Nova Scotia

N.S. Supreme Court grants environmentalists more time to appeal cabinet decision

Environmentalists opposed to plans to turn a piece of Crown land into a private golf course have been granted more time to make their case.

Battle is over Owls Head, a 285-hectare piece of Crown land on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore

This picture shows Little Harbour in the upper left, private land in the foreground, and the Owls Head park reserve in the upper right. (Nova Scotia Nature Trust)

Environmentalists opposed to plans to turn a piece of Crown land into a private golf course have been granted more time to make their case.

The battle is over Owls Head, a 285-hectare piece of Crown land on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore. It had been designated a park reserve, meaning that it was being held for potential development as a provincial park.

But that designation was quietly removed by government.

The opponents of the plan, including Bob Bancroft and Eastern Shore Forest Watch Association, only learned of the change in designation when CBC published a story on the removal process last December.

That falls outside the time usually allotted for opponents to appeal government decisions because Owls Head had actually been removed from the list in March 2019.

In a decision released Wednesday, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Kevin Coady granted Bancroft and the forest watch association more time to file their request for a judicial review.

"The Applicants have a reasonable excuse for the delay," Justice Coady wrote.

Coady added that the applicants "will suffer prejudice if the extension is not granted" but the respondent "will suffer little prejudice" if it is.

Coady said the case needs to be decided on its merits and not simply because a deadline has passed.

The parties now have 14 days to file their request.

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Blair Rhodes

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Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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