Labchuk vows to protect provincial park

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Sharon Labchuk at the lookout over Strathgartney Provincial Park. Labchuk expressed concerns the government plans to divert the TransCanada through the park.

There is no need to build a highway through Strathgartney Provincial Park, says Green party leader Sharon Labchuk.

Labchuk was at the park Wednesday where she said she is circulating a petition to try and stop any development through the park before it even starts.

“We want to nip this project in the bud before it gets too far,” she said.

Transportation Minister Ron MacKinley mentioned the project during the fall sitting of the legislature but provided few details other than to say it would improve the highway between Churchill and Borden-Carleton.

The plan is to make the road safer by removing sharp turns, steep hills and dangerous intersections that cross the highway.

A spokesman for the Transportation Department said nothing has been confirmed yet and consultations will take place before a plan is finalized.

Labchuk held a news conference at the scenic lookout at Strathgartney with a view of the forest behind her as she talked about her concerns related to a potential change to the highway.

She worries the highway will re-route through the provincial park, which has a rare beech forest and is a protected space.

“It’s a very special ecological place,” she said.

Labchuk also wants to change the regulations that allow the government to delist areas that have been designated as protected spaces.

“A protected area is a protected area,” she said.

There is so little protected land in P.E.I. that none should be delisted and areas are protected because they have some sort of ecologic significance, she said.

“I can’t think of any good reason to delist a protected area.”

As part of her announcement, Labchuk also promised a basic level of protection for unincorporated areas when it comes to development.

Incorporated areas, such as Charlottetown, have bylaws to protect residents, but unincorporated areas don’t.

Labchuk said she wants protection against developments that are not appropriate for communities and don’t give residents a say in their construction.

She gave several examples of developments that would fall under her proposal including a shooting range built last year in South Granville and a mink farm in Springton.

“Development, noise, nuisance. Things that devalue property and cause people to lose money,” she said.

Organizations: Transportation Department

Geographic location: Strathgartney Provincial Park, P.E.I., Charlottetown South Granville Springton

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Recent comments

  • Green Driver
    September 22, 2011 - 21:24

    If we have a choice between saving lives on our highways and damaging protected areas I would pick the former.

    • moosepucker
      September 23, 2011 - 11:11

      This is a hard one! Being "a south shore gal" I am well aware of how dangerous that area of highway is especially the turn after the park and heading to the golf course! AS I landed IN the gold course one winter night as a young driver, roads were icy, the ambulance nearly landed in behind me~thankful no one was seriously hurt but boy I respected that turn and still do. However to think that that beautiful park be used for a road way really shocked me! When he were younger that was THE place to go, when my kids were young we spent many hours there. Hiking the trail and just enjoy the open area~and that view you get no where else but up on the hill! So much of PEI's pure beauty is now covered with sub-division after sub-division which just truly breaks my heart. It would be nice if we could at least perverse our Provincial Parks! I love the park but I would like our highways safe also. I am sure it will be sometime before it would be actually done. Like rerouting the traffic and extending the 'by-pass" to Clyde River" which makes good sense to me but has yet to happen. This to me isn't about the VOTE now it's about Sharron who fights for the things we all want to but just sit back and 'grown and growl" about do nothing!

    • James
      October 01, 2011 - 19:39

      When was the last time you heard anyone dying on that stretch of road? Drive slower and you won't crash your car; tool.

    • Lillian Roper
      October 18, 2011 - 20:47

      Reduce your speed keep Park green Maybe if you went a little slower you might see the beauty if the park

  • Now you are surprised
    September 22, 2011 - 16:33

    I am surprised so many people are surprised that a Provincial Park can have a road run through it whenever the govt. sees fit. Where were these people when the Confederation Trail had a hydro corridor rammed through three years ago? It was anything for wind hydro exports and forget the recreational and tourism value of the Trail. The Trail is a provincial park but this didn't stop the desecrators, including the govt. and some well-connected friends. Despite appeals from the Trans Canada Trail national president and many others the project went ahead. If you want to look at the damage try Trail KM 88-89 near Wellington. The damage to the trail as an international tourist attraction is permanent and appalling. I strongly doubt anyone cycling this part of the Trail would want to return. The same fate awaits Strathgartney.

