Put people, environment first

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor:

Many Islanders said no sometime ago to proposed Plan A through Strathgartney Park. Bravo! Now it is time for all citizens concerned about Plan B impacts in New Haven-Bonshaw area to say no, once again.

One good reason to say no to this ill-conceived and costly project is the lack of any consultation with Islanders affected by Plan B. In a democracy, public hearings in communities affected make sense to me. Concerns by many people need to be heard and addressed honestly.

It is not enough for the P.E.I. government to rely primarily on technical advice from engineers and others in the Transportation Department in making decisions for such projects to go ahead. We all know that the realignment of the TCH is possible from an engineering perspective. But the very real input and concerns of citizens expressed in many venues  — i.e letters to the editor — have not been heard or addressed so far by the ministers involved. When will public hearings begin in the affected communities? Such citizens need not be bulldozed into submission. Transportation Minister Robert Vessey and Environment Minister Janice Sherry must not act like groundhogs and hide from these communities. Let's eat humble pie, swallow your pride, act democratically soon and hold public hearings. Listen to the grassroots Islanders who have legitimate problems that need to be solved before this project can receive their support.

There is no evidence in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report that trade and tourism will benefit from realigning the TCH. Truckers may only save a few minutes in getting to the Confederation Bridge or to Charlottetown from the bridge from studies done for the EIA report. Do tourists really care for a high-speed road from New Haven-Bonshaw? I say no. Many visitors like the slower pace of life on the Island. They find it all so relaxing to get away from high-speed highways.

The real questions for me are: can P.E.I. afford the costs of more than $20 million for Plan B without worthwhile consultation with Island communities? Who really benefits? Who really pays?

George Kelly,

Blooming Point

Organizations: Transportation Department

Geographic location: New Haven-Bonshaw, P.E.I., Strathgartney Park Charlottetown

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