© Guardian illustration by Paul Pettipas
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.