  • downtown doug
    September 22, 2011 - 13:31

    Okay, let's get a grip on this one. There isn't a plan "on the books" for straighteneing out that stretch of road. If there was, then I would have to agree with sharon on this one. Protected lands are protected lands. The place is worth more for tourists to "gush" over as they travel our roads than trying to speed up the trucks on their way off the island. Actually these types of roads are exactly what the tourists enjoy. It is at it's essence, what gives us that "look" they so enjoy. For the most part, so do I! Since I live out that way I can honestly say that it really isn't broken, why would there be a consideration to 'fix' it unless there was community drive to do it?

  • SG
    September 22, 2011 - 10:41

    (A spokesman for the Transportation Department said nothing has been confirmed yet and consultations will take place before a plan is finalized.) My first surprise was reading that a Politician would even Consider constructing a Highway through a Provincial Park ! Not only should consultations take place before a plan is finalized but all Islanders should have be able to voice their opinion on the issue! I dont' feel the number of visitors to this park has anything to do with it's salvation? This land has been a park since I was a child. There have been many Islanders and Visitors alike who have enjoyed it. And what is the main reason for constructing a highway through a park? Given this statement (MacKinley mentioned the project during the fall sitting of the legislature but provided few details other than to say it would improve the highway between Churchill and Borden-Carleton.) I would have to ask if the reason is for the benefit of Truckers? If so, it most certainly doesn't get my Vote. Also if that is the main objective for the highway I suggest Minister MacKinley find another route for the Truckers to use on their way to the Borden Hills and New Parking Lot.

  • Donnie
    September 22, 2011 - 10:30

    Hey now, I said I agreed with the tree hugger-NOT to put a road through the Strathgarteny. Waste of money better spent elsewhere for one thing. She's the one mentioned a negative impact on land values for the Mink Farm and Range, which I think is a non-issue, as the area for the projects was of minimal value to begin with, speaking from a monetary viewpoint, not based on how many trees there were to hug/pet/photgraph/pray to/dance naked around. I'm all for you voting Green, it's a good protest vote against the Tories and Liberals, who'll be going into power anyways, and it might even prove a nice wake-up-call for them to start paying attention to the grassroots voters, as opposed to their group-think suits wearing cronies. The Liberals canvassed door to door with an alledged drunk driver in my area, they need a few protest votes it seems if that's what their platform stands for. As for the "honest buck" someone has to create jobs, development creates them, and sustains them, and can be done in such a way to as to have a minimal negative impact on the earth. I don't believe we should let people with no training, education, or background deciding if/how development should be allowed. Also, I vote against mink farming by not buying mink products, or fur of any kind. It's how you vote in a free market society. I do love my leather though; shoes, boots, belts, jackets, etc, etc. Oh, and meat for the purpose of eating of course.

  • finally
    September 22, 2011 - 10:16

    sharon does get it right every once and a while.

  • Brenda Armour
    September 22, 2011 - 08:44

    If we don't have clean air and water then we have nothing. Vote Green.

  • voter
    September 22, 2011 - 08:19

    unfortunately and much to our discredit there are no political powers except those that are backed by and run for the good of the wealthy--the green party is probably better off becoming a charitable organization to save the planet

  • Kermit
    September 22, 2011 - 07:34

    If attitudes like Donnie's prevailed, the world would be an even more trashed wasteland where "kooks" who go for profit above all other concerns would have a field day. And Wilkins, all resistance to this totally DUMB idea to route TCH through Strathgartney is appropriate. Kudos to Sobey and Labchuk and thumbs down to McKinley' brain fog.

  • speedy
    September 22, 2011 - 07:20

    To Wilkins Micawber, I seem to think that the more people we have on this bandwagen the better chance we have of preventing it from happening especially since Dr Sobey also brought it to the publics attention.

  • country boy
    September 22, 2011 - 07:06

    I applaud anyone who is trying to save a provincial park but I must ask, When was the last time Sharron visited this park? The same applies to those people who flew kites in Charlottetown to protect that green space. I haven't seen a kite since.

  • Itolduso
    September 22, 2011 - 06:20

    Before waisting money on streighting out the highway through Strathgartney Park, Transportation Minister Ron MacKinley should first get the section of bridge over the North river and highway around Cornwall. That project has been on the books now for how many years. I think if anyone tampers with Strathgartney Park would be shooting themselves in the foot big time and rightfully so.

  • lance
    September 22, 2011 - 06:13

    Vote Green!

  • ThanksToGreen
    September 22, 2011 - 06:00

    Thank you, Ms. Labchuck. The only party in this election that is making any sense right now is the green party.

