News release

Province Finalizes Land Deal with Irving

The province is working to reach its economic and environmental goals with the recently completed purchase of 65,000 acres of J.D. Irving land in Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth, and Cumberland counties.

The land will support wilderness protection, heritage conservation, tourism, recreation, community use, fishing, hunting and potential Mi'kmaq uses. Some of the land will help protect jobs in the forestry industry in rural Nova Scotia.

Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell said the government is making a sound investment.

"Economically, an investment in land is always smart. This deal will give Nova Scotia a greater chance to lease land to enhance forestry activities, help municipalities protect their water supplies, and provide wilderness recreation spaces for tourism and health."

Of the land purchased, about half will support economic development, recreation activities and potential Mi'kmaq uses. The remaining land has higher conservation values and will be a focus for environmental protection, which could also develop into economic advantages.

"This purchase includes some exceptional natural land for protection," said Minister of Environment Sterling Belliveau. "This land will help the province meet its goal of protecting 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land mass by 2015."

Currently, 8.5 per cent of the province's land mass is protected. Detailed protection decisions will be made over the next few years as part of the province's broader protected areas planning process, which will include opportunities for involvement by the public and interested groups.

"All lands are a priority for the Mi'kmaq and we are pleased that the Nova Scotia government is taking the Mi'kmaq into consideration," said Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs co-chair, Chief Gerard Julian of Paqtnkek First Nations. "Presently, we are still in discussions within the Made-in-Nova Scotia process and the purchase of these Irving lands and any future lands are discussions that will continue."

Buy Back Nova Scotia, a coalition of 75 organizations representing hunters, fishers, paddlers, off-road vehicle enthusiasts, municipalities, outdoor guide and tourism businesses, environmental protection groups, and social organizations, is pleased with the purchase.

"The purchase of these lands is something every Nova Scotian can celebrate," said coalition member Sandra Phinney. "It means holding on to heritage and traditional lifestyle, as well as ensuring future generations that we are not selling land beneath their feet for commercial purposes."

The province confirmed in early January that it intended to buy the land, for $40 million from its $75 million budget for large land purchases.

For maps and photos of the land purchased, visit www.gov.ns.ca/natr .

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The province is working to reach its economic and environmental goals with the recently completed purchase of 65,000 thousand acres of J.D. Irving land.

The land is located in Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth and Cumberland counties and will support wilderness protection, heritage conservation, tourism, recreation, community use, fishing, hunting and potential Mi'kmaq uses.

Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell says an investment in land is always smart. Buy Back Nova Scotia member Sandra Phinney says the purchase is something every Nova Scotian can celebrate.

The province confirmed in early January that it intended to buy the land for $40 million.

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Media Contacts:

David Salter
Natural Resources 902-424-5239 E-mail:
Bruce Nunn
Department of Environment 902-424-6427 Cell: 902-476-6454 E-mail: