By Sue Abbott, Associate Director – NS Programs
On Thursday, April 20, 2023, Nova Scotia Natural Resources & Renewables Minister Tory Rushton announced the provincial government would not consider a proposal for a golf course development at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park. This decision brings enormous relief to us and many other supporters of this park and its wildlife.
Let’s take a moment to celebrate this conservation win! We send a huge thank you to the nearly 250 supporters who wrote to Minister Rushton and Premier Houston through our campaign webpage. Our collective voices heightened public concern regarding this inappropriate development proposal within a treasured provincial park and important home for birds and other wildlife. Many historic nesting beaches across Nova Scotia are no longer suitable for Piping Plover due to development and intense recreation, so this is an important decision for plover families and our efforts to recover this species at risk in Canada. We also thank the leaders and supporters of Save West Mabou Beach.
Piping Plover. Photo: John CHardine
As we revel in our success, let’s also acknowledge feelings of frustration and bewilderment. Why was this proposal not immediately and soundly rejected by the province especially given two similar proposals were refused in 2000 and again in 2018? This signals weakness and lack of clarity in the legal framework protecting provincial parks in Nova Scotia.
At a time when Canada, Indigenous nations, provinces and territories are working towards protecting 30% of lands and waters by 2030, we must do better at safeguarding nature. So while celebrating this conservation win, we ask the Province of Nova Scotia to review and strengthen the Provincial Parks Act to increase clarity of the Act’s regulations and close loopholes that may be exploited by private development. Strengthening the Act will ensure that West Mabou Beach Provincial Park and other parks are truly protected and enable us to focus on priorities like conserving biodiversity, recovering species at risk and addressing climate change!