NDP introduces bill to protect Oak Island Treasure for Nova Scotians

April 23, 2014

For more than 200 years Oak Island has been a beacon for treasure hunters. According to the legend, in 1795 three young men noticed a depression in the ground. Having heard that pirates had stashed their belongings on many of the islands in Mahone Bay, they began to dig…

In light of a new theory and a renewed interest in exploring Oak Island, Chester- St. Margaret’s NDP MLA Denise Peterson-Rafuse is introducing legislation today to protect whatever artifacts may be discovered.

“The mystery at Oak Island is a rich part of South Shore heritage. With this bill, the legacy of Oak Island will be preserved and carried forward for future generations of South Shore residents,” said Peterson-Rafuse. “Preserving the mystery at Oak Island also simultaneously protects future tourism opportunities for the South Shore region.”

Under the NDP bill, existing permits for treasure hunting on Oak Island would transition to a new heritage research permit. Proponents will have six months to apply for this transition. Once a heritage permit is received, the permit holder will have two years to conduct any explorations or excavations. During that time, the Province will have the right to appoint an archeologist to monitor the site of any explorations or excavations carried out on Oak Island. This cost would be borne by the permit holder.

The Bill also stipulates that a portion of discoveries made at Oak Island, such as coins, would become the property of the Province or another public institution as designated by the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, such as a museum.

Wynand Baerken of Chester Marine Services Ltd supports the NDP legislation.

“With evidence piling up after ten years of research by Norwegian Petter Amundsen, we can no longer downplay this Island simply as being a Treasure Island. Through Amundsen’s historical research documentaries like the ‘Sweet Swan of Avon’ and ‘Shakespeare, the hidden truth’ the Island has become one of the most intriguing places on earth,” said Baerken.

He added, “I truly hope that today, on Shakespeare’s birthday, any political differences can be set aside and that we can share and enjoy a moment where we show the rest of the world that we will protect this very unique place.”