On Friday September 1, 2000, Dave Harris, Resource Manager for the Eastern
Region with Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources responded to
questions by the host of CBC's Maritime Noon about the DNR's plans for
Nova Scotia Crown Land protected areas. Mr. Harris is also chair of the
Eastern region IRM planning team.
CBC: Does the map that Kermit deGooyer was describing sound
like the one you'll be presenting to the public on Tuesday?
Dave Harris: I would say.I think what happened is we were testing
to make sure that it would work well on Tuesday for the release and
I think they were online when we were testing is the best I understand
CBC: But is it one of the maps that you will be presenting
to the public?
Dave Harris: Yeah, we're presenting a number of maps and other
information - we're trying to show people how we've reflected what they
told us during the workshops we had a couple years ago. We'll have our
database there that shows everything that they told us and how we've
used that information so that they can track back to see what we said
and what they said.
CBC: All the things that came up at the public meetings will
be there ? people will be able to access those?
Dave Harris: Absolutely, we'll have a complete database we've
made from those minutes.
CBC: Now, what do you say to Mr. deGooyer's comments ? that
there should be more land in Nova Scotia put under protection, I guess
in what's called Category 3?
Dave Harris: You know, I'm hearing there's not enough Category
1 from certain sectors as well.
CBC: And Category 1 is?
Dave Harris: Is multiple use, general resource use areas.
CBC: Category 2 would be?
Dave Harris: Multiple and adaptive use areas.
CBC: Adaptive use areas?
Dave Harris: Yes, they vary. One thing we did was we got from
the public an inventory of the values they were aware of on Crown land
blocks. And also from Department of the Environment and ourselves, all
of the people who had information on various inventories of information
on different blocks of land. We have a number of we're trying to reflect,
one of them's old growth forest, we have a provincial policy that 8%
of Crown land has to be in an old forest condition. So, one of the values
will be to conserve on Crown land we be those old forests where they
CBC: But a Category 3 that Mr. deGooyer mentioned, I understand,
is basically a part of Crown lands where there would be no development
to speak of, is that correct?
Dave Harris: Yes, but I think you're twisting it slightly when
you say no development. I would say that there wouldn't be much development
in an old growth forest if we're planning to maintain that value on
the land. We also have areas that the main value to have and show in
the future is scenery and that sort of thing, and people from tourism
across the province came to our sessions and said along this area scenery
is very important to reflect. So anything that happens in that area,
the value of scenery must be maintained.
CBC: Now what about your ability to meet that 1992 commitment
that Mr. deGooyer referred to, and that is promising to protect representative
areas in the province? He said that 57 out of those 80 regions are not
protected - don't have protected areas.
Dave Harris: Well, we are including all of the old IBP sites,
which are the International Biological Protection Program. We had a
series of about fifty of those on Crown land that have been on a moratorium
for anything to happen for twenty years, and I think in most cases those
all became C3 and some other places. He's right, there's not any new
huge areas but I think in all cases you don't need a huge area to protect
a value and where we found it appropriate and there was enough information
on an area it was categorized C3. You know, as you're well aware, a
month ago the World Wildlife Fund said that this province was leading
all the provinces in the percentage of Crown land that it had in protection,
so you know, we are taking more steps down that road and there are things
like old forest and certain other things we can conserve in C2, and
we've got a large percentage of C2 lands where that has happened.
And one of the reasons for that is some biologists at our sessions
explained that [...?...] and I'm a biologist so I maybe I have a vested
interest in this [...?...] but there are management things that will
be necessary under our new Endangered Species Act, which again is thought
to be one of the best in the country, and the core habitat of those
species, we may need to manage those areas to maintain it in a habitat
for that species.
If you just put a bag around it and don't allow anything it might grow
beyond that species' habitat requirements. There are some plants that
have very specific light regime requirements, it's important that we
be able to manage for that value.
CBC: I'm wondering, given the fact that you had the first go-around
of public consultations, you're about to initiate another series of
meetings next week, how much room is there for change?
Dave Harris: If there are new values that people have on a
property then they will be reflected in the categorization. If it's
just people unhappy with the categorization, well there's not a lot
of room. But if there's new information or information we've missed
or mistakes we want to be able to have that to go forward.
CBC: And what about the final decision making process? Another
criticism yesterday was that it was too heavy with DNR officials and
not enough other people were going to be at the table.
Dave Harris: Well, you know, like I say, this is a draft. We're
planning to change it. I think it's still our Department's role to recommend
this for approval, but as in anything, we live in a democracy and the
government will have the final say on whether it goes forward or not,
and you know, they reflect public opinion.
CBC: Dave Harris is Resource Manager for the Eastern Region
with Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources.
The government open houses start on Tuesday with stops at the old vocational
school in Port Hawkesbury and the Lawrencetown Fire Hall. That's Lawrencetown
in the Annapolis County.
You can find out more information about this on the Nova Scotia government
website. It's gov.ns.ca/natr, and
the Ecology Action Centre also has a website dedicated to Crown lands,