive ecological and cultural areas are meeting with significant local opposition and political blowback.
Read the full article here.