The province is inviting Nova Scotians to nine open house consultations to offer their ideas on the best ways to use the 1.5 million acres of Crown land in the western region.
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The consultations announced in December, is to help develop a sustainable plan for the land, which includes lands bought from Bowater Mersey Ltd.
Government will also seek input from the Mi'kmaq, municipalities, industry, and communities for the long-term plan to manage the Crown land and its natural resources.
Uses being considered for the land include agricultural operations, mineral exploration, renewable energy, wineries, maple syrup production, cranberry growing, tourism and recreation. The province will also consider conserving cultural heritage and biodiversity.
Some of the Crown land will also be used for community forests, also announced in December. The Department of Natural Resources is reviewing submissions and will set up a community forest pilot project in the western region.
Talks have also begun to create a Mi'kmaq forestry initiative.
During the planning, the province will consider access to lakes, roads, and trails on the lands. People are entitled to hunt and fish on all Crown lands as long as it does not interfere with leased or licensed lands, or the area is not excluded because of fish and wildlife regulations.
The final plan will include sustainable forestry management, as described in the province's natural resources strategy, The Path We Share. It will also meet new policies and guidelines for better forest management.
People can also submit online comments on the western lands at www.novascotia.ca/natr or mail in written comments to Western Region Crown Land Planning Department of Natural Resources PO Box 698 Halifax, NS, B3J 2T9 .
The province is also holding separate consultations to help exceed the provincial goal of protecting 12 per cent of the province's land mass. Most of the lands included in those consultations are not part of the western region Crown lands planning.
All are being held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Updated information on locations and dates is available toll-free at 1-855-814-5832.
-- March 18, Shelburne, Shelburne Fire Hall and Community Centre,63 King St.
-- March 19, Windsor, Windsor Legion Hall, 35 Empire Lane
-- March 25, Saulnierville, Digby Co., Saulnierville Legion Hall, 9938 Rte #1
-- March 26, Yarmouth, Yarmouth Legion Hall, 75 Parade St.
-- April 2, Cornwallis, Annapolis Co., Desmond Piers Building, Annapolis Basin Conference Centre, 268 Marine Dr., Cornwallis Park
-- April 3, Berwick, Berwick and District Fire Hall, 300 Commercial St.
-- April 4, West Northfield, Lunenburg County
Northfield District Fire Hall, 2233 Hwy #10
-- April 8, Black Point, Halifax Regional Municipality,
Black Point Fire Hall, 8579 St. Margaret's Bay Rd.
-- April 9, Greenfield, Queens Co., Greenfield Recreation Centre, 5048 Hwy. 210