Compromise reached to save Strathgartney Provincial Park

Wayne Thibodeau
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Premier Robert Ghiz's Year-End interview with The Guardian will be published Dec. 27 and will air on EastLink TV Dec. 28-Jan. 3. Check local listings.

A compromise has been reached that will prevent a little piece of paradise in rural Queens County from being paved.

In his annual year-end interview with The Guardian, Premier Robert Ghiz confirms a compromise has been reached to save Strathgartney Provincial Park. The premier would not get into details.

However, an announcement could come as early as today.

"As premier, I try to listen to as many people as I can," Ghiz said in the interview that will be published Dec. 27.

"I realize I have to make decisions sometimes that will disappoint people. But at the same time I also try to find compromises as much as possible and I think, on this issue, we were very fortunate to find a good compromise."

More than 2,700 people signed a petition to stop a proposed plan to build a highway through Strathgartney Provincial Park.

But dozens of others, including those representing road builders, said the project is badly needed and should proceed.

The proposal is part of a realignment plan for the TransCanada Highway. This section would allow a series of steep hills and sharp turns near Churchill to be straightened.

The province is also proposing changes to the TransCanada Highway in Crapaud and Tryon.

The projects are being funded through a pot of money called Atlantic Gateway, which has been set aside to improve transportation infrastructure in Atlantic Canada.

P.E.I. will receive about $8-million for upgrades to the TransCanada Highway. The Island province will match those dollars, meaning about $16-million will be spent.

The Churchill project will take two years to complete.

Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said in an earlier interview he was taking all public and professional feedback into consideration.

"There's been some great feedback on it and my staff is still in the process of reviewing all the feedback and proposals that the general public has submitted," he said in an interview published Nov. 8.

P.E.I. Green Party Leader Sharon Labchuk, who mounted a public campaign to save the park, is hoping any compromise suggested by the premier does not include any disturbance of the provincial park.

"I realize I have to make decisions sometimes that will disappoint people. But at the same time I also try to find compromises as much as possible and I think, on this issue, we were very fortunate to find a good compromise," Premier Robert Ghiz in his year-end interview with The Guardian

"The word itself, ‘compromise' doesn't sound very promising," Labchuk said.

Labchuk said she doesn't support any of the three planned upgrades of the TransCanada Highway.

"We don't have the luxury to spend our limited taxpayers' dollars on straightening roads," she said, adding the other proposals would involve paving precious farmland.

A Conversation with Premier Robert Ghiz, The Guardian's Year-End interview with the Prince Edward Island premier, will be published Dec. 27. It will also air on EastLink TV daily Dec. 28-Jan 3.

Ghiz said highway safety is of utmost importance. He said Islanders told him the road was unsafe and needed to be fixed but they also told him they wanted the road upgraded without going through a provincial park.

"We're going to listen to Islanders and try to take in their wishes while also making sure we're offering the best possible safety to Island travellers."



A Conversation with ...

A Conversation with Premier Robert Ghiz, The Guardian's Year-End interview with the P.E.I. premier, was conducted Friday, Dec. 16, in the cabinet room on the fifth floor of the Shaw Building along the Charlottetown waterfront.

- The Q & A with the premier will be published in The Guardian Dec. 27;

- The one-hour prime-time special will air on EastLink TV daily Dec. 28-Jan 3;

- On Dec. 28 the interview will air at 8:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m;

-It will also air in prime-time Thursday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 1 at 8:30 p.m., and Monday, Jan. 2 at 6 p.m.


Organizations: The Guardian, TransCanada Highway, P.E.I. Green Party Shaw Building The Q

Geographic location: Strathgartney Provincial Park, Prince Edward Island, Queens Crapaud Atlantic Canada Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Checker
    December 20, 2011 - 12:01

    What B!! We don't need or want a highway through the park. The argument about safety rings hollow too. How many acident have we had in that area that can directly attributed to the roadway ? Very few!! The major cause of accidents here is imapired driving. The real issue here id federal money for the party boys. Of curse the road builders would support it!!! They want more $$$$. Leave the park alone. It was entrusted to the province...then again what does this government know about trust?

