Ecologists say a proposed golf course in West Mabou Seashore Provincial Park would threaten uncommon vegetation and birds.
The resort developer Cabot Cape Breton has two 18-hole programs in close by Inverness, N.S., and is eyeing the park for a 3rd.
The corporate first indicated an curiosity within the space in 2018, however met with stiff resistance.
That is when the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society determined to get entangled, mentioned Chris Miller, the Nova Scotia chapter’s government director.
“We anticipated that the golf course builders would take one other run at West Mabou Seashore provincial park, so we pre-emptively did some subject work there to doc the biodiversity,” he mentioned.
A 2019 examine by Alain Belliveau of Acadia College, commissioned by the society, discovered the distinctive sand dunes and wetlands contained a minimum of 17 uncommon vegetation and animals, together with 4 birds which might be listed below the provincial Endangered Species Act.
“The place you’ve gotten uncommon ecosystem varieties, you are additionally going to get uncommon species, so within the case of West Mabou Seashore provincial park, there’s a number of several types of uncommon species in that comparatively small geographic space,” Miller mentioned.
Builders ought to look elsewhere for a brand new golf course, he mentioned.
Bob Bancroft, a retired provincial biologist and president of Nature Nova Scotia, agreed.
The Cabot Hyperlinks and Cabot Cliffs programs in close by Inverness must be sufficient, he mentioned.
“They’ve already obtained two golf programs there,” Bancroft mentioned. “They’ll survive with out a third.”
Nature Nova Scotia is considered one of a number of environmental teams that has simply launched a court docket case in search of a judicial evaluation of latest federal species in danger rules.
Bancroft mentioned the principles used to determine a complete seaside as protected when endangered species, comparable to piping plovers, are discovered.
This yr, the federal government modified that to cut back the protected space to the nesting website, one thing that might be tough to implement, mentioned Bancroft.
That is an issue, as a result of nesting birds sometimes transfer round relying on the tides and use the complete seaside to forage for meals, he mentioned.
West Mabou Seashore is below provincial jurisdiction, however Bancroft mentioned it is among the few locations left that’s protected for endangered birds.
“They need to depart that protected seaside alone, as a result of the piping plover fairly frankly want it and so do a wide range of different species which might be additionally on an endangered species checklist.”
Nova Scotia has a piping plover restoration plan that claims about 40 nesting pairs stay on 17 seashores throughout the province, however are threatened by coastal erosion and human interplay.
Cabot Cape Breton has not but submitted a proper proposal to the federal government, however not too long ago approached a number of area people organizations in search of help and providing grants if the proposal goes forward.
The corporate has declined interview requests, saying it’s having conversations with the neighborhood first.
Supporters of the golf course say the realm wants financial improvement.
However Miller mentioned improvement at West Mabou Seashore would set a precedent and open up different protected areas.
“It is simply jam-packed stuffed with fascinating ecosystems which have vital species, so any incursion into that park is of serious concern to us and we’re actually involved concerning the precedent that that creates, that it basically may imply open season on all parks and guarded areas in Nova Scotia,” he mentioned.
“There’s different locations the place golf programs are extra applicable that are not our provincial protected lands.”
The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s 2019 examine discovered 10 uncommon birds, 4 of that are listed in Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act:
- Piping plover (endangered)
- Financial institution swallow (endangered)
- Canada warbler (endangered)
- Olive-sided flycatcher (threatened)
- Boreal chickadee
- Crimson-breasted nuthatch
- Higher yellowlegs
- Northern harrier
- Ruby-crowned kinglet
- Swainson’s thrush
It additionally discovered seven uncommon vegetation and lichens:
- Scaly pelt lichen
- Marsh grass-of-Parnassus
- Veinless pelt lichen
- Least moonwort
- Canada germander
- Loesel’s twayblade