June 4, 2007

PEI finalizes property exchange deal to protect Basin Head lands

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI-A property exchange agreement between the Prince Edward Island government and two private landowner families will ensure that environmentally sensitive lands at Basin Head will remain available to the public. Transportation and Public Works Minister Gail Shea said the province will assume ownership of 142 acres of environmentally sensitive and economically important land adjacent to the Basin Head Wharf, in exchange for 28 acres of land from elsewhere within the provincial land inventory. The province will form a partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) to help facilitate the transaction. The Basin Head property includes ten acres of beach and 132 acres of environmentally sensitive grounds behind the dunes. Portions of the surrounding area are currently designated under the Natural Areas Protection Act, as is a large portion of the newly acquired land. Basin Head was designated as a Marine Protected Area by the federal government in 2005, in recognition of its rich and diverse habitat. In addition, the NCC's ecoregional plan has singled out a large portion of PEI's coastal systems, particularly coastal wetland and dunes, as needing protection. Basin Head was specifically named among the priority areas in Prince Edward Island in need of protection. "The Nature Conservancy of Canada is very excited about this partnership opportunity since the securement of this property, which forms the southernmost tip of the Basin Head Dune, will help protect one of the best examples of geological formation and vegetation dune succession on Prince Edwards Island," said John Foley of the NCC.

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