  • Shocked
    September 21, 2011 - 23:25

    A highway through Strathgartney Provincial Park? I certainly can't see that being in the Best Interests of All Islanders. Thankfully Sharon Labchuck and Dr. Sobey can and came forth on behalf of Islanders.

  • SG
    September 21, 2011 - 23:12

    (Ron MacKinley mentioned the project during the fall sitting of the legislature but provided few details other than to say it would improve the highway between Churchill and Borden-Carleton) Would Minister MacKinley's concern about improving the highway between Churchill and Borden-Carleton have anything to do with the Transfer Trucks in route to Borden to cross the Bridge? I expect they'd rather not have to deal with sharp turns and steep hills in route to Borden and/or the new parking lot built for Trucks when the Borden Hills construction took place.

  • Wilkins Micawber
    September 21, 2011 - 22:29

    Way to jump on the bandwagon, Sharon, but you are a bit late with your feigned indignation. This is September 21, but a letter on The Guardian editorial page on Sept. 17 mentioned the issue and praised Dr. Doug Sobey for his commentary on Sept. 16 blasting the idea of putting in the highway. In fact you did not even have the courtesy to mention Dr. Sobey in your interview with The Guardfian. If you have staff scouring the newspapers to find issues you should be indignant about, they sure fell down on the job. You are behind the eight ball on this one.

  • Save Strathgartney
    September 21, 2011 - 21:15

    I could not believe what I was reading here! A highway through beautiful Strathgartney Park? You have got to be kidding me. Thank you Ms. Labchuk for taking a stand. We have to preserve this wonderful area for the enjoyment of all Islanders.

  • Donnie
    September 21, 2011 - 20:19

    I agree with the tree hugger to the point where this is a waste of money. The money could be spent repairing existing roads, including those in smaller communites. As far as giving area a say in development, no way in hell, the people that show up at those meeting are the ones who are anti-development, anti-business, and against anyone making an honest buck. The silent majority stays home, and all the nuts come out of the woodwork to nit-pick, whine, and complain. Most don't even know enough to phrase an intelligent question, they're just there to be negative. I doubt the mink farm and shooting range had any significant negative impact on the value of the surrounding areas, since both projects were located in areas where the land value is on the lower end of the scale to begin with. Development is not something that should just be stopped everytime you can find one negative kook to complain about it, development creates jobs, puts money into the communities, and stimulates the long suffering Island economy, something our idiot politicians seem to be unable or unwilling to address.

    • Brian Johnston
      September 22, 2011 - 07:02

      If your "honest buck" contributes to an increase in cancer rates, lead pollution or the suffering of animals, I would hardly call it "honest." Economists talk in terms of the externalities of acts (see, I'm intelligent)--that is to say, the effect of an act on others. Shooting ranges, mink farms and highways through parks have high negative externalities in that they have an effect more detrimental on others than benefit to the constituencies that they purport to serve. Thus, they should be scrapped. I think, Donnie, you need to assess the impact of your "honest buck" on those of us who don't want to breath you pollution, who don't want to become stricken with environmental diseases--and who would like to be able to eat the food that comes from the ground without fear of exposure to toxins. The actions of people like you, contribute to undermining the PEI brand.

    • Agreed
      September 22, 2011 - 07:31

      Couldn't agree more. Well said.

    • Agreed
      September 22, 2011 - 08:28

      Couldn't agree more. Well said -with you that is Donnie.. Mr. johnston: see Sentence #3 in Donnies post. this is you he is referring to..

    • Brenda Armour
      September 22, 2011 - 09:01

      Mink Farms are concentration camps. Minks are deprived of everything natural to them.. Never to feel the earth under their feet or take their first swim. Breeding minks live in hell on earth only to die a terrible death. Dead minks are ground up and fed back to other minks. Vet care is never offered to hurt or sick minks. I'll be voting Green and rally to end mink and fox farming on PEI.

    • Brian Johnston
      September 22, 2011 - 10:18

      To "Agreed": I think you have missed my point. An "honest" buck isn't honest if it involves destroying the birthright and health of other people. In terms of economic theory, I'm a classical liberal (not Canadian Liberal Party)--that is, I'm in favour of open and free markets, and innovation. I just don't think it should be done by increasing instances of cancer, or by paving over the environment.

    September 21, 2011 - 20:08

    What a lovely Guardian Photo of Ms. Sharon Labchuk and such a beautiful setting.