Archive for October, 2007

“Coastal areas a big concern,” says Nature Conservancy of Canada

October 26, 2007

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The Upton Farmlands property today. The Canada Lands Company, the federal crown corporation that holds responsiblity for this land, wants to develop it for houses and businesses despite the fact there are nearly 300 serviced housing lots nearby ready for use. In effect, CLC wants to compete with PEI residents to sell real estate properties and profit from this land which was paid for by the taxpayers of Canada.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada unveiled its Conservation Blueprint for the Maritimes earlier this week. The blueprint highlights areas that are not well protected. In P.E.I. and the rest of the Maritimes, coastal regions are a big concern, according to Philip Greyson of the NCC, who was quoted in The Guardian newspaper.

“The coast is very much under threat from development but very important to the overall ecology of the Maritimes. The coast was one of the highest priority areas for us to focus our efforts and I think for everyone to,” he said.

Greyson added that farming and housing development are also reducing significant areas of wetlands in the province, which are important to overall ecology of an area.

Amplifying Greyson’s comments, the NCC website states this about our Island:

The scarcity of land in PEI means that any opportunity to preserve a piece of the province’s natural heritage must be taken.

The picture above shows the Upton Farmlands as it is today. The Canada Lands Company has plans to use this property for a housing development; indeed, would have proceeded already if it was not for protests from thousands of Islanders and organizations like the PEI Shellfishers and the Women’s Institute.

Please continue your support to the Upton Farm Preservation Network to save this priceless piece of PEI coastline.

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“Value of this pristine piece of property is immeasurable,” PEI Women’s Institute

October 24, 2007

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The Federated Women’s Institute of PEI is a highly-esteemed provincial educational organization focusing on the family, personal growth and community action.The Institute recently sent this e-mail to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Robert Ghiz, Mayor Clifford Lee and several others. We thank the Women’s Institute for its support and hope our provincial and federal leaders heed the wise words included in its e-mail:

Re: Preservation of Upton Farm, the former research land by the North River on the Trans Canada Highway in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island  

This email is in support of preserving Upton Farm as a green belt, free of urban development. This area of land is located on both sides of the Trans Canada Highway between the North River Causeway and the traffic light by Upton Road and was originally part of the Federal Agricultural Research Farm.The Federated Women’s Institute of Prince Edward Island strongly supports keeping this piece of land as a green space for all Islanders and visitors to enjoy for years to come. The value of this pristine piece of property is immeasurable and it is paramount that it is preserved for future generations.

Your support is appreciated as we strive to preserve a part of our heritage and a legacy for our children.

Marie Kenny, President

Federated Women’s Institute of PEI

Location of Acadian Homes at Upton Farm

October 22, 2007

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By using the 1765 map of the French Acadian settlement of Rivière du Nord drawn by Samuel Holland and the computer program MapInfo, Dr. Doug Sobey has plotted the location of Acadian homes of the Upton Farmlands on a modern map, seen above. The map is bisected by the TransCanada Highway as it crosses Poplar Island; Maypoint and Beachgrove Roads can be seen to the lower right quarter of the map and Upton Drive in the top right quarter. Dr. Sobey shows 10 Acadian homes on the Upton Farmlands property. According to a 1752 census, the land was given to the families of Rivière du Nord verbally by Monsieur de Bonnaventure, the Commandant for the King at Ile St.-Jean (a former name of Prince Edward Island). Family names included Landry and Daigre. They earned their living by sowing and harvesting wheat and also owned various stock animals; pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and oxen.

October Morning at Upton Farm

October 18, 2007

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(Photo Credit: Kathy Kennedy) 

Looking at this photo, one is reminded of the words of Joni Mitchell in her song, “Big Yellow Taxi:”

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone

IF you recognize what we have at Upton Farm please send a letter to any of the following people (or ALL of them) who are responsible for the fate of the Farmlands. Remind them that they can demonstrate their leadership and concern for our environment by saving these lands as greenspace. Please tell them that it’s not right for the federal government to build a mega housing development on the coastline of PEI, endangering an adjacent fishing ground and competing with Island home developers in the area. Bring to their attention that there are already 279 serviced lots in the West Royalty area surrounding Upton Farm, and 110 new lots now being prepared across the North River in Cornwall. Clearly, this island does not need more houses, but it does need public access to our coastline. If we do not plan ahead now, it will be gone.

