Archive for May, 2007

Gone But Not Forgotten: Thanks for Your Vision!

May 31, 2007

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(L – R: Former MLAs Wes MacAleer & Wayne Collins, former Premier Pat Binns, former MLA Jamie Ballem)

While support was received from some MLAs who will form the new provincial government, at this time the Upton Farm Preservation Network would like to express a formal, profound and heartfelt thank you to Messrs. Jamie Ballem, Wes MacAleer, Wayne Collins and Pat Binns.

Were it not for their vision and help, the bulldozers would be roaring up and down Beach Grove and Maypoint Roads this summer and Canada Lands would have begun to “pave paradise to put up a parking lot.”*

Mr. Ballem was the first person in politics who supported the idea of keeping the land green. He certainly lived up to his title of Minister of the Environment, and helped diligently along the way as ‘the Network’ formed and grew.

Mr. MacAleer, as the conscientious representative of the people of his riding that he was, accepted an invitation to a ‘Network’ meeting. He, in turn, organized and invited people to a Town Hall Meeting hosted by himself and Wayne Collins, where people could express their concerns, which indeed they did. Both men continued to work with us and others, attending meetings and bringing awareness to the issue.    

We owe these three men a tremendous debt of gratitude. Without them, ‘the Network’ would not be where it is today.

We also want to thank Premier Pat Binns who was quietly supportive and who worked diligently with the federal government to advance the idea of a large park on the Upton Farmlands.

No doubt they will all continue to have an interest in this and we hope we will have the benefit of their thoughts and help in the future.    

In years to come, as we all enjoy the beauty of this land kept green, their contributions will be recognized, and we hope they will come to feel and accept personal satisfaction in their hearts, as the fruits of their efforts become evident. 

We thank you all most sincerely for seeing what others did not, and for working towards completiton of a this beautiful vision.

With thanks and all good wishes.

The Members of the Upton Farm Preservation Network

*Lyrics by Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

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Join in the effort to save Upton Farm

May 29, 2007

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Charlottetown resident Tim Banks, pictured here with Kirsten Connor of the Upton Farm Preservation Network, shows his support for keeping Upton Farm green.

The Guardian 29.05.07

Working to preserve Upton Farm
Editor:

As congratulations pour in to the Upton Farm Network, please allow me space to share credit for the accomplishments to date with all our network supporters and with the visionary politicians who are working with us to accomplish the goal of keeping the Upton Farm public and green.
It is also time to inform all the thousands of supporters across the Island, that although the start of development has been delayed, there is no firm commitment that it has been cancelled.
City council has requested that Canada Lands withdraw its development application, but an official reply to that has not yet been received.
The legislature of P.E.I. voted unanimously for a resolution to ask the federal government for an 18-month moratorium on any development. Premier Binns has taken personal action, as has Mayor Clifford Lee, by writing letters to Lawrence Cannon, minister responsible for Canada Lands Corporation.
It is most gratifying that the awareness of the pending loss of Upton Farm has created such a large network committed to work to leave the lands public and green. It is particularly appreciated that esteemed organizations such as the P.E.I. Shell Fishers Association and the Women’s Institute, among others, have lent their support.
Under the mandate of Canada Lands Corporation there are opportunities to spearhead and create projects that the community asks for and supports. The challenge now is to work with Canada Lands Corporation to create green infrastructure that would leave all of Upton Farm as an environmental asset in the form of an urban forest and green space for public recreational use and enjoyment for generations to come.    
We ask all Islanders to join in the effort to save Upton Farm by lending support to our elected officials as they continue to engage the federal government and Canada Lands Corporation in  talks and solutions.
Visit our webpage http://www.saveuptonfarm.com to find out how you can lend a personal hand. Let’s not rest until we reach our goal.
Kirsten Connor,
Charlottetown
for the Upton Farm Preservation Network

We Asked, The Leaders Answered!

May 26, 2007

The Upton Farm Preservation Network wanted to find out where the Leaders of the four parties running for office in the provincial election stood on their commitment to support keeping Upton Farm as green space AFTER the election. It looks like there is an agreement in place for an 18-month moratorium on any development on the property NOW but what happens after that 18 months expires?

Here is our question and their answers:

“If elected, will you commit to preserving all the Upton Farm Lands and to establish a committee with representatives from all three levels of government and the Upton Farm Preservation Network to work on the next steps toward preserving all of the Upton Farm Lands as Green Space for future generations?”

REPLIES:

Robert Ghiz, Leader, Liberal Party:

“Yes, I agree to this commitment.”

Dean Constable, Leader, Island New Democrats:

“100 per cent, yes!”

Pat Binns, Leader, Conservative Party: (as written by Peter McQuaid of Mr. Binns’ office):

The Premier stands firm on his position, as reported by CBC on May 3, 2007. He is fully behind a freeze on any development by Canada Lands at Upton Farm. He has written to Minister (Lawrence) Cannon on this issue and expects an answer very soon. As for your question, the Premier is fully committed to preserving the Upton Farm as greenspace. If re-elected, he will work with all interested parties to resolve the issues surrounding this property.

