Ottawa and Nova Scotia commit to creating new parks and conserving coastal lands

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HALIFAX — The federal and Nova Scotia governments announced plans today for a number of nature-related projects, including a commitment to establish the province's first national urban park.

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault made the announcement at an aquatic club next to the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes wilderness area, in the west end of Halifax.

The minister says the proposed urban park requires a feasibility study, but he adds that Ottawa has already committed to investing in land acquisition and infrastructure by the end of 2023.

Guilbeault and Nova Scotia Environment Minister Tim Halman also announced a series of agreements aimed at protecting old-growth forests, improving so-called ecological corridors, conserving coastal lands and creating an Atlantic archipelago national wildlife area by late 2024.

The proposed wildlife area would comprise dozens of coastal and island properties, including federal land at Seal Island, Guyon Island and Owls Head.

Nova Scotia recently protected government-owned land at Owls Head as a provincial park after public protests led to the demise of a plan to build a golf course there.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada has also started talks with Nova Scotia on the creation of national wildlife areas on Isle Haute, in the Bay of Fundy; St. Paul Island, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and Country Island, which is off the province's eastern shore.

The province has plans to conserve at least 20 per cent of its land and water areas by 2030, which is part of Canada's goal of protecting 30 per cent of the country's land and inland waters by 2030.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press