The province has offered to buy more than 21,000 acres of land in western Nova Scotia with significant ecological, recreational and heritage value to Nova Scotians. The land is owned by JD Irving Ltd., which is selling 170,000 acres through sealed bids. “Our goal is to ensure that as much of this land as possible remains accessible to Nova Scotians,” said Natural Resources Minister Carolyn Bolivar-Getson. “We’re offering to buy lands with a full range of values to the province, while at the same time we are doing what is affordable as a government.” The province has offered to purchase lands of high priority to Nova Scotians, including: forestry and resource lands; recreational areas for hunting, fishing and canoeing; lakes and rivers; conservation lands for protection; and the New France heritage site, also known as Electric City. “I met with Jim Irving last weekend and made it clear that the land was of great importance to Nova Scotians,” said Ms. Bolivar-Getson. “I also expressed that we look to JD Irving Ltd., as a good corporate citizen with a long relationship with Nova Scotia, to partner in our efforts to protect this land.” The minister said that she believes the offer is reasonable and will be taken seriously. “I am pleased the Environment Department could assist in preparing an offer to purchase lands that will help meet the province’s goal of legally protecting 12 per cent of Nova Scotia’s land base,” said David Morse, Minister of Environment. As part of this process, government listened to many groups, including the Mi’kmaq. This decision is a step towards responding to their concerns. The province has learned that the Nature Conservancy of Canada is negotiating separately on five parcels of JD Irving-owned land in western Nova Scotia. The lands are not included in the sealed bid process but are known to be of high conservation value. “I am very pleased that the Nature Conservancy of Canada is engaged in buying land,” said Ms. Bolivar-Getson. “I’ve spoken with federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice about the sale, and he expressed keen interest in federal involvement in a land purchase of Irving land near Kejimkujik National Park.” Government is purchasing the land through the current budget. A map showing the areas which the province is bidding on is available at www.gov.ns.ca/natr/land/pdf/Irving-Apr09.pdf .