Sharon Labchuk, Leader, Green Party of PEI

 Yes, the Green Party very much supports preserving the Upton Farm Lands.  PEI has committed to setting aside 7% of our island as protected areas (well below the 12% the other provinces committed to) but has failed to achieve this goal.

PC Candidate John Abbott Says….

May 26, 2007

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John Abbott is the PC Candidate in District 13, Charlottetown-Brighton. He distributed this letter to residents of his riding.

May 15, 2007

Residents of Charlottetown – Brighton:

Thank you for taking the time to meet with John Abbott and share your concerns about issues affecting Charlottetown – Brighton. We are listening.

Many of you have told John you are concerned about the proposed development of Upton Farm. We share your concern. We have a unique opportunity to protect this land as green space that may be enjoyed by everyone.

Last month, I wrote the federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities urging the federal government to freeze development of Upton Farm. That freeze is now in effect.

A PC Government will actively work to preserve Upton Farm as green space. Upton Farm is located at the gateway to Charlottetown and we believe that all Islanders should have the opportunity to share in its unique landscape. Residents in nearby neighbourhoods such as Brighton will particularly benefit from the preservation of Upton Farm’s natural beauty.

We welcome your input on this and other issues affecting Charlottetown – Brighton.

Yours truly

Pat Binns, Premier & 

John Abbott, PC Candidate District 13, Charlottetown-Brighton      

Authorized by the Official Agent, PC Party of PEI

Have You Heard the Latest?

May 25, 2007

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Judd wants to give everybody an update on what’s happening! He reminds you that members of the Upton Farm Preservation Network will be at the Farmers Market on Saturday (tomorrow) with the petition to sign, “Save Upton Farm” license plates to purchase, and to answer any questions you may have about the progress made so far. Please drop by and say “Hi.” We appreciate your support!

NEWSLETTER

What started as neighbourhood concerns over increased traffic and loss of green space expressed by residents at a Town Hall Meeting hosted by two local MLAs (Wes MacAleer and Wayne Collins) has evolved into the Upton Farm Preservation Network.

Many people from all over Charlottetown and the Island suddenly realized that what was about to happen would be a loss for everyone.

The people who rest their eyes on the fields as they come across the North River; people who walk , run and bike on the lands; and people who feel strongly that we need to retain this as green space for environmental reasons wanted to join the neighbours.

‘The Network’ is large, but a small working group consisting of people from the Beach Grove area as well as a few from other parts of the City have volunteered and worked with our decision makers.

This work has resulted in Charlottetown City Council voting unanimously to ask the Canada Lands Company to withdraw their subdivision application, which would have placed up to 350 homes on the south side of the Upton Farm Lands. As well, the provincial legislature recently voted unanimously (on a motion put forward by Ron MacKinley and Richard Brown) to ask the Federal Government for an 18-month moratorium on the start of ANY development on this property.

Premier Pat Binns recently announced that this 18-month moratorium HAS BEEN GRANTED.

This is a great achievement, but is by no means the end of the matter.

The Network has asked that a working committee with representatives from the three levels of government (city, provincial and federal) be established to work on the next stages required to have this land permanently designated as public green space.

The purpose of this Newsletter is also to inform everyone that ‘The Network” has established a web site at www.saveuptonfarm.com , and want to invite all interested people to check in and see the latest news and views. Comments, suggestions and questions will be most welcome. Also if anyone wants to become more involved with the Network, please let us know.

As this is a non-profit volunteer group, the web site will in the future be our only means of communication.

Please share this news with anyone you know who may be interested.

Cheers,

The Upton Farm Preservation Network

We Need Your Help!

May 14, 2007

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IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS

OF KEEPING UPTON FARM GREEN

It is time to say a BIG thank you to all the people who support keeping Upton Farm green.

To those who have signed the on-line petition; who have bought the “Save Upton Farm” license plates; who have written comments on our website and sent letters to the media; and who have spread the message by word of mouth and all other means, THANK YOU.

As well, a big THANK YOU to our decision-makers who have caught the vision and voted their support.

But dear friends, THERE IS MORE TO BE DONE, STAY WITH US, WE NEED YOU FOR THE NEXT STEP.

With the unanimous support of City Council and the Provincial Legislature, the NEXT STEP is to convince the Federal Government and Canada Lands to share the same vision and RELEASE the land.

To that end, we ask everyone to please e-mail a short note to each of the people below, urging them to take an active role in making this an immediate reality.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: pm@pm.gc.ca

Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport (responsible for Canada Lands): Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca

Peter MacKay, Foreign Affairs Minister (responsible for ACOA): Mackay.P@parl.gc.ca

Pat Binns, Premier of PEI: pgbinns@gov.pe.ca

Robert Ghiz, Leader of the Opposition, PEI: rwjghiz@gov.pe.ca

PLEASE keep the comments and pictures coming; buy a “Save Upton Farm” license plate and sign the petition, if you have not done so already.

