On January 29th, as we began a series of press events and public meetings up and down the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, the Star Halifax invited its readers to respond to the question: “Do you support having a whale sanctuary in Nova Scotia?” The results:
Absolutely. This is an ideal place: 89.07%
No. It is not a realistic idea: 3.18%
Not sure. Do we have the expertise
to manage it properly? 7.75%
Over the next two weeks, at each of the meetings, the support continued. After we were in Shelburne, the Chronicle Herald headlined “Whale Sanctuary Meeting – Enthusiasm Abounds.” And what they wrote could just have easily applied to any and all the other events we held in Dartmouth, Liverpool, Port Hawkesbury, Sherbrooke and Sheet Harbor as Lori Marino, Charles Vinick and Nova Scotia advisor and site search coordinator Catherine Kinsman presented the whale sanctuary concept and took questions and comments from area residents.
“We were truly impressed with the community response,” Charles Vinick said. “People are already forming local committees to explore how they can collaborate with the Whale Sanctuary Project and then work with us to identify a sanctuary site that works equally well for the community and the whales.”
Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatall told the Chronicle Herald that the next step will be to facilitate a meeting amongst the community to see what interest is out there. And Round Bay resident John Davis was confident that a whale sanctuary would work really well in Shelburne County.
“I hope people get together on it,” he said. “I’m prepared to put some effort into it. I hope something happens. It’s a great idea. What happens to those animals is horrible and if we can help get them closer to the wild, I think we should try.”
And that’s what is happening now as community coordinators in Sheet Harbor, Liverpool, Sherbrooke and Shelburne are calling together local residents and sharing ideas for how the community and the Whale Sanctuary Project can work together to create a sanctuary for whales retired from marine entertainment parks.