GUYSBOROUGH: A local municipality recently questioned proposed changes to the province’s parks and protected areas plan.

In October, the Mining Association of Nova Scotia (MANS) issued a release asking the Nova Scotia Government to review the current plan and support a balance with progress.

“While Nova Scotia’s mining and quarrying industry supports protecting natural lands for future generations, we also believe the provincial government’s Parks and Protected Areas Plan needs to strike a better balance between protecting land and protecting jobs,” stated Sean Kirby, executive director of MANS. “Beautiful, natural lands are important, but so are job creation, economic opportunity and government revenues to pay for programs such as health and education.”

MANS also issued a report they say shows the Parks and Protected Areas Plan is potentially costing Nova Scotians approximately 291-356 jobs by preventing mineral exploration and development in protected areas, costing $16-$19.6 million per year in lost wages and $22-$27 million in foregone economic activity each year.

Last week, the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) council expressed concern with the government’s protected area targets when they were laid out in 2009. The release also states the MODG feels the MANS proposal provides an opportunity to reset priorities, adding the plan creates a net-gain situation for everyone.

“It’s an issue that the municipality has held dear for a lot of years,” said Barry Carroll, CAO for Guysborough. “Guysborough has a large percentage of protected areas within the municipality and we’re supporting MANS in its position that…why not have a program in place that allows you to swap lands in protected areas for lands that might have some mineral potential? From a perspective of living in rural Nova Scotia, that makes a lot of sense for us.”