Please tell the following people your concerns:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: pm@pm.gc.ca
Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon:
"Lawrence Cannon, P.C., M.P." <mintc@tc.gc.ca>
Minister responsible for ACOA and the Atlantic Provinces,
Peter MacKay:mackay.p@parl.gc.ca
PEI Premier Robert Ghiz: rwjghiz@gov.pe.ca
Minister of Development Richard Brown: rebrown@gov.pe.ca
Speaker of the House Kathleen Casey:  kmcasey@gov.pe.ca
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee: Mayor@city.charlottetown.pe.ca
Charlottetown City Councillor Cecil Villard: cfvillard@gov.pe.ca

Acadian Settlement Found on Upton Farmlands

October 15, 2007

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Historian Dr. Doug Sobey’s research has discovered a 1752 census of PEI that shows seven Acadian families, bearing the names Daigre and Landry, lived and farmed on the shores of the North River on the Upton Farmland property.

According to Dr. Sobey, the Acadian settlement was located near what is now the causeway at Poplar Island.

In addition, his research reveals that Dutch explorer and surveyor Samuel Holland (1728 – 1801) was instructed in 1764 by his superiors at the Board of Trade in London to begin a survey of all the British possessions north of the Potomac. He arrived on Prince Edward Island (then known as St. John’s Island) in early October 1764 and spent the next twelve months based at Observation Cove near Port La-Joie overseeing the work of four survey parties mapping the various parts of the island’s coastline. His knowledge of the forest over much of the island was based on what he and the others could examine from the coasts and rivers – he wrote: “all rivers and creeks were surveyed as far as boat or canoe would go, or the chainmen penetrate, but sometimes we were obliged to stop, by inaccessible woods and swamps”. Dr. Sobey has superimposed Samuel Holland’s 1764 survey map on a modern-day map of PEI. It clearly shows the Acadian settlement located on the Upton Farmlands. This map will be posted on site shortly.

According to Parks Canada, the first Europeans to settle Prince Edward Island came from France in 1720 and were quickly joined by a small group of Acadians from Nova Scotia. They were warmly received by the Mi’kmaq, who helped them considerably. The Acadians endured great hardships including crop failure, infestations of mice and the ongoing conflict between the French and British in North America. The British deported all but a small group of approximately 300 Acadians from the island in 1758. The Acadians who remained and those who returned to the island in later years established numerous fishing and farming communities along the coast during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Picture courtesy of Parks Canada.

Sea Lettuce “a menace taking over PEI”

October 14, 2007

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The October 12th Charlottetown Guardian reported on an environmental conference held in Montague. The environmentalists in attendance said that “sea lettuce is a menace taking over many estuaries in PEI and must be curtailed in the interests of fishing and tourism.”

Sea lettuce grows in nutrient rich waters and has a distinctly rotten egg odour when exposed to the air at low tide. Its presence indicates problems with the oxygen quality of the water. The growth of this plant is accelerating exponentially around our Island.

“Human activity is the cause and we need to address the problem.  It’s easy to say blame the farmers, but there’s more to it than that. It’s caused by residential influence as well,” says Dr. Andrew Trivett of UPEI.

“Residential influence” includes building housing developments close to the ocean’s edge where storm water can wash a nutrient-rich soup of fertilizers, detergents, and other household and industrial chemicals into the sea. This increase of nutrients, in the form of phosphorous, ammonium and nitrogen, is called eutrophication, which causes red tides, yellow and green slimes and slicks and triggers the growth of sea lettuce.

Sea lettuce growth can already be observed in the estuaries of the North River around the potential CLC megadevelopment at Upton Farm. Yellow signs posted by the Department of Fisheries warn that shellfish harvested there are toxic to humans. Fishers who work these waters transport their oysters elsewhere on the Island to be suspended on lines in cleaner water until all toxins are washed from their systems and they are safe for human consumption.

We ignore the “menace” of sea lettuce growth to the peril of of both our fishing and tourist industries, the life blood of the PEI economy. The proposed CLC housing development at Upton Farm can only increase the danger. We must look to our future, and save this land. The time for lining the pockets of the few to the detriment of our environment is past.

PEI Legislature Reconvenes Tuesday

October 14, 2007

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The PEI Legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, Oct. 16. The Upton Farm Preservation Network looks forward to continuing the important work of saving Upton Farm for the use and enjoyment of future generations of Islanders with our new government, led by Premier Robert Ghiz.

Members of the Preservation Network personally welcomed Premier Ghiz to office  with this letter:

June 19, 2007

Premier Robert Ghiz
P. O. Box 2000
Charlottetown, PEI

Dear Premier Ghiz:

Please accept our congratulations on your very decisive election victory.

We very much appreciated your pledge of support for keeping all of the Upton Farm Lands green and public during the election campaign.

We know that you have an abundance of important issues to deal with as you take office, however, time is unfortunately of essence on this file. We are therefore asking for your early consideration in appointing a Minister or Official with whom we can begin to work.

We are delighted with your commitment to this and forward all good wishes to your Government and to you as you start your first tenure as Premier of Prince Edward Island.
Yours truly,

Kirsten Connor,
on behalf of the Upton Farm Preservation Network