  • reality check
    December 20, 2011 - 11:03

    Ah the asphalt politics of PEI. The only real public policy that this joke of a provincial government ever gets involved in. Pathetic really. That road has nothing wrong with it except for a few politicians unwilling to ban driveways that intersect it. That would resolve your safety concerns.

  • Quiet Observer
    December 20, 2011 - 10:24

    Well, the Road Building companies are getting their payback for the financial contributions to the Liberals for the last election. And now, they will dictate to government when this work will be done, which will be in the middle of tourist season so we can aggravate more tourists (like the road work in Charlottetown did the last two years) so less of them will come back in the future. If this work is to be done, make it a conditiomn that it does not begin until late August when tourism has died off for the summer.

  • Preaching to the Choir
    December 20, 2011 - 09:59

    I doubt very much that Sharon Labchuk's involvement has anything to do with the compromise. The 'people' have spoken...and whether all the Liberal bashers on here like it or not.....the Premier is listening.

  • Downtown Doug
    December 20, 2011 - 08:54

    Okay, rant coming! Atlantic Gateway is the East Coast version of that they had step in BC because of the increased trade with China. Fine. The provinces all have to get a little bit of money to help prepare for the "Gateway" going into NS most likely. Rules had to be set in place, fine. We don't have a problem getting our goods off of PEI because of the roads. We have a problem getting our goods off of PEI because of the cost of transportation! How about we lower the price on the bridge for the truckers rather than hiring a few construction firms to straighten roads. How about we invest in the production facilities on PEI that aren't Bio or Aerospace related? I don't care who is in office, don't ask our opinion and play this game with us as though you were actually going to listen to the voice of the people when you've already had your secret meetings and probably have already spent a lot of the money on the consultants and establishing new government departments to handle the cash flow! Please, this game is not new but you somehow think we haven't seen this dance before. It's all about spreading the wealth but to no advantage in the end. If nothing else, you'll destroy a natural resource.

  • frankly
    December 20, 2011 - 08:29

    There is an obvious lack of content in this article, no example or evidence of any compromise. Mr. Ghiz wants to wax on about his ability to compromise but gives nothing to support his assertion that he is compromising at all. We should wait for the details before any such article is published. How about some facts?

  • bob the builder
    December 20, 2011 - 07:59

    They should spend 1 million of that 16 million on creating more keep right except to pass or slower traffic keep right on all same direction two lane roads. In most cases, if someone is passing you on your right then your an idiot!

    • speed limit
      December 21, 2011 - 05:59

      i stay at or slightly above the speed limit -eg-75 in a 70 I do not need to go in the inside lane if i am travelling the speed limit to accomodate speeders -and that is not what the law expects anyone to do -- if i am doing the speed limit and you pass on the inside you are speeding --i hope you get caught but at least you are in front of me now and not tailgating which is also illegal --- DUMB DRIVERS MAKE THEIR OWN RULES INSTEAD OF KNOWING THE RULES OF THE ROAD

  • Sylvia
    December 20, 2011 - 07:28

    I signed the petition to stop highway through Strathgartney Park. I don't have any trust in Robert Ghiz and if everybody in P.E.I. signed petition and the roadbuilders were the only ones wanting the project done, I think he would be giving them what they want. I hope I'm wrong and that he has taken into consideration the wishes of all those people who signed petition. Of all the ideas this government has come up with, this one is the worst. Why not put the money into completing Cornwall bypass? That's what needs to be done.

  • Resident
    December 20, 2011 - 07:24

    I find this is the key to the whole conflict: "... dozens of others, including those representing road builders, said the project is badly needed..." Interesting, it's not the safety issue, it's the funding for road builders that propel the dispute... Vessey, can't you find another stretch of highway that will fit the funding guidelines?

