Letter to the Editor
Over 300 bird species have been recorded at Hartlen Point in Eastern Passage, including 14 of Nova Scotia’s 17 at-risk bird species. This incredible diversity makes Hartlen Point the number one location for birds in Nova Scotia according to eBird (and one of the Top 10 Birding Locations in all of Canada).
Unfortunately, it’s the only site in Canada’s Top 49 that’s not legally protected. Now, Hartlen Point’s outstanding conservation and recreation values have come up against a formidable force: the federal government.
The Department of Defence is determined to build its new Warship Systems Testing Facility at Hartlen Point. And for over a year, DND has been glossing over community concerns to make that happen. But local residents, birders, fishermen, hikers, and surfers aren’t taking it lying down. The recent “Community Engagement Session” on January 31 was packed, with even more people participating virtually. Dozens of people expressed concerns about safety, the lucrative lobster fishery, bird life, rich terrestrial ecosystems, and thriving marine life.
Community members posed questions that were thoughtful, well-researched, and poignant. DND panellists responded with the flexibility of a brick wall.
Representatives from the Department of National Defence continued to profess that they cared about the public's input, but their panellists admitted that the government wouldn’t reconsider the site selection despite numerous legitimate issues—which didn’t sound a whole lot like caring.
The federal government is forging ahead despite the environmental risks and the community’s wishes. Imagine how different the process—and the outcome—could be if Nova Scotians had the opportunity to offer meaningful input and know that the federal government would really consider those concerns.
After all, we’re the ones who live here.
To learn more or have your say, please join Protect Hartlen Point on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/protecthartlenpoint
If you’re not on Facebook: linktr.ee/protecthartlenpoint
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