Nova Scotia to buy $40 million worth of land from J.D. Irving Ltd.

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HALIFAX - The Nova Scotia government has authorized the purchase of $40 million worth of land from New Brunswick's J.D. Irving Ltd. and subsidiary Rothesay Paper Holdings Ltd.
The 20 parcels of land are in the counties of Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth and Cumberland, but it remains unclear how much land is included.
The deal, outlined briefly in a cabinet order dated Dec. 21, does not include the costs of appraisals, surveys and legal services.
Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell made the recommendation for the purchase on Dec. 10.
Last year, J.D. Irving Ltd. confirmed it was trying to sell 69,000 hectares of timberland in the western Nova Scotia counties of Digby, Annapolis and Yarmouth.
The asking price for that land was not revealed, but it was believed at the time that the Irvings wanted about $100 million.
At the time, the governing Conservatives offered to buy about 8,500 hectares, noting that it has significant ecological, recreational and heritage value.
But the offer was rejected in July, shortly after the NDP defeated the Tories in a provincial election.
During the campaign, NDP Leader Darrell Dexter said if elected, his government would work to protect public access to land in communities across the province by establishing a community lands trust.
The huge property, along with its hydroelectric potential, could help the government meet its stated goal of restoring at least 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land mass to Crown ownership by 2015.
The Irving property is almost double the size of nearby Kejimkujik National Park and encompasses a 600-kilometre trail network, 69 lakes and four river systems.
When the NDP introduced its first budget in September that projected a $592-million deficit, Dexter surprised conservation groups by promising to spend $81 million during the current fiscal year to create more Crown land.
The allocation represented a whopping $66-million increase over what was promised by the previous government.
Richard Hurlburt, the Conservative member of the legislature for Yarmouth, was critical Tuesday of the NDP decision, saying the government should direct funds to economic development rather than Crown land purchases.
"I believe our economy is really suffering now and we should be looking at ways to stimulate it," said Hurlburt, a former minister of natural resources.
Hurlburt is seeking the government's assistance in restarting a ferry service between Bar Harbour, Maine, and Yarmouth, after the existing high-speed Cat ferry ceased operations before Christmas.

Organizations: J.D. Irving Ltd., NDP, Rothesay Paper Holdings Conservatives

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Yarmouth, Annapolis HALIFAX Irvings New Brunswick Kejimkujik National Park Bar Harbour Maine

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Recent comments

  • Jamie
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Wow this is great news for Nova Scotia ...... Hummmm do you think this will take pressure off the Chignecto Sanctuary ? Why not turn this in to WMA and leave Cignecto alone ? 69,000 hectares thats more than the Chignecto . Whats your toughs people ?

    Wow look at the 600 kms of trail systems that this would shut down and 69 lakes with no access if DOE took it over and made it a WMA. I will take a guess now that it will be on the chopping block very soon . This would be completely devastating for Nova Scotians if that happend .

  • Shawanoswe
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    JotrfLT forget to mention. The NS Governemnt is forcing people who do not own their land off. So their are no squatters rights allowed their any more!

  • get it right
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey Jack,

    You mean squatters right? Did these camp owners own the property the camps were on?

  • Chillwill
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I had mentioned this a few weeks ago. This is totally insane for our government to be wasting money like this. Irving was one of the groups involved in identifying WPA's, now it is their lands being bought? This SMELLS !!! Oh, didn,t they just get 9 million yesterday from Daddy Darrell ? Jack the province didn't kick these camps off the land, Irving did. So, they ( Irving ) must have known long ago which lands were going. Trail systems in Cumberland County are going to be destroyed. Jamie I hope you will back SANS & ATVANS when they find out how much of the Cobequid Mountains will be taken. IE. The expansion to the Economy wilderness area.