N.S. NDP seeks stricter regulations to protect Oak Island treasure
Published Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:24PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 7:46PM ADT
For centuries, treasure hunters from across the globe have been lured to Oak Island, N.S. with the hopes of discovering precious bounty.
Legend has it treasure and secrets are buried on the tiny island off Nova Scotia’s South Shore.
“For so many years, Oak Island has been deemed as a hoax by some people. Other people live and dream it,” says historian Danny Hannigar.
That dream that could be altered by the Nova Scotia NDP, who want to pass a bill that would impose stricter regulations on those hunting treasure on the island.
“It still allows the treasure hunters to keep 75 per cent of any monetary values that they find, in terms of silver or gold,” says MLA Denise Peterson-Rafuse.
The bill would essentially turn the island into an archeological site; where treasure hunters would get two-year heritage research permits and an archeologist would monitor their work. Any artifacts found would be turned over to the province or to a museum.
“The smallest find might make the biggest difference in the end to put the clues together,” says diver Wynand Baerken.
Baerken lives near the island. He says there is evidence from a Norwegian filmmaker and researcher that suggests a big find, like Templar treasure, is hiding on the island.
He says the province needs to be prepared in case the discovery is made.
“Just imagine what it would do to Nova Scotia, to be the place that has the most important historical find ever,” says Baerken.
Angela Steeves manages a nearby hotel. She says people come from all over the world to visit the island, especially since it was included in a reality TV show.
“There’s been a renewed interest over the last couple months,” says Steeves. “It’s the intrigue, the wondering. What’s in there? Is there something there? Who put it there?”
The government says the bill is important, but it isn’t a priority, leaving adventure seekers to continue searching for buried treasure.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Suzette Belliveau