A new tool for land preservation is being proposed by the Province of Nova Scotia. The Community Easement Act will give local organizations, land trusts, and communities the opportunity to preserve land for a diverse range of purposes: from working forests and farmlands, to cherished recreational and cultural sites.
Natural Resource Minister Charlie Parker comments that “a community easement can allow groups to preserve things like agricultural land, community access to places of interest, working forests, scenic views, wetlands and woodlots. These easements may also be used to conserve lands with cultural significance, or archaeological or palaeontological sites. An easement lays out specific conditions about land use, and those conditions remain attached to the property in the future, even if the land is sold.”
The new Community Easement Act differs from the already established Conservation Easement Act in that the latter is a preservation tool to be used strictly for nature and biodiversity preservation, and prohibits most development and resource uses on the land, in order to preserve those values. Community Easements, on the other hand, will be able to accommodate many human activities and uses of the land, while preserving important assets from inappropriate use and development. Importantly, the new Community Easement Act does not carry with it the same tax incentives and benefits that can accompany Conservation Easements.
The Bras d’Or Preservation Nature Trust participated in a consultation with the province in February about the new Community Easement Act, along with other land trust organizations across the province. The new act represents another preservation tool that our organization will be able to utilize to preserve ecologically important land in the Bras d’Or Lakes watershed. This may allow us to help protect a greater variety of important landscapes while accommodating a diversity of land uses around the Bras d’Or.
If you are considering preserving your private property in the Bras d’Or Lake watershed, the Bras d’Or Preservation Nature Trust can help you register a protective easement. Contact us for more information.