  • Wiggins
    December 19, 2011 - 23:15

    Voter, are you as dumb as your comment suggests? You may not have voted Liberal, but Ghiz's policies affect you as much as someone who did vote for Ghiz.

    • Slip
      December 20, 2011 - 06:05

      Dumb people didn't and don't vote Liberal.

    • voter
      December 21, 2011 - 05:46

      now you are pretty youchy abot having voted liberal -- at least i know i am not to blame for helping form these policies ---if i vote against these idiots i get the right to gloat and remind those who did of their mistake in hopes they will not repeat it next election

  • Thaddeus Sholto
    December 19, 2011 - 23:11

    Sharon Labchuk has got to learn that compromise is part of being a politician. I remember attending a protest at Charlottetown city hall years ago when she and the other six people who were always protesting something were attacking the city's stand on lawn pesticides. It is a good issue and I agreed with what Labchuck and the others had to say, but all I could hear was Sharon yelling "no compromise, no comprise" and it really turned me off to what she had to say. She has some good issues, but always seems unwilling to listen to anyone who has a differing opinion. She is too strident and that turns off many people and sometimes her good ideas and policies are lost because people are saying "there goes Labchuk again spouting off." She is her own worst enemy. Compromise is not sign of weakness if your policies are strong and well thought out, but Labchuck never wants to listen nor hear from anyone who disagrees with her and that is her biggest failure. I find that unfortunate because she has some really good ideas, but she is not skilled in taking an idea or policy to fruition because of her stridency.t

    • Garry Gregory
      December 20, 2011 - 07:23

      While I agree with Sharon Labchuk on this issue, I also agree that she needs to compromise on some of these issues. I find it funny how she says the road straightening will pave "precious farmland", but she is the first to speak up against agricultural effects on the environment, ie pesticides, siltation, etc. You can't be for and against farming at the same time.

  • Sizzler BBQ
    December 19, 2011 - 22:37

    Any chance of fixing the Perimeter highway at the end where it meet Upton Rd? Solution; route all north bound traffic on to the Highway but have a link from the Bio Park onto the Hurry Rd(this would allow traffic to access the north end of the Upton Rd) The issue is traffic gets backed turning left at the end of the highway.

    • Not a chance
      December 20, 2011 - 06:51

      The reason I say "Not a chance" is that what you are proposing makes sense and needed to be done years ago. No federal $ there. Needs to be a federal highway as these clowns already blew our provincial budget.

  • Anne
    December 19, 2011 - 22:26

    I think the whole project is ridiculous. The highway isn't the problem it's the people behind the wheel that don't know how to navigate a road properly. Also, those who don't know that you drive according to the road conditions. Just because the speed limit may be 90 doesn't mean you drive 90 around a winding bend in the road or for that matter when the road is snow & ice covered. They will be taking a lot of character out of that stretch of road if they straighten it out.

  • Nan signee to the petition to save Strathgartney
    December 19, 2011 - 22:15

    This is so transparent. My word. I see that he is working to get out the sharp curves and hills - My question is what sharp curves and hills. This conversation should never have taken place. The PEI government is in a high deficit situation and all I see is more funding from Ottawa to provide for "Make Work" projects. If they want to do anything, do it with some of the other roads that could actually be helped by a paving and shoulders etc. Removing hills and straightening the odd curve is just going to make it easier for those that cannot drive to speed up when they do attempt to drive. Yikes. I am very glad they are not "Paving through Paradise" that belongs to the Cotton Trusts and had no business bringing that to the table in the first place. What is Robert Ghiz doing? (shaking my head!)

    • Garth Staples
      December 20, 2011 - 06:01


  • voter
    December 19, 2011 - 21:56

    am i ever glad i did not vote liberal !!!!! too bad more people didn't!!!!!!!!!!