The following letter was emailed by the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society to the people listed below on January 30, 2020
Attn: Premier Stephen McNeil; Honourable Iain Rankin, Minister of Lands and Forestry; Honourable Gordon Wilson, Minister of the Environment; Tim Houston, Progressive Conservative Opposition Leader; Gary Burrill, Leader of the NDP; Sean Fraser, Central Nova Member of Parliament; Kevin Murphy, Eastern Shore Member of the Legislative Assembly; Thomas Trappenberg, Leader of the Green Party:
We of the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society are writing to express our concern with the de-listing of Owls Head Provincial Park Reserve and proposed golf course development on these public lands. The Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the appreciation and conservation of wild flora and habitat in Nova Scotia.
Owls Head is a provincial treasure that must be protected for the benefit of future generations. The coastal barrens at Owls Head support globally rare Broom Crowberry heathlands. This plant community is found nowhere else in Canada. The species Broom Crowberry can only be found in northeastern North America, where it is rare to all provinces and states outside of Nova Scotia. Like our provincial tree the Red Spruce or the Nova Scotia Mayflower, Broom Crowberry is an important emblem of our province’s natural history.
Owls Head also supports extensive bog wetlands, which the government of Nova Scotia is committed to protect under the Nova Scotia Wetland Conservation Policy. These wetlands are biodiverse and contribute important ecosystem services including maintaining watershed health. The wetlands, ponds, lakes, and marine environment associated with Owls Head would be adversely affected by a golf course development. Data that we have collected at similar sites in the province show deterioration of water quality in surface runoff with the removal of barrens vegetation. We urge the province to follow through on commitments of the Nova Scotia Wetland Conservation Policy by not permitting a golf course development at Owls head.
We urge the province to follow through also on its commitments to protect Owls Head as part of Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan. Owls Head has been considered a Provincial Park Reserve for decades, enabling generations of Nova Scotians to kayak and hike within its boundaries. A golf course development at Owls Head removes accessibility to organizations like ours and to the greater public. A golf course development at Owls Head removes its valuable contribution to the greater Eastern Shore Islands Wilderness Area and the 100 Wild Islands Conservation Campaign.
In the greater interest of Nova Scotians, we of the Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society ask you to:
1) please re-instate and make legal Owls Heads protected areas status and,
2) stop the land sale of Owls Head, reject the proposal to destroy this conservation gem for the purposes of a privately-owned golf course.
Nova Scotia Wild Flora Society
c/o Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History
1747 Summer Street
Halifax NS B3H 3A6