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BILL NO. 1


Private Members Bill


6th Session, 56th General Assembly

Nova Scotia

46 Elizabeth II, 1997






An Act to Preserve the Integrity

and Diversity of Wildlands






Eileen O'Connell

Halifax Fairview









Halifax

Printed by Queens Printer for Nova Scotia




An Act to Preserve the Integrity

and Diversity of Wildlands


WHEREAS designated wildlands are dedicated as a heritage resource to the people of Nova Scotia and the world for present and future generations;


AND WHEREAS the designated wildlands are for the use and enjoyment of, and appreciation by, the public and should therefore have their inherent biodiversity, ecological integrity and other intrinsic values protected and preserved:


THEREFORE be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:


1 This Act may be cited as the Wildlands Protection Act.


2 The purpose of this Act is to


(a) designate and protect wildland sites of the Province that are representative of the Province's original natural diversity and that merit conservation; and


(b) conserve both the ecological integrity and native biodiversity, rather than enhance an artificial maximum value, of those designated sites.


3 In this Act,


(a) "biodiversity" or "biological diversity" means the variety within the genetic makeup of individuals and species, the variety of species within habitats and the range of habitats within the environment, including the interactions and processes between and among them;


(b) "Department" means the Department of Natural Resources;


(c) "designated wildland" means an area of land or water, or part thereof, that has been designated as a wildland site pursuant to this Act;


(d) "ecological integrity" means the ability of all the components of an ecosystem to continue to function independently of external control;


(e) "Minister" means the Minister of Natural Resources.


4 (1) This Act shall be administered by the Director of Parks and Recreation and conservation officers and other persons appointed pursuant to the Provincial Parks Act.


(2) Sections 15 and 16 of the Provincial Parks Act apply to this Act.


5 The Minister shall


(a) appoint a wildlands committee to perform such advisory functions as the Minister considers necessary or desirable in connection with the planning and management of one or more designated wildlands; and


(b) establish the terms of reference and procedures for such committees.


6 (1) The sites listed in Schedules A and B to this Act are designated as wildland sites pursuant to this Act.


(2) The Minister may designate other areas of land or water, or part thereof, that are owned, leased or otherwise acquired by Her Majesty in right of the Province as wildland sites pursuant to this Act.


7 (1) Notwithstanding any other enactment, upon the designation of a wildland site pursuant to this Act, the Minister shall not significantly reduce the boundaries of the designated wildland or grant, lease or otherwise dispose of lands that compromise the site without public consultation and then only through an Act of the Legislature.


(2) Thirty days notice shall be given for any public consultation referred to in subsection (1) by advertisement in at least one newspaper circulating in the area of the proposed wildland site and in one newspaper circulating throughout the Province.


8 (1) The Minister shall prepare a management plan for each designated wildland, in consultation with the wildlands committee appointed pursuant to Section 5, and shall, within three years of the site being designated, table the management plan in the House of Assembly, if the House is then sitting, and, if it is not then sitting, shall file it with the Clerk of the House of Assembly.


(2) A management plan required pursuant to subsection (1) shall be prepared in accordance with priorities based on, but not limited to,


(a) the significance or sensitivity of the designated wildland;


(b) the extent of threats or stresses on the ecological integrity of the designated wildland; and


(c) the extent of public interest, particularly at the local level, in initiating a management planning process for the designated wildland.


9 (1) Notwithstanding any other enactment, no commercial forestry activities or energy resource developments, including hydro developments and associated impoundments, are permitted within a designated wildland.


(2) Notwithstanding any other enactment, no mineral exploration licence shall be issued within a designated wildland.


(3) For greater certainty, mineral rights that were granted before this Act came into force and that are in good standing have full force and effect as long as they remain in good standing.


(4) Any mineral exploration or development within a designated wildland that is not prohibited under this Act and that is permitted by law shall be carried out


(a) so as to maximize protection of the designated wildland in which it occurs, in accordance with the purpose of this Act;


(b) in accordance with any terms and conditions specified by the Department after a review by the Department of proposed work plans for the mineral exploration; and


(c) subject to the outcome of any review processes required by the Environment Act and regulations made pursuant to that Act.


(5) Where a holder of mineral rights in a designated wildland indicates an interest in entering into negotiations to terminate mineral rights in effect at the time this Act comes into force, the Minister shall negotiate with the mineral-right holder to terminate the mineral rights.


(6) Notwithstanding any other enactment, no land use permits, leases or licences shall be issued for property within a designated wildland except those that are required to fulfil a management objective for the designated wildland identified in a management plan prepared pursuant to Section 8.


(7) Notwithstanding any other enactment, no campsite leases shall be granted for property that is within a designated wildland but, for greater certainty, a campsite lease that has been granted before the coming into force of this Act and is in good standing has full force and effect.


(8) Notwithstanding any other enactment, no roads or utility corridors shall be constructed in a designated wildland, except that where a mine is to be developed pursuant to a mineral right referred to in subsection (3), the proponent shall enter into an agreement with Her Majesty in right of the Province to establish easements for any required transportation or power access, and such easements shall be designed so as to maximize protection of the designated wildland in which the transportation or power access would be located, in accordance with the purpose of this Act.


