January 9, 2012
The Ecology Action Centre is applauding the recent land purchase agreement between the Provincial Government and the Bowater Mersey paper mill in Liverpool. The agreement sees 10,000 hectares of company land in southwest Nova Scotia transferred to the province for $23.7 million as part of a $50 million dollar package to help keep the mill running. Roughly 88% is productive forestland containing mature, intact forests and some of the last old growth forest stands left in the province. The remaining areas include wetlands and frontage on undeveloped lakes and river systems. 75% of the acquired lands will be protected while the remainder will be used for recreation and for use by the Mi’kmaq First Nation.
“The bulk of these lands are High Conservation Value lands that were identified by the Colin Stewart Forest Forum for protection,” says EAC Wilderness Coordinator Raymond Plourde. “Many of these ecosites are unique and irreplaceable in terms of conservation. We are very pleased to see them coming into the Protected Areas network and we salute the government for doing so.”
The Colin Stewart Forest Forum was a 5 year process initiated by Ecology Action Centre, involving the three big pulp mills who own or control most of the forestland in Nova Scotia, government and leading environmental groups including EAC and CPAWS Nova Scotia. The Final Colin Stewart Forest Forum Report, released in December 2009, recommended which areas to protect on Crown lands and industrial freehold lands owned by the companies.
“The government has been making good, steady progress towards meeting their commitment to protect 12% of the provincial landmass by 2015,” says Plourde. “This strategic land acquisition is a key component of reaching that goal.” The deal will see about half the High Conservation Value lands identified on Bowater Mersey’s private industrial freehold lands permanently protected as part of the 12% protection process. The deal also gives the government the option to buy up to $50 million more in company land. “We hope that the government will also purchase the remaining half of the High Conservation Value lands owned by Bowater in the very near future,” says Plourde.
For more information on the land deal, including maps and photos of some of the areas see: http://gov.ns.ca/news/smr/2012-01-06-Land-Purchase/
For more information and to get involved in the Provincial Government’s 12% by 2015 process see:
For more information on the Colin Stewart Forest Forum see: http://gov.ns.ca/news/details.asp?id=20091222008