Archive for April, 2007

Chester Says, “It’s Spring! Come and Frolic!

April 20, 2007

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Chester invites all his friends, old and new, to meet him this weekend at the Upton Farm for a run and a play in the spring sunshine.

Photo Credit: Mel Gallant

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What’s New Today

April 19, 2007

*The website has been updated with the “good news” story that the PEI Legislature supported a motion tabled by Liberal MLA Ron McKinley to ask the Government of Canada to put an 18-month moratorium on development of the Upton Farmlands. HOWEVER, folks, this is ONLY a moratorium, not a final decision to save the land as greenspace. Please keep up your support. Please continue to send letters to politicians and the media; to spread the word to your friends and neighbours; and ask your local candidates running in the provincial election where he or she stands on the issue.

PLEASE SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION

April 19, 2007

To all our supporters:

Please take a minute to add your name to our on-line petition, even if you have already signed the paper petition that is being circulated by our group.

 http://www.petitiononline.com/Upton/petition.html

Public pressure will make a difference.

“The future depends on what we do in the present.”

                                                                    ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Letter from Mayor Lee to PM Stephen Harper

April 18, 2007

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On April 11, 2007 Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee (above) sent the following letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper; the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister Responsible for Canada Lands Company; and Mr. Robert Howald, President of Canada Lands Company. Is this what led to CLC Vice-President Gordon McIvor’s decision to “hold off” on development of the Upton Farmlands as reported in today’s Guardian? We are certain it was a major factor and thank Mayor Lee for his efforts. You can thank him, too, at mayor@city.charlottetown.pe.ca

Mayor Lee’s letter:

“Gentlemen:

I am writing in regards to a property in the City of Charlottetown which is currently owned by Canada Lands Company. This property is known as the Upton Farm. The land is currently vacant and Canada Lands have applied for development permits from the City for redevelopment of the site. The previous City Council had approved a developments scheme and legally the City is obligated to issue building permits should Canada Lands ask for same.

The purpose of this letter is to advise you that the new City Council which took office in January of 2007 have indicated their desire to see this property remain an open green public space. The Council is strongly supported by a large group of residents here in Charlottetown who have formed an organization to ensure this area is maintained as a green space within our City.

On April 10th, 2007 City Council passed the following resolution:

‘RESOLVED THAT THE City of Charlottetown request the Canada Lands Company to withdraw their application for development of the lands known as Upton Farms.’

I also want to advise you that the position taken by this Council is supported by several members of the Legislature for the Province of Prince Edward Island as well as Mr. Tom DeBlois, the recently nominated candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada here in the Federal District of Charlottetown.

In closing, I would ask for your assistance in ensuring that the resolution passed by City Council on April 10th is respected and we certainly look forward to discussing this matter in much further detail with yourselves or representatives of the Canada Lands Company.

Thanking you in advance for your anticipated cooperation on this important matter.

Yours truly,

Clifford J. Lee, MAYOR

c.c. Members of Charlottetown City Council, Hon. Peter MacKay, Mr. Tom DeBlois, Mr. Wayne Collins MLA, Mr. Wes MacAleer MLA

CLC Says Development on Hold – For Now

April 17, 2007

According the The Guardian newspaper, the Canada Lands Company will hold off development of the Upton Farm until they receive a letter from the City of Charlottetown clarifying its position. The story by reporter Dave Stewart:

Upton Farm Development Up In Air

It isn’t exactly the moratorium some are looking for but Canada Lands Company has agreed to hold off on developing the Upton Farm — for now.

Gordon McIvor, vice-president of CLC, has told The Guardian that they want to see what the City of Charlottetown wants to do.

Last week, city council unanimously (Couns. Mitchell Tweel and Peter McCloskey were absent) passed a resolution asking CLC to withdraw its application to develop Upton Farms.

Council approved that application last August.

Now, Canada Lands is expecting a letter from the city.

“What they’ve asked us to do is to hold off,’ McIvor said. “(The city) is going to send us a letter clarifying their position in more detail and they’ve said ‘when you get that letter, take the time to read it and consider it, then we will talk’.

“So, that is what we’re waiting for now.’

McIvor said although plans were to start this spring, the shovels weren’t exactly going in the ground anytime soon, especially considering the weather.

