Municipality of East Hants to take over operation of park from non-profit group

Published on March 12, 2017

Angela Sanford, member of the Burntcoat Head Park Association asks for the community to think of ways the association can remain a relevant and active part of the community after the municipality sent a letter stating it would be terminating the lease to the lighthouse and taking over operations.

©Colin Chisholm

NOEL, N.S. – The Municipality of East Hants is taking control of the Burntcoat Head Park lighthouse and other assets from a non-profit organization that has been operating there for years.

A motion of council passed in late December states that the municipality will terminate the lease of the lighthouse with the Burntcoat Head Park Association (BHPA). The municipality’s department of parks, recreation and culture will now conduct the operations of Burntcoat Head Park – which is quickly becoming a major tourism plank for the region.

On March 2, members of the association gathered at the Noel Fire Hall to discuss the future of the organization and their role in community.

“We’re here really to find out from the community and what they feel the direction of the association should be moving forward,” BHPA chairwoman Cynthia Balser said.

The executive asked the approximately 15 people gathered to think about ways the association could be involved in the community.

No formal decisions on what the association will do moving forward will be made until the annual general meeting in April.

As of March 22, 2017, the municipality will handle park operations.

Paula Roberts (left) from Lower Selma and Caroline Greenland from South Maitland take part in a discussion on the Burntcoat Head Park Association’s future at the Noel Fire Hall on March 2.

©Colin Chisholm

Residents React

Anne Crowe, a resident of Burntcoat, said she’s upset with how the municipality has handled the situation.

“It stinks all the way around,” she said. “I hope the municipality backs right out of the whole picture.”

Crowe said this decision is a slap in the face to the association and volunteers who have maintained the lighthouse and worked on the park for so long.

Caroline Greenland, former chairwoman of the association, attended the meeting in Noel and said she’s frustrated with East Hants over this.

“Can you imagine, being a group of volunteers who have dedicated so much time and effort to something like this, and then to get a letter from the municipality saying you’re basically terminated?” Greenland said. “It’s atrocious and unprofessional.”

Greenland said she left the association last year following her frustrations with the municipality expropriating land from a private landowner to expand the park.

When asked why the municipality decided to take this action, the Hants Journal was provided the following response:

“The Municipality would like to acknowledge and thank the Park Association and the many volunteers over the years who have supported and managed the park. Moving forward the Municipality will assume full control of operations.” – Warden Jim Smith, East Hants Municipality

Burntcoat Head Park is an iconic destination for people to visit in Nova Scotia.  (Submitted photo)