'When are payments coming?': Landowner in path of Cornwall bypass wants answers from province

Ellen Jones is asking the province for answers, and quickly. The Cornwall business owner has been told her equestrian centre lies directly in the path of the soon-to-be built Cornwall bypass highway.

Horses to be moved, barn and home to be demolished

Ellen Jones wants to know when the province will begin to negotiate the expropriation of her land to make way for the Cornwall bypass. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Ellen Jones is asking the province for answers, and quickly.

The Cornwall business owner has been told her equestrian centre lies directly in the path of the soon-to-be built Cornwall bypass highway.

"We have a business here, a home, land, horses and livestock," said Jones. "So we have to figure out what our next steps are moving forward."

Jones runs the Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals on a 30-hectare farm on Cornwall Road. The custom built three-storey home and attached horse barn were designed by her father, an architect. Sixteen horses, including two blind horses, are currently stabled at the facility.

She says she's been told the province will negotiate a price and purchase the property.

She wants to know when.

Ellen Jones' barn and home lie directly in the path of the Cornwall bypass. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"When are payments coming?  When are property acquisitions going to happen?" asked Jones. "The frustration is, the governments haven't put pen to paper as far as we know."

Negotiations to begin next year

Paula Biggar, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy, said negotiations for property will begin next year and land purchases will be part of next year's budget.

Biggar said the province hasn't yet received approval for federal funding for the second phase of the project. The province will apply for that funding in the next few weeks, according to Biggar.

The minister said she is confident the project will go ahead. "We don't expect an issue with having approval from the federal government."

She said meetings with affected landowners are just starting to get underway. Following those meetings, the department will do an assessment of the property.

"If they don't particularly want to have our assessment we'll go out and have an independent assessment of the value of that land, and we'll come back and we'll negotiate with them," she said.

"We'll arrive at a price plus 10 per cent. If they don't agree on that particular assessment, again, they can get their own assessment."

Jones says time is running short

Jones hopes to have a new property purchased in time to start building new barns and buildings next spring.

She hopes to continue operating at her present location until construction of the bypass makes that impossible.

Her goal is to be open for business in her new location next September.

She says that gets harder with each day that passes without resolution from the province.