Letters to the editor, February 6, 2020

On the Northern Pulp mill and Owls Head Provincial Park.

Milling about

I share concerns about the environmental damage caused by Northern Pulp and I'm glad the minister is sticking to their guns on this matter ("Turning the toxic tide on Northern Pulp and Boat Harbour," Feature story by Taryn Grant, January 30, 2020). However, the only way I was able to afford this year's tuition at NSCAD was by maxing out my student loans and scoring a job at a unionized pulp mill. The job was a godsend. Had I not received this high-wage position, I would have had to drop out, while financially stable students remained enrolled. I consider myself an environmentalist, but still I pray I can get a job at the mill again this summer. For some Canadians, rare jobs like this are the only route to their university education.
—Cat Jones, via email

Owls Head(ache) Provincial Park

If you think the provincial cabinet's secret decision to remove Owls Head Provincial Park reserve (or an "undesignated" provincial park in government-speak) from a list of public properties slated for permanent protection is of interest only to a few Eastern Shore locals, think again ("Eastern Shore rallies behind Owls Head parklands," City story by Richard Bell, January 30, 2020). Many other provincial parks in HRM, and elsewhere in Nova Scotia, are "undesignated" under the Provincial Parks Act and hence enjoy only administrative protection—not legal protection.

On the Eastern Shore they include Paces Lake Provincial Park, Lower East Chezzetcook Provincial Park, Liscomb Point Provincial Park and others farther east. Closer to home, they include the immensely popular McCormacks Beach Provincial Park in Eastern Passage and Herring Cove Provincial Park and Blind Bay Provincial Park outside Halifax. These coastal provincial parks contribute to the measly five percent of the province's coastline that is publicly owned. But maybe premier McNeil and his cabinet cronies have also secretly "de-listed"  them and they are being offered for sale to a US golf-course developer.

Is this the same premier McNeil who, following his party's second election victory in 2017, instructed his ministers, in their ministerial mandate letters, that "we believe in an open, transparent and accountable government that engages citizens?" It is not too late to stop the planned sale and resurrect Owls Head Provincial Park.
—Dusan Soudek, Halifax

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