PEI

Protected land swap needed to straighten highway at Tryon

The P.E.I. Department of Transportation wants to remove a curve on the Trans-Canada Highway in North Tryon, but will need to pave over protected land to do it.

Transportation Department proposing land swap for larger property nearby

Work began on straightening the curves in the Trans-Canada Highway at Tryon last summer. (Laura Meader/CBC)

The P.E.I. Department of Transportation wants to remove a curve on the Trans-Canada Highway in North Tryon, but will need to pave over protected land to do it.

It's a matter of balancing the ecological merits of the property and the public safety issues- Kate MacQuarrie

The property includes a one-hectare stand of white spruce and 0.6 hectares of wetland.

The department is proposing a land swap to environment officials. A larger property nearby would be designated as a natural area, and the current protected area would be used for the highway.

Kate MacQuarrie, director of forests, fish and wildlife for the province, identifies with people concerned about the loss of the protected land.

"That's a really important question because we do have so little protected area on Prince Edward Island," said MacQuarrie.

"It's a matter of balancing the ecological merits of the property and the public safety issues with respect to this highway, and in this case the public safety is being improved and the protected area is being improved as well with the addition of this bigger and better land."

The Transportation Department says the curve in the highway does not meet current safety standards.

The province held a public meeting in the area earlier this week, and MacQuarrie said most people seemed to support the land swap proposal.

The province straightened a curve on a nearby section of road last summer. That operation involved moving a historic church.

For mobile device users: Is a protected land swap to straighten the Trans-Canada Highway a good idea?

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