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NDP government announces millions for land protection

by Adam Jacobs

Local MLA Denise Peterson-Rafuse announces $6.5 million for land protection in a Chester-based announcement.
 CHESTER - In front of Brad Armstrong is a map. Surrounding him is a small group of people. He points to a white square in the centre of that map in front of him.

 "That's an area we really need to bring to their attention," he said. "It's 500 acres [202 hectares] of land purchased by Nova Scotia Power in the 1930s to be used for hydro power. It hasn't been touched since then."

 Literally surrounding those 500 acres is 4,500 hectares (11,119 acres) bordering Holden Lake, found near the New Ross area off Highway 12 down the Glengarry Road.

 The local group Friends of Nature has been pushing for the protection of Crown land surrounding the lake to be preserved for future generations.

 This brings a smile to Mr. Armstrong's face.

 That's because the provincial government has announced $6.5 million for its 2012-13 budget toward purchasing lands for protection. The announcement was made at the Chester United Church on November 21 by local NDP MLA Denise Peterson-Rafuse.

 "This investment will help us to protect outstanding natural lands and the plants and animals that rely on them for survival," Ms Peterson-Rafuse said. "It's important to preserve Nova Scotia's natural spaces for our children and grandchildren to use and enjoy well into the future."

 Holden Lake, along with five other plots of land in the Chester municipality, is on a list of 576 pieces of land under consideration by the province for protection.

 As part of an election promise the NDP government declared it would work to have 12 per cent of the province's land protected by 2015. The current number is in the eight to nine per cent range.

 "We feel it's very important to protect some part of Lunenburg County with the 12 per cent," Mr. Armstrong said. "In the Chester district alone we have the potential for another 7,500 acres of protection."

 The Holden Lake frontage is by far the largest piece in the municipality under consideration. It is largely white-sand beach. The surrounding forest consists of poplar, red spruce, hemlock, yellow birch and pine.

 The Gold River runs through the property and contains a small salmon population.

 For generations the land has been used as a traditional hunting and fishing ground - should it become a protected land that would continue.

 The only major restriction would be that of motorized vehicles on the property. And even then vehicles would be allowed under certain circumstances.

 Consultation on potential protected areas is currently under way, and the public is invited to comment in any way, shape or form by February 10, 2012. For more information on the 12 per cent goal and protected areas in Nova Scotia, visit

posted on 11/23/11
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