March 2010 Land Purchase

The province has finalized its unprecedented Large Land Purchase Program, acquiring in this fiscal year, more than 140,000 acres of land - equivalent to one and a half times the size of Kejimkujik National Park.

Government completed the program today, March 24, by reaching several agreements, securing over 13,000 acres for about $7.5 million, with smaller agreements pending.

The Large Land Purchase Program, valued at $75 million, was a highlight of the 2009 Budget. It was established to enrich Nova Scotia's environment, boost the economy and help the province reach its goal of protecting 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land mass by 2015.

"I'm proud to say that thanks to these strategic and impressive land purchases, future generations of Nova Scotians will have significantly more land to enjoy and government will have further opportunities to grow the economy," said John MacDonell, Minister of Natural Resources.

"In the span of just a few months we seized rare opportunities to put land, some of it high-conservation quality, back in the hands of Nova Scotians at a great price."

The most significant final purchases include nearly $2.5 million for about 4,000 acres of land from J.D. Irving Limited in Yarmouth, Shelburne and Annapolis counties and nearly 10,000 acres of NewPage land in Antigonish, Guysborough, Pictou, Inverness and Victoria counties with $5 million it previously loaned the company. A highlight of that agreement is a parcel at Kelly's Mountain in Cape Breton which has cultural and heritage significance to the Mi'kmaq and the province.

"Once these lands are reviewed through our public consultation process, they will move us significantly closer to our provincial goal of protecting 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land base by 2015," said Sterling Belliveau, Minister of Environment. "This Large Land Purchase Program has been very successful for conservation in our province."

The province also invested $1.39 million through the Forestry Transition Land Acquisition Program to buy 2,324 acres of land in Pictou, Halifax, Antigonish, Guysborough and Cumberland counties.

All land purchases are consistent with the Canada-US Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). In instances where land is being purchased from a company that produces softwood lumber, the province followed its longstanding policy of ensuring that the price paid is no higher than fair market value.

The Large Land Purchase Program was part of government's capital plan, approved by the legislature and conducted within budget limits proposed by the outgoing government for this fiscal year.

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