Trans-Canada properties to cost more than $3.8M

Opposition parties on P.E.I. are again questioning the cost of realigning the Trans-Canada Highway west of Charlottetown, following the release of information detailing the cost of buying the required properties.

Some transactions still to be negotiated

Robert Crawford received $545,000 for his house and property, which are in the path of the new Trans-Canada Highway. (CBC)

Opposition parties on P.E.I. are again questioning the cost of realigning the Trans-Canada Highway west of Charlottetown, following the release of information detailing the cost of buying the required properties.

So far the government has spent $3.8 million to buy 25 properties, and deals have not yet closed on all the properties required. It has budgeted $4 million over two years for the purchases, which is over and above the $16 million construction cost that it is sharing evenly with the federal government.

Progressive Conservative finance critic Steven Myers said the information, released after a request from CBC News and the Guardian newspaper, shows just how expensive the project has become.

"There's a variety of arguments against this project, and certainly one of them was financial," said Myers.

"When you look at the money that's being spent on this versus where that money could be put you can see where people are coming from."

The list shows prices ranging from as a low as $500 for about 160 square metres, to more than $660,000 to buy the former Encounter Creek land from a company called AH Anderson and Company.

Other deals already completed include

  • Robert Crawford: house and seven hectares of forest land for $545,000.
  • Ernest Crosby: 26 hectare farm $243,000.

A number of bungalows have been destroyed, removed, or are awaiting disposal.

Leo Creamer, manager of provincial lands, said the process for acquiring the land has been fair.

Several bungalows have been moved or destroyed. (CBC)

"We negotiated with everybody in good faith; we tried to treat everybody fairly," said Creamer.

"Government showed that they were willing to expropriate three properties where we felt the asking prices were unreasonable."

NDP Leader Mike Redmond believes property purchases could take the province over budget.

"If we start hitting 12 to 16 million dollars for a road, at a time when this government is so far in debt, is that really a good use of public funds?" said Redmond.

But Creamer said the costs have been reasonable.

"Any major project, the property costs is always a major factor in it," he said.

"We do do appraisals and we negotiate based on those appraisals. We feel we've done a very good job on the project."

Of the 25 properties on the list three are being expropriated, and a judge will decide a final price. Government is still negotiating with seven other property owners, so the final price will be quite a bit more than the current $3.8 million the government has already paid out.

Corrections

  • The $4 million budgeted by the province for property is in addition to the $16 million construction cost, which is shared evenly with the federal government.
    Nov 27, 2012 1:30 PM AT