Oak Island Sale
Triton Alliance partners David Tobias and Dan Blankenship are finally selling their part of Oak Island through court‑appointed liquidators WBLI Incorporated. Although several lots on the island are already privately owned, the provincial government should jump at the chance to have the Triton Alliance 78 per cent.
For centuries, treasure seekers have been digging up Oak Island. Some lost their shirts in the process, unfortunately, some lost their lives. David Tobias and Dan Blankenship lost their friendship. Now, after 40 years of on and‑off treasure hunting, they are no loner speaking to one another. Both in their early 80s, they recently decided to stop chasing the dream and divide the sure treasure, the $7 million they’re asking for the island.
There are dozens of theories and more questions than answers on Oak Island. What, if anything, is buried there? Who buried it? Why does the ocean flood the money pit? After hundreds of years of futile searching, no one is likely to unlock the island’s secrets any time soon. We don’t think we’re alone in thinking that Oak Island’s recoverable treasure is not buried underground, it’s buried in the island’s history, its mystery and its potential to become a world‑class tourist attraction.
A recent feasibility study by the Economic Planning Group of Canada decided that Nova Scotia’s small market base could not support a “free‑standing attraction,” but it did recognize potential for broader, tourism‑related approaches on Oak Island. As reported by Angie Zinck in these newspapers last February, that planning group believes “The magic is on the island,” and sees the “outstanding and compelling power of the Oak Island mystery” as a promising concept for a future attraction. That potential for tourism development makes the Province of Nova Scotia the logical choice as purchaser of the island.
To allow developers to build condos or a private, luxury summer community on one of the province’s most important historic sites would be unconscionable. Oak Island is a priceless provincial asset. The province must acquire it now for the benefit of all Nova Scotians.
The province must concentrate its energies on building up resources and improving Nova Scotia’s crumbling infrastructure. If the government does everything it can to make the province an attractive destination, more tourists will come.
Nova Scotia’s roads are the top priority. They are in such deplorable condition that many tourists go home and warn their friends not to come here. Repairs cannot wait. Also at the top of the list is environmental responsibility. We must reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, halt the dumping of raw sewage into provincial bays and harbours, and create legislation that will satisfy the courts to force the removal or repair of unsightly premises throughout the province.
And simultaneously, the government must embrace every opportunity to purchase historical and recreational sites and protect them from inappropriate development. Making Nova Scotia more attractive to visitors is a government responsibility. The purchase of mystery‑shrouded Oak Island for the future benefit of all Nova Scotians is a very sensible step towards achieving such a goal.
‑ Marg Hennigar – Progress Enterprise, July 13, 2005