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.’’