Potential Owls Head developers want to meet with provincial officials

·2 min read
Lighthouse Links wants to buy Crown land known as Owls Head provincial park to use as part of a proposed golf development. (Submitted by Nick Hawkins and Nicolas Winkler - image credit)
Lighthouse Links wants to buy Crown land known as Owls Head provincial park to use as part of a proposed golf development. (Submitted by Nick Hawkins and Nicolas Winkler - image credit)

The people behind the company attempting to buy Crown land to develop as part of a proposed golf resort on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore say they're hitting pause on their efforts until they can discuss the project with representatives of the new provincial government.

Lighthouse Links signed a letter of offer with the former Liberal government in 2019 to buy 285 hectares of Crown land, known as Owls Head provincial park, in Little Harbour. One of the requirements before the provincial cabinet can ultimately decide whether to sell the land is public consultation, the plan for which must be approved by the Natural Resources and Renewables Department. That hasn't happened yet.

The company was previously waiting for the result of a judicial review application by parties concerned about the process the government used to remove Owls Head from a list of Crown properties awaiting legal protection.

A Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge dismissed that application in late July and the parties have until early October to file an appeal.

Company owners selling some property

On Monday, a spokesperson for Lighthouse Links said in a statement that the company would wait to speak with officials from the new Tory government before moving forward with its plans and the requirements of the letter of offer.

Meanwhile, some of the properties in the Little Harbour area already owned by company principals Beckwith and Kitty Gilbert are being listed for sale. The spokesperson said those properties, some of which have dwellings and some of which do not, are not integral to the Lighthouse Links proposal.

"Two parcels already have accepted offers, including one of the oceanfront houses that is being sold to the first person to visit it."

The statement goes on to say there is a lot of interest in the Gilberts' properties, "validating the belief that Little Harbour and the Eastern Shore are very desirable places to live, especially during the pandemic."

"This demand also highlights the importance of providing additional amenities for potential residents. Thoughtful and careful development of Owls Head could provide multiple benefits for the Eastern Shore and could have a positive impact on the economy of the area."

Government awaits appeal decision

A spokesperson for Premier Tim Houston's office said he has yet to receive a request for a meeting from the company. The same is true for Natural Resources and Renewables Minister Tory Rushton.

In a statement to CBC on Friday, Rushton said he continues to review the process the previous government followed that led to the letter of offer. Opponents of the proposal have called on the government to cancel the letter of offer and protect the land.

Rushton noted in his statement that the window remains open for the parties that sought the judicial review to file an appeal.

"Once that process is complete, government will be in a better position to make a decision on next steps for that area."

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