(9) Notwithstanding any other enactment, no recreational use of all-terrain vehicles or motorboats is permitted within a designated wildland, except


(a) where, in the opinion of the Minister, there are no reasonable alternatives and impacts of use upon the environment are within acceptable limits, the use of all-terrain vehicles and motorboats is permitted to access backwoods cabins, approved campsite leases or in-holdings, that exist before the coming into force of this Act; or


(b) where, in the opinion of the Minister, an exceptional case exists, the Minister may authorize a permit to allow motorized travel within a designated wildland on approved routes and under terms and conditions determined by the Minister.


(10) Notwithstanding any other enactment, snowmobiling within a designated wildland is permitted only


(a) on trails that are


(i) established at the coming into force of this Act, and


(ii) essential links to more extensive trail networks; and


(b) where, in the opinion of the Minister, the environmental impact as a result of the use of such trails would be minimal.


(11) For greater certainty, travel within a designated wildland for any recreational purpose, including hunting, sport fishing and trapping that is permitted by law, is permitted by non-motorized means.


(12) Facilities such as hiking paths, portages and tenting sites may be developed within a designated wildland to accommodate wilderness recreational activities and shall be sited to minimize their impact on the environment and to maximize the quality of the wilderness experience.


10 (1) Every person who contravenes any provision of this Act or who, being the holder of a permit, fails to comply with any term or condition of a permit issued under this Act is guilty of an offence and is liable upon summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding ten thousand dollars.


(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where a corporation is convicted of an offence against this Act, the maximum penalty that may be imposed upon the corporation is one hundred thousand dollars.


11 (1) Notwithstanding any other enactment, the Governor in Council may make regulations


(a) respecting the ecosystem management of designated wildlands;


(b) respecting research and education uses of designated wildlands;


(c) establishing management plans for designated wildlands;


(d) prescribing a zoning system within a designated wildland;


(e) prescribing activities that may or may not be carried on within a zone;


(f) regulating hunting, fishing and trapping in designated wildlands;


(g) prohibiting or regulating the possession, discharge, use and conveyance of a firearm or bow in designated wildlands;


(h) for the care, preservation, improvement, control and management of designated wildlands;


(i) prohibiting or regulating the occupation of land within designated wildlands;


(j) regulating the use of lands within designated wildlands;


(k) prohibiting the erection of buildings or installations in designated wildlands or regulating the nature, cost, type of construction or location of buildings or installations that may be erected in designated wildlands;


(l) prohibiting or regulating the conduct of persons using any building, installation, equipment or facility in designated wildlands;


(m) prohibiting or regulating the erection, posting or other display of notices, signs, signboards and other advertising devices in designated wildlands;


(n) prohibiting or regulating the use, setting and extinguishing of fires in designated wildlands;


(o) providing for the issuance of permits to persons to enter and travel in designated wildlands, to occupy campsites therein or to otherwise use any land, buildings, installations or facilities within designated wildlands;


(p) prescribing the fees or rent payable for any permit given in respect of a designated wildland or for any use of land, buildings, installations or facilities within designated wildlands for which a permit is not required;


(q) prohibiting or regulating any activities or undertakings in designated wildlands;


(r) prescribing the maximum periods of stay of persons, vehicles or vessels in designated wildlands;


(s) providing for the imposition and collection of fees for entrance into designated wildlands of persons, vehicles or vessels;


(t) prohibiting or regulating the use or keeping of domestic animals in designated wildlands;


(u) prohibiting or regulating any activity carried on within any waters contiguous to a designated wildland or on the shoreline thereof, to the extent that the activity could be prohibited or regulated pursuant to this Act if carried on within the limits of the designated wildlands;


(v) respecting the removal of sand, earth, stone and other materials from designated wildlands;


(w) respecting leases;


(x) respecting the use of vessels or water-craft in designated wildlands;


(y) regulating pedestrian, vehicular or vessel traffic in designated wildlands;


(z) for the prevention of damage to or destruction, removal or defacement of designated wildlands;


(aa) defining any word or expression used in this Act and not defined herein;


(ab) respecting any other matter necessary or advisable to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.


(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority conferred by this Section shall be regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act.


SCHEDULE A

The following protected sites, as described in the "Interim Management Guidelines: Candidate Protected Areas" produced by the Department and released by the Minister on February, 28, 1997, are designated as wildland sites:


1. Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault

2. Margaree River

3. French River

4. Sugarloaf Mountain

5. Middle River

6. North River

7. Trout River

8. Middle River-Framboise

9. Gabarus

10. Scatarie Island

11. Ogden Round Lake

12. Bonnet Lake Barrens

13. Canso Coastal Barrens

14. Liscomb River

15. The Big Bog

16. Alder Grounds

17. Boggy Lake

18. Tangier Grand Lake

19. White Lake

20. Clattenburgh Brook

21. Waverly-Salmon River Long Lake

22. Terence Bay

23. Economy River

24. Portipique River

25. Cloud Lake

26. McGill Lake

27. Lake Rossignol

28. Tobeatic

29. Tidney River

30. Bowers Meadow


SCHEDULE B

The following protected site, as described in "Protecting Nova Scotia's Natural Areas: The Report of the Public Review Committee for the Proposed Systems Plan for Parks and Protected Areas in Nova Scotia", released in August of 1995 is designated as a wildland site:


Jim Campbells Barrens


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