A new year brings new hope. I, for one, am hopeful that we will all be able to see a future that includes a world class Cabot Golf course approved for West Mabou by the Province of Nova Scotia.

This will be a course built by a proven company with a nationally recognized environmental record; a record that includes taking measures to protect wildlife such as birds, like the piping plover, while at the same time protecting sensitive ecosystems.

Cabot does so through a variety of measures. An example of this is their use of marram grass which is used to protect dune systems and virtually eliminates the use of approved products on 97 per cent of the course. Simply put, marram grass on a new course in West Mabou will protect the dunes and thus protect the beach.

Doing nothing, as is the case today, will not provide the type of protection the West Mabou Beach deserves. Doing nothing will lead to increased, and faster, erosion of the West Mabou Beach similar to what was seen as a result of Hurricane Fiona.

Marram grass has been used by the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Island Nature Trust for beaches in PEI because it works. It is tough and works for our type of climate, our shorelines, and it makes environmental sense.

It is time for common sense environmentalism. It is what many people, and I would suggest the majority, believe in. It means a balanced approach. Those that suggest it is just about the economy or just about the environment are missing the big picture. It is about both.

The truth is that West Mabou Provincial Park was set up, and is classed, for its, recreational and natural attributes. It is not a protected area where recreational activity is unable to take place. Any suggestion of such a thing is simply misleading. Your readers deserve to know this and it is an important part of the conversation.

The Province of Nova Scotia, and its people, will continue to own the land under a lease arrangement with Cabot and will maintain ultimate control of the site/course. This is important for the community given there will continue to be a provincial park adjacent to the course; a park which will continue to include a world class beach and beautiful trail system.

Cabot’s proposal makes both ecological and economic sense. Most importantly, it makes good old fashioned common sense.

Duane MacDonald