By JESSE-ANN HENNESSEY
Oct. 17, 2012
A group of Plan B protesters gathered at the legislature Oct. 15 to discuss using a complaint management system to stall the highway realignment.
They have the right to keep a close eye on the construction work known as Plan B and that’s exactly what they are going to do, said a group opposed to the work.
The system is a way for the public to voice concerns and make sure they are being considered.
Peter Bevan-Baker, P.E.I.’s Green Party leader, talked about using the system when he spoke to the crowd.
“I look on today as a great day because the fight for our right to be heard as citizens is going to continue.”
The government has been hiding the complaint system from the public, he said.
“Our government has obviously failed to tell us that we have a right to observe, monitor, assess, and report what is going on on the construction site.”
Instead of acting on the public’s concerns in a timely matter, the government got the RCMP to remove them, attacking their rights, said Baker.
“Our government called the RCMP to remove the public and therefore prevent them from even having a possibility to document and witness whether activities on the construction site are indeed in compliance with the environmental conditions.”
Protesters can make sure the environment is protected and even help stop Plan B if it doesn’t meet the environmental conditions, he said.
“We can all contribute to make sure that the government is committed to protect the environment during construction of Plan B.”
Protester Chris Ortenburger said the complaint system lets the public be heard.
“We, as the public, are entitled to be heard, to make claims, to issue complaints, and visit every stage of the construction activity.”
The complaint system needs to be taken advantage of, Ortenburger said.
“Despite are loathing for Plan B, we now have at least a small opportunity to express are concerns and commit to ensuring that government is committed to protecting the environment.”
Jackie Waddell, executive director of Island Nature Trust, made it clear where she and Island Nature Trust stand when it comes to Plan B.
“I and Island Nature Trust are very much against Plan B and would like to see the project stopped immediately.”
The ultimate goal is to get Plan B stopped and the complaint system is important, Waddell said.
“This opportunity to have public input from groups and from individuals is very important.”
The way the government has hidden the system from the public is terrible, Waddell said.
“The lack of advertisement or awareness by the provincial government to bring this to light is shameful and we must be able to act on this.”