Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia – The Ecology Action Centre (EAC) is applauding the provincial government’s announcement that the Archibald Lake area in Guysborough County is officially Nova Scotia’s latest protected area. The new Archibald Lake Wilderness Area will protect habitat for rare and endangered species, old growth forest and native trout and salmon, while adding to a growing network of protected public and private lands along the historically significant and ecologically sensitive St. Mary’s River.
“We’re absolutely delighted by today’s announcement,” says Raymond Plourde, senior wilderness coordinator with the EAC. “Kudos to the provincial government for delivering this important win for nature and for the St. Mary’s River ecosystem. It’s been a long time coming and we congratulate and thank the government for finally getting this one over the finish line.”
The legal protection of the area also means that Australian gold mining company St. Barbara will not be allowed to syphon water from Archibald, MacDonald and Rocky lakes for a proposed open-pit gold mine on nearby Cochran Hill – a project strongly opposed by the EAC and dozens of other groups across the province and beyond.
“We’re happy to see the gold mining company shut out from the Archibald Lake area but I doubt that they’re going to give up,” says Plourde. “There’s a lot of other lakes in Guysborough County and I suspect that they’ll just pivot to another proposed water supply. But it doesn’t matter what they do or how long it takes, Nova Scotians will never allow a massive open-pit gold mine next to the St. Mary’s River. St. Barbara and investors would be well advised to avoid Cochrane Hill and the St. Mary’s River area altogether.”
Plourde says that although the EAC is celebrating the protection of Archibald Lake, issues like the potential Cochran Hill gold mine highlight the importance of picking up the pace when it comes to Nova Scotia’s commitment to protecting land.
“We salute the Province for today’s important announcement,” says Plourde. “Now it’s time for them to remain steadfast and pick up the pace of protected area designations so we can meet our legislated target of 20 per cent land and water protection by 2030, and not lose any of our crucial and unique ecosystems to shortsighted corporate greed.”