He said Canada Lands finds the city’s new position perplexing.

“It kind of makes you wonder, why do processes get put in place if people don’t have intention of respecting them once they’re completed.’

Mayor Clifford Lee said the city gave all the necessary approvals last year and can’t force Canada Lands to stop. That’s why last week’s resolution asks CLC to withdraw its application and doesn’t rescind council’s original approval.

“The reason why we wouldn’t rescind last year’s resolution because that puts the city in a liable situation,’’ Lee said. “You cannot approve something through the planning process and then, six months later, withdraw that approval.

“If Canada Lands continues to seek development permits then the city has no choice but to issue those permits.’’

The mayor has sent letters to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada Lands and the federal minister responsible for Canada Lands, all asking government to withdraw the application.

Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy, Conservative candidate Tom DeBlois, along with city MLAs have also called on a stop to development.

Lee stopped short of saying council erred in approving the development last year but did say he thought the decision was premature. Council voted 8-2 last August in favour of the development, with Tweel and Coun. Cecil Villard opposed.

“I felt from the start that it was a decision that was probably premature. I think there is a major issue in that area in regards to traffic and the amount of traffic that this type of development is going to generate.’’

McIvor said Canada Lands encountered the same problem with one of its developments in Calgary.

“This is not unheard of where there is a great deal of suspicion and cold feet,’’ McIvor said. “We had a very good public consultation process, in spite of what some people have said. It was thorough.’’

Premier Pat Binns Signs Petition

April 14, 2007

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PEI Premier Pat Binns stopped by our booth on his way into the Charlottetown Farmers Market today and added his signature to our petition to save the Upton Farms. Thank you for your support, Mr. Premier!

Upton Farm on CBC Compass – April 14

April 14, 2007

Kirsten Connor of the Upton Farm Preservation Network and City Councillor Cecil Villard were interviewed on the CBC supper hour news show Compass on April 14.

Message from Tom DeBlois

April 14, 2007

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Keep Upton Park Green

As I go door to door in your neighbourhood, I hear a lot of concern over plans to sell and develop the Upton Farm property and what that decision means for our community and our city.

We have a golden opportunity to preserve Upton Farm as important green space and that is the position I will support as your Member of Parliament.

Upton Farm belongs to the people of Canada and should be utilized in a manner that benefits as many people as possible. The previous federal government passed this land to the Canada Lands Company in 2001 as a way to avoid accountability for the decisions being made. Frankly, it is the responsibility of a Member of Parliament to involve the community in such important issues and take a stand.

Once green space is lost it cannot be recovered. While housing is important, such development should not be the only focus as we strive to build a city that will be of pride to our children.

As a business person, I know the value of development but I also know the value of maintaining important resources such as parks and viewscapes. Upton Farm is the area you first see when you enter the city. It encompasses over a mile of our coastline and there is a rich heritage associated with this property. There is tremendous potential to preserve it in a manner that benefits all of us.

I have been actively supporting this issue since last fall and have signed the online petition. I support efforts to preserve the land; I will proudly carry the petition to Ottawa and fight for preservation of Upton Farm.

For further information contact:

Tom DeBlois, Candidate for the

Conservative Party of Canada

(902) 628-2319

tomdeblois@telecom.com

“Insufficient citizen consultations:” MP Murphy

April 12, 2007

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Thank you, MP Murphy! 

The following is the the text of two letters released today from Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy calling for an 18-month moratorium of the development of Upton Farm.

The first is a general press release; the second is a letter to the Hon. Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister responsible for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). 

April 11, 2007

MP Shawn Murphy Calls For Moratorium On Upton Farm

MP Shawn Murphy today announced today that he has written the Minister of Transport, Lawrence Cannon and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter MacKay concerning the future of the Upton Farm property.

“During the past six months, I have been contacted by many residents of Charlottetown urging me to do whatever I can to keep the area “green” to be used and enjoyed by future generations”, said Murphy.

The Canada Lands Company has held these lands for approximately six years, and are now in the process of developing the property for mixed residential use.

“The general sentiment is that insufficient citizen consultations have taken place, and the wishes of the community are not being taken into consideration in the development of the property,” concluded Murphy.

