© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Ruth DeLong walks her land in the Bonshaw Hills
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."
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