I have sent the following note to Premier Iain Rankin, with copies to MLA Kevin Murphy; Minister of Education Derek Mombourquette; Minister of Lands and Forestry Chuck Porter; and Minister of the Environment Keith Irving.
Dear Premier Rankin:
The provincial government is teaching our students that democracy is NOT alive and well in our province.
Instead, the government keeps demonstrating that it does not listen to people, acting in secret without public consultation or transparency on three decisions critical to the future of the children of the Eastern Shore: the proposed location of a new high school in the Eastern Shore Industrial Park in East Chezzetcook; the de-listing of Owls Head Provincial Park; and the proposed sale of Owls Head Provincial Park to an American developer to convert into luxury housing and golf courses.
In the case of the school siting decision:
The proposed site in East Chezzetcook takes students away from a community with many natural and man-made resources.
We’ve learned from Covid that people need community and do not fare well in isolation, in terms of physical and mental health.
The proposed site lacks resources such as Petpeswick Inlet and the Musquodoboit Trail. There are no community facilities, such as the Library, the HRM office, the Old School, the RCMP office, the Birches, and Twin Oaks Hospital.
These civic facilities provide human interaction, computer facilities, reference materials, job opportunities, apprenticeships, and chances to interact with different age groups, which are also learning opportunities.
The Musquodoboit Harbour & Area Chamber of Commerce and Civic Affairs prepared a document showing why Musquodoboit Harbour is the best location for a new school. This document had input from many voices from the community and from other civic groups. The province has not responded to this document.
Will the Province assure us that it will NOT take away other important centres in Musq. Hbr, such as the Birches and the Rink?
As for the secret de-listing of Owls Head Provincial Park and the subsequent secret sale of the de-listed park, the government ought to be teaching students about the importance of preserving biodiversity and fighting climate change. There could hardly be a worse lesson than letting a private company bury the entire ecosystem at Owls Head Provincial Park under sand and fill while contaminating the land and the adjacent eel grass beds with pesticides and fertilizers.
I urge you to show our students that as our new Premier, you are committed to making critical decisions about their future using open, transparent processes. You should keep the high school in Musquodoboit Harbour because it will benefit all students from the Eastern Shore. And please show us that you really do care about the environment by re-listing Owls Head Provincial Park and cancelling the sale.
former chair, Musquodoboit Harbour & Area Community Association