Conserving and restoring nature is crucial in the fight against climate change, protecting biodiversity and species at risk and ensuring a robust and sustainable economy.
On Thursday, August 18, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, together with the Nova Scotia Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Timothy Halman, and the Nova Scotia Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables, the Honourable Tory Rushton, marked Canada and Nova Scotia’s dedication to the conservation of nature at an event held at Maskwa Aquatic Club next to the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes wilderness area, the site of the first proposed national urban park in Nova Scotia.
According to a press release, the two governments agreed to work together to:
Advance negotiations on a funded Nature Agreement that will focus on several nature-related opportunities, including protecting more natural spaces in Nova Scotia and increasing habitat protection for species at risk and migratory birds, to be finalized by 2023;Complete the pre-feasibility assessment and work toward the designation of the proposed national urban park at Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes, together with other key partners, including the Halifax Regional Municipality, the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, and the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq. The Government of Canada commits to making a foundational investment, such as land acquisition or infrastructure, by the end of 2023. This site has great potential to advance shared goals of protecting nature, enhancing access to nature for Nova Scotians and all Canadians, and advancing reconciliation; Seek new opportunities for connecting key areas of protected and conserved lands, including by completing a pilot project in Nova Scotia under Parks Canada’s National Program for Ecological Corridors, by 2025, in collaboration with partners. In undertaking this pilot project, both governments commit to engaging Indigenous communities to achieve shared goals of connecting culturally and naturally significant areas. The pilot will be the first project in Atlantic Canada under Parks Canada’s National Program for Ecological Corridors; andDevelop a funding agreement to conserve old-growth forests and address the hemlock woolly adelgid. Under the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, Environment and Climate Change Canada has agreed to commit up to CA$10 million, which will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration while also providing benefits for biodiversity and human wellbeing.
Nova Scotia’s goal to protect at least 20% of water and land mass within the Province by 2030 is in line with Canada’s goal of saving 25% of the lands and inland waters in Canada by 2025 and striving to reach 30% by 2030. The commitment to negotiate a nature agreement underscores the shared priority for nature conservation in Canada and Nova Scotia.
Canada’s push to protect more nature comes as the country prepares to welcome the world to the 15th United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in Montréal, Quebec.
“Residents in Halifax West and across Nova Scotia understand the deep value of maintaining our pristine natural spaces. Not only does conserving more nature help us fight climate change and protect our biodiversity, it makes it easier for Canadians to live healthy, active lifestyles with a connection to the natural world. Our government, and all our partners, understand that we are privileged to be able to enjoy natural spaces like the Blue Mountain – Birch Cove Lakes wilderness area, and I am excited about its potential as a national urban park. Let’s continue to work collaboratively across jurisdictions to make nature conservation a priority for the good of Canadians of today and tomorrow,” said Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West.