Controversial Plan B TCH reroute gets green light
Environment minister made announcement Monday
The P.E.I. government has given the controversial "Plan B" Trans-Canada Highway project the green light.
Environment minister Janice Sherry announced the decision Monday.
The project to realign a portion of the Trans-Canada Highway between New Haven and Bonshaw has been the centre of controversy for months.
"When I went through the process with my staff, page by page and line by line — the issue of course was the environmental impact — and I feel quite comfortable today that all of the mitigations that have been put in place," said Sherry. "I feel good that we've taken a lot of extra precautions."
Those extra precautions include hiring four full-time people to monitor the project who have the authority to shut it down if they feel there are any environmental risks. This is the first project of its kind to have this condition imposed.
The minister has imposed 11 conditions to mitigate any potential environmental damage from this construction project, focusing on potential sediment run-off into the four water courses the project runs across.
One of those conditions includes putting erosion control measures in place, designed to withstand a one in 25 year rainfall.
Heavy rainfall is a likely occurrence considering Charlottetown broke the previous record amount of monthly rainfall in September.
Tony Reddin, part of an anti-Plan B group, said those opposed to the project are disappointed but not surprised.
"The word from the government, especially Minister Vessey was that this was a done deal, and I mean that wasn't proper. It was supposed to have public consultation and a proper environmental impact process," said Reddin.
Opposition Leader Olive Crane said there will be a political price to pay.
"Today is a sad day in the democracy," said Crane. "The Ghiz government will be held responsible, today and forever on this decision."
Sherry said she is confident to proper precautions have been taken with respect to the project.
"We're very optimistic we've done the due diligence to ensure these issues are going to be well watched, well protected, well run," she said.
Though the order to go ahead with the project was signed on Monday afternoon, it's not known when the project will actually start.
Transportation Minister Rob Vessey's office said the minister wants to review the decision before making any comment.