MP Murphy is calling for a moratorium on the development of Upton Farm for a period of 18 months.

“I am suggesting to the Ministers that a task force be struck immediately involving the Federal Government, the Government of Prince Edward Island and the City of Charlottetown together with representatives of the community to develop a strategy for the development and future use of the property”, said Murphy.

Upton Farm property is a 248-acre parcel of vacant land in the City of Charlottetown formerly owned by the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and now owned by the Canada Lands Company.

LETTER TO THE HON. PETER MACKAY
April 11, 2007

The Hon. Peter Gordon MacKay, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Foreign Affairs
Lester B. Pearson Building, Tower “A”
10th Floor, 125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2

Dear Minister MacKay,

I am writing today concerning the Upon Farm property, being a 248-acre parcel of vacant land in the City of Charlottetown now owned by Canada Lands Company (CLC), and previously owned by the Government of Canada in right of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

CLC has held these lands for approximately six years, and are now in the process of developing the property for mixed residential uses.

During the past six months, I have been contacted by many residents of Charlottetown urging me to do whatever I can to keep the area “green” to be used and enjoyed by future generations.

The general sentiment is that insufficient citizen consultations have taken place, and the wishes of the community are not being taken into consideration in the development of this particular project.

Given the size and significance of this project, I am urging that you place a moratorium on this project for a period of 18 months. I am suggesting that a task force be struck immediately involving the Federal Government, the Government of Prince Edward Island, and the City of Charlottetown and representatives from the community to come forward with a strategy for the future development and use of the property.

I am confident that you will agree with me on the importance of this issue, and invoke this 18-month moratorium.

Yours very truly,

Shawn Murphy, MP
Charlottetown

UNANIMOUS! CLC Asked to Withdraw Application

April 10, 2007

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 During the April 10th council meeting, on a motion brought forward by Councillor Cecil Villard (right), Charlottetown City Council voted unanimously to ask Canada Lands Company to withdraw its application for the development of the Upton Farmlands. 

 Mayor Clifford Lee (left) said this action will be followed up by a letter to CLC, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Transportation & Infrastructure Minister Lawrence Cannon, who represents the Department responsible for CLC. 

Councillor Villard said the “best possible outcome” would be for CLC to deed the Upton Farmlands over to the City.

Last August, the majority of councillors voted to give CLC permission to develop Upton Farm. Tonight, they had the courage to say to CLC, “Let’s step back. Let’s look again. Is housing really the best use for this land?”

This, folks, is a significant step forward in our journey to save this land for greenspace. It is a time to take pride in all the hard work we have done to raise awareness and share the vision of a gateway to Charlottetown, a Victoria Park for the future, instead of just another housing development. It is a time to appreciate, again, all those who have signed the petition and written to their political representatives, for without the involvement of those many, many citizens this initiative would surely be dead in the water.

BUT 

 We have several more stairs to climb before this land is truly protected for future generations of Islanders. Please continue to give your support by writing letters to the newspaper, buying a license plate and talking to your friends and neighbours.

As well, please take a minute to e-mail every member of City Council and thank them for taking this step. 

Clifford J. Lee ( Mayor)
mayor@city.charlottetown.pe.ca

Kim Devine – Ward 1 (Queens Square)

stewart@isn.net

Daniel (Danny) J. Redmond – Ward 2 (Belvedere)
dannyred178@yahoo.com

Rob Lantz – Ward 3 (Brighton)
rob@ward3brighton.ca

Mitchell G. Tweel – Ward 4 (St. Avard’s)
councillor@city.charlottetown.pe.ca

Sterling MacFadyen (Deputy Mayor) – Ward 5 (Spring Park)
stuwardfive@yahoo.com

David MacDonald – Ward 6 (Mount Edward)
DavidW.MacDonald@vac-acc.gc.ca

Cecil F. Villard – Ward 7 (Beach Grove)
councillor@city.charlottetown.pe.ca

Peter F. McCloskey – Ward 8 (Highfield)petermccloskey@pei.sympatico.ca

Melissa Hilton – Ward 9 (Stonepark)
mjh7@hotmail.com

Terence H. Bernard – Ward 10 (Falconwood)
bernardst@eastlink.ca