Committee to recommend uses for land near Plan B

Ryan Ross
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Ruth DeLong walks her land in the Bonshaw Hills

They may have a new highway running through them, but the Bonshaw Hills are also going to get protection for some environmentally sensitive areas thanks to the formation of a new committee announced Wednesday.

Todd Dupuis with the Atlantic Salmon Federation is the committee's co-chair and said many people on the committee have a lot of experience with land protection.

"We're looking at a number of options, including land that is already in public hands and looking at ways to protect anything that we consider to be ecologically important," he said.

Transportation Minister Robert Vessey announced the committee members Wednesday in the legislature.

The committee is made up of government officials and representatives from different community groups, including the Island Nature Trust, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Bonshaw community council.

It has been tasked with making recommendations to the government about how to manage provincially owned land near the Trans-Canada Highway re-alignment known as Plan B.

That includes more than 400 acres the province already owned bought as part of the highway development.

By the time the realignment is finished the provincial government will have spent more than $4 million to buy the land it needs.

But the highway won't take up all the land the government is buying, which will leave a lot of green space available for other uses, such as hiking and cycling trails.

Dupuis said the committee is looking at the properties to see which ones are most important.

"We expect to have some recommendations to the minister (Vessey) sometime probably spring or early summer," he said.

As for what some of those recommendations could be, Dupuis said it's too early to say, although ecologically sensitive areas like old growth forests and wetlands would be at the top of the list.

"We'll be looking at ways to manage, to restore, to enhance or protect or all of the above," he said.

Vessey said the government already owned some of the land before the highway construction started.

He also said he was happy with the people who are involved with the committee.

"It's a great group of expertise and it will be a pleasure working with them," Vessey said.

Once the committee comes back with its recommendations there will be discussions within government about how to proceed, Vessey said.

"We'll go forward from there."

Fact box

Committee members:

Todd Dupuis - co-chair - Atlantic Salmon Federation

Brian Thompson - co-chair - Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department

Jackie Waddell -Island Nature Trust

Fiep de Bie - Island Nature Trust

Megan Harris - West River Watershed Group

Art Ortenburger - Bonshaw Community Council

Mark MacKenzie - New Haven Community Council

Daryl Guignon - UPEI

Diane Griffin - Nature Conservancy of Canada

Tim Banks - Nature Conservancy of Canada

Mike Connolly - Cycling P.E.I.

Kate McQuarrie - Agriculture and Forestry Department

John Jamieson - Bonshaw resident

Kim Horrelt - Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department

Shelley Cole-Arbing - Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department


Organizations: Nature Trust, Atlantic Salmon Federation, Trans-Canada Highway Bonshaw Community Council Tim Banks

Geographic location: Canada, Bonshaw, West River New Haven Community

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Recent comments

  • YepSure
    December 06, 2012 - 14:08

    Tim Banks! That's laughable. Less than half of these folks will actually be there to work for the protection of the environment and they'll have to work very hard to accomplish anything. Good luck to those of you whose intentions are actually in the best interest of the land and the people. You've got one hell of a battle ahead of you to actually get anything accomplished, but I'll give you credit for bothering to accept the invitation to join this committee. Vessey can do all the whitewashing he wants to ... we'll not forget how they butchered the land in Bonshaw all for 12secs, trucks that will be able to do 120km/hr the whole way to Cornwall and millions of dollars in patronage to all the pigs at the trough.

  • vic
    December 06, 2012 - 11:30

    TO RALPH, stop being so negative, - these people will get $ 129.- pr. meeting--- can't sneeze at that, - pretty soon we will have as many Islanders employed by the Ghiz 'committees' as there are in a fish plant, - great cottage industry --- but hey, you will have a blank check from the people with HST, so no stopping you--

  • Boy, This Great Government gets things done
    December 06, 2012 - 10:32

    Ah yes, with Kim Horrelt on the committee I'm sure everything will come up roses. The toxicity of the Plan B sequel - better to call it a "Spin" off show - smells all the way from Bonshaw to here in Summerside. If I could write what I'm really thinking I would be libel. Maybe it's best just not to care and fall into line like Mr. Vessey wanted from the beginning. Come to think of it, if we all look though the "don't care" lens, this government is really highly functional.