Let’s stay the course together!

The Upton Farm Preservation Network Executive

Picture Info:

Riley (left) and Chester at Upton Farm.

Photo Credit: Heidi Hyndman

CBC: Premier asks for delay at Upton Farm

May 3, 2007

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This news report was featured on CBC radio today:

 Premier Pat Binns is asking the federal government to step in to freeze development at Upton Farms, a large green space in the northern part of Charlottetown. 

 The Canada Lands Company, the real estate arm of the federal government, already has approval from the city to build a subdivision on part of the 100-hectare site. It had hoped to start construction this spring.

But the premier has sent a letter to federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Lawrence Cannon, asking him to halt any development, although he says the federal government may not have much say when it comes to decisions made by Canada Lands.

Cannon couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Binns said the province might willing to help buy the land if a suitable partner were to step forward.

“We’re potentially interested here. We’re prepared to look at that,” said Binns, although he doesn’t see one arm of government buying land from another arm of government as the best use of taxpayers’ money.

“We would prefer if the federal government, having the dollars in surplus capacity, would not look at this as a revenue need for themselves, that they would look at it and say a community need exists here, and we would rather put our money into the development of green space.”

In the face of protests, the Charlottetown city council asked the company a month ago to withdraw its development application.

Canada Lands says it won’t rush into any decision on the future of the land.

Chester Says: “Think! A Delay Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe.”

May 3, 2007

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While the efforts of politicians are appreciated and we thank them for their support, a “moratorium” on development is simply a DELAY on development, not a guarantee that this land will be saved for greenspace. Please keep up your support by buying a license plate, calling and writing your politicians and spreading the word. Canada Lands could simply be waiting until after the voting is over before starting construction so its actions don’t adversely affect the outcome of the election.

Letter from Alex: “This is the Best Solution”

May 2, 2007

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This letter from “Alex” was published on The Guardian website on April 27, 2007, in response to the news that the PEI Legislature supported a moratorium on the development of the Upton Farmlands.

This is the best solution – congrats to the Upton Farm Preservation Network for having the courage to do what so many in this community wish to see happen.

PEI has the lowest amount of public/Crown land in the country and every acre is precious. Upton Farm is a jewel at the western entrance to the city – the primary route to Ch’town since the opening of the fixed link. Do we want it developed, degenerating into an eyesore like East Grafton Street is at the eastern entrance to the city?

Too often, the small minority in PEI who are pro-development get too much press. The Guardian needs to maintain a balanced approach and do some investigative reporting instead of gravitating to the most vocal source.

The Upton Farm property is owned by the taxpayers of Canada – Agriculture Canada bought it for a song many decades ago and now Canada Lands Co. wants to make a bundle off it to pay down federal largesse. Ch’town residents have paid their taxes diligently to Canada for many years – we should be the primary beneficiaries of having this property become green space, not more urban sprawl.

And city council needs to start densifying the city itself instead of letting development travel all over the countryside. Build upwards and provide increased green space while providing a very clear city-countryside boundary just like you see in Denmark.

“Historic Moment” at PEI Legislature

May 2, 2007

The Guardian

April 27, 2007

 MLAs support moratorium on Upton Farm development

Charlottetown residents hope unanimous backing will lead to preservation of land as green space

BY WAYNE THIBODEAU
The Guardian

Charlottetown residents who do not want to see development on a large parcel of land at the western edge of the capital city described a motion at the P.E.I. legislature Thursday calling for a moratorium on development as an historic moment.

Kirsten Connor of the Upton Farm Preservation Network watched from the public gallery as MLAs unanimously supported a motion by Liberal MLA Ron MacKinley calling on the legislative assembly to support a moratorium on the development of the Upton Farmlands for a period of no less than 18 months.

“I think it is the beginning of something that will end with the creation of a park that will be there forever,” Connor told The Guardian.

Canada Lands, a Crown corporation of the federal government, wants to develop the 245-acre parcel of land.

The southern parcel of land would become a major residential development while the northern parcel of land, next to the West Royalty Industrial Park, would be developed into commercial proprieties.

The proposal had already been given approval by city hall but since then city officials have backtracked on their approval and are now calling on Canada Lands to withdraw its application to develop Upton Farms.

Canada Lands is still expected to proceed with the development
and some see Thursday’s motion as nothing more than election posturing on the eve of a provincial election.

Canada Lands had plans to start the development this spring.

Dianne Bradley, a resident who lives near the proposed development, hopes that isn’t the case.

Bradley was also at the P.E.I. legislature Thursday.

“I am concerned over traffic,” said Bradley.

Connor said she’d like to see the land transferred into the hands of the P.E.I. government and have it maintained as green space.