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Ekistics hears from public on future of Upton Farm
The ball is rolling in a process ultimately aimed at protecting and enhancing a 137-acre parcel of green space in Charlottetown’s north end.
About 70 individuals, including those from the Upton Farm Land Trust, Ekistics Plannig and Design, and members of the public, met last night for an input session on the farm land at West Royalty Community Centre.
The Upton Farm Trust has been working towards getting the area recognized with the Natural Areas Protection Act (NAPA), which requires a master plan.
Jacob Ritchie, an urban planner with Ekistics, said the input session was in some ways starting from scratch towards a master plan.
However, he also said previous input collected through an online survey, which saw more than 100 individuals complete, and discussions on the site would also be included while drafting the plan.
“The opportunity exists here to create a park,” he said. “But people have already thought about this. When I say start from scratch, I mean in a hundred years this ten year process they’ve been working on will seem like a single point in time.
“We’re part of that process right now.”
The meeting saw members split into groups of about eight.
Ritchie said individuals should think about what they want the land to look like in 100 years, as well as specific details to be included in the master plan.
“We’ve seen the (passion) already. We want to focus on what this open and natural space in Charlottetown can be not just for today… we’re talking about 100 years of Upton Farmlands,” he said. “We recognize it’s a great opportunity for the city of Charlottetown.”
Many of the suggestions followed similar themes of planting trees to restore the Acadian forest, an off-leash area for dogs and enhancing and linking current trails.
Kirsten Connor, chairperson of the Upton Farm Trust, said she saw the meeting as going well and that many are like-minded in what they want for the future of the area.
She said one major issue that has to be addressed is a better parking area for individuals going to the farmland.
Ritchie also went through a list of NAPA restrictions, which largely restricts any type of infrastucture on the site.
“There is limits on what can and can’t be done,” he said. “What we wanted to limit was people proposing things that we already know are in contravention with NAPA.”
Ritchie said Ekistics would be taking the suggestions from Thursday’s meeting into the next stage of drafting a plan.
- 13 Jun 2013
- The Guardian, Charlottetown
- BY DAVE STEWART
It is supposed to tell us how we can best utilize the property with regards to trails and planting and things like that. Kirsten Connor
A lot of green space in Charlottetown is now in the hands of a Dartmouth consulting firm.
City council has accepted the bid from Ekistics Planning and Design to carry out the master plan for Upton Farmlands. The same firm is formulating a master plan for Victoria Park.
It’s going to cost $ 42,820 plus HST to come up with that master plan but the money isn’t coming out of the city’s budget. The funds are coming from the provincial secretariat for infrastructure under the Capacity Building Fund.
“It is supposed to tell us how we can best utilize the property with regards to trails and planting and things like that,’’ said Kirsten Connor, chair of the Upton Farm Trust. “The board hasn’t sat down with ( Ekistics) yet to go over that.’’
Public meetings haven’t been announced yet but Ekistics tends to go to the public to see what its vision is before drafting a final document.
“We look forward to having a plan because it’s very hard for the board to move forward without a specific plan.’’
Connor said land will be allocated within the 137acre farm for an off- leash dog park, something that doesn’t appear to be part of Victoria Park’s future.
“There will be an allocation for the dog owners to have a place to walk their dogs off leash. That’s been our mandate from the beginning.’’
One problem continues to exist. That’s getting the land designated under the Natural Areas Protection Act ( NAPA), which Connor says is an integral part of establishing the green space and a government requirement as well.
Connor said after much planning and work on a NAPA application, it was submitted in June 2012.
Although the trust was never officially notified, Connor said the group understood the application and plan encountered no reservations with the NAPA committee. It was approved and forwarded to cabinet, but the group is still waiting.
The province has said the plan that was submitted was conceptual rather than comprehensive. While it outlined what it wanted to do on the property, it has to be specifically laid out.
Connor said their lawyer is currently looking into the matter.
Thanks Dave for the beautiful photos. They really capture the beauty of this special place.
Photo Credit: Dave Campbell
Photo Credit: Dave Campbell
We are currently soliciting Proposals for a Master Plan of the Upton Farmlands property. For more information, please see the attached documents. Requests for Proposal(s) have already been sent out.