    • nobody can deny, it works . . .
      December 06, 2012 - 13:54

      Wish I had of found out about the "don't care" lens before. Mr' Ghiz is giving them away for Christmas, and I'm looking through them now. Know what, the HST is starting to sound hunky-dory. Also, the Holman Hotel is looking, well, Grand. How 'bout those PNP contracts - air tight. This is fantastic! Bootleg tourism contracts? Best way to spend tax-payer's money. Heck, who needs dialysis near you when you can just drive down the new Plan B road and get there and back 46 seconds faster than before the 30 million we spent? Who cares? And now we have new hiking and biking trails! So for Mr. Vessey: For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow (everybody now) for he'ssss a jollllly good felloooowww. Which nobody can deny! Oh yeah . . . wonder how I can get on that committee, it's starting to look darn good?

  • John W.A.Curtis
    December 06, 2012 - 09:11

    The Ghiz government could have used the money for Plan B to renovate the Queen Elizabeth Hospital

    • JOHN W.A.CURTIS you simply don't understand
      December 06, 2012 - 17:41

      JOHN W.A.CURTIS you simply don't understand. Using Plan B tax dollars for health just doesn't follow the rules. Who says it doesn't follow the rules? Well, our politicians. Who makes the rules? Well, our politicians. Who tells our politicians what the rules should be? Well, all evidence shows our politicians tell each other what the rules should be. Where do the people fit in all this rule making? Now that's a very good question. Maybe that's what they mean by being planb'd?

  • dupont
    December 06, 2012 - 08:41

    Just a question, is Ghiz counting 'committee' in stead of sheep when he can't get to sleep. Lord knows they seem to breed at his direction---

  • ralph
    December 06, 2012 - 08:39

    Got to say :'Ghiz is an able lad------opponents to plan be are now eating out of his hand, ----- and the HST tax will roll in next year to pay for it all.

  • rick
    December 06, 2012 - 08:31

    I am missing Gary Scheider on this list, --- I hope it means he refused to be party to the white washing of plan B

  • opra
    December 06, 2012 - 08:20

    More disgust --- why did the Gov., buy all that land that was not needed, --- Encounter Creek was bought lock stock and barrel, - they could have expropriated what was needed instead of making the man rich. - Ghiz is good though, -- invited the opponents to 'help out' --- worse yet, they accepted, what a bunch of toadies, --well I and my opinions can't be bought, - plan B was a waste--- and now we can pay HST for this foolishness. Maybe Ghiz will form a committee on the HST to white wash that too, -.

    • OPRA's question must be answered
      December 06, 2012 - 09:05

      Until OPRA's question is answered, this whole project will remain as toxic as Plan B. Why was the whole property purchased, as opposed to other "less connected" properties, where sections were purchased? If somebody tell me it was because it was in the plan from the beginning to create hiking and cycling trails I'm going to cry in my own puke.

  • paul
    December 06, 2012 - 08:16

    You got to get up early in the morning to beat Ghiz, --- then again apparently (poll) most people don't want to. Well, at least Mike Redmond is not on the committee----that would have been the frosting on the cake--the rest is bad enough

  • mac
    December 06, 2012 - 08:13

    So much for beliefs and principles, ---I thought most of these people were against plan B , but when the Gov. beckons, they fall in line. Refusing to serve and taking a stand would have garnered respect, but this buckling is really a sad note on a large effort to stop this highway. What ever the Gov. decides to do eventually, cannot be questioned by you now, --- you did it for them.--- I am sorry to see the mirror of politicians in you all. PS, - noticed quote from Vessey:There will be discusssions WITHIN government on how to proceed.

  • frida
    December 06, 2012 - 08:03

    I want to thank this committee for playing into the Gov.'s hands. Well done, - that you have lost your credibility, I guess, is just collatoral damage. With the exception of the businessman and the other Nature Conservancy member on the committee, I am surprised, disillusionedand sadened by teh rest of you..

  • flounder
    December 06, 2012 - 07:58

    Kudos to Ghiz, ---now there is a leader, --- plowing ahead with a project 45% of the people don't want, and then luring many of the opponents on to a committee to oversee the land that Gov. should not have bought and messed around with in the first place. Appears these people are no more principled than the Gov. Hallejuja - and good night

  • alfredd
    December 06, 2012 - 07:53


  • Islanders should be proud.
    December 06, 2012 - 06:26

    Lucky Islanders don't have a debt or deficit. Also we're very fortunate our health care, education and seniors care is all perfect. Why? Vessey is bound and determined to borrow more millions to spend on pavement in the DeSable area next year. Not to worry though, the whole process will be transparant and before he starts anything he'll coinsult with all the residents. Good for him, Islanders should be proud.

  • Nor easter
    December 06, 2012 - 01:22

    Nice to see the Island is well represented , I'm sure not the whole island. You even have someone whom took the PEIFA to the cleaners a few years ago, what a stand up guy John is.