The deadline for five Plan B landowners to reach a deal with the province or risk having their properties expropriated in the path of a new section of the Trans-Canada highway has now passed.
The provincial government acquired all but five of the properties in the path of the new Plan B section of the Trans-Canada Highway, between New Haven and Bonshaw.
The deadline ended at noon on Wednesday.
"We will start the initiation of the expropriation project now," said Leo Cramer for the Department of Transportation.
Some still want to negotiate more money, and some are fundamentally opposed to the $16-million construction project, Cramer said.
The rerouting involves 34 private properties, including 10 homes.
The last of the holdouts now face expropriation if they remain unable to negotiate a price.
If a deal isn't reached by the noon deadline today, the government can decide what the fair market value is for the land.
"Offers have been done by appraisals, done by an independent appraiser, so all offers were based on those appraisal reports," Cramer said.
Potato farmer Stirling Buchanan says he's losing farm land, and is trying to negotiate a land swap for government land.
Charles MacKinnon says he will have his farm cut in two by the new highway, and says though he's a holdout now, he will likely settle. Lomer MacDonald, who has a shale excavation pit in the direct parth of the new highway, wouldn't comment on the state of his negotiations.
Though Sharon Moore is not in the construction path, she says the proximity of the new highway and noise will ruin her bed and breakfast business. As a result, she says her family will shut it down for good in September.
"This plan is fiscally irresponsible, it's not a logical plan at all," Moore said. "We're prepared to continue to resist this plan until and if those bulldozers start in September."
Environmental assessment discussion
Meanwhile, a public meeting will be held Monday night to brief area residents on the environment assessment done on the Tran-Canada highway realignment project near Bonshaw.
"To have real consultation, you have to hear what people's thoughts are," said Steven Myers, the Opposition's house leader.
"That's not the way this government works and that's not the way they run these public meetings."
While the expropriation process has begun, there is still room for further negotiations, according to the department.
Landowners could also hire lawyers to fight government's takeover of their land.
"They can object, they have to file a claim with the minister's office within six months of the date of the expropriation," said Greg Wilson, with the environmental land management section of the environment department.
Wilson says the consultants will go over the details of their report with residents at the meeting.
"It covers everything from possible noise to impacts on plants and animals to everything regarding erosion control as well and how they are going to build it, and why are they going to build it and it goes on and on and on."
"There is 250 pages, so there is quite a bit of documentation to go over. The public, after that the 27th, has 10 days to submit comments back to our department and at the same time we are reviewing it and looking at it and finding any issues that we may have or questions and going back to the consultant," Wilson said.
After that the department will make a recommendation to Environment Minister Janice Sherry who will make a decision on whether the project goes ahead.
The public meeting takes place on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Dutch Inn in Cornwall.
Hal Perry, the opposition’s environment critic, is calling for a legislative committee to hold public hearings on the environmental assessment.
The plan is to begin construction in September.