The Upton Farm Preservation Network is very pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached between the Provincial Government, Canada Lands Corporation and UFPN whereby a large amount of the Upton Farmlands will be preserved as green space. The land is situated on both sides of the Trans Canada Highway and along the North River banks from the Beach Grove forest to the land reserved for expansion of the arterial highway, approximately 150 acres in total. Ownership of the land being preserved will be vested in a public trust similar to the Island Nature Trust.
This is a fantastic resolution to preserving this beautiful piece of land as green space, as the greater Charlottetown area grows and more and more land disappears to development. Not since Victoria Park was founded has there been such a bold initiative, which will benefit, in perpetuity, a large number of people.
Founder of the Network, Kirsten Connor, states that this was a community effort and could not have been accomplished without the support of many people and organizations. “The grassroots support I received when presenting petitions, which eventually collected over 2,000 names, gave impetus for proceeding, drew the media and other people to the cause”, she says. Many important groups also gave their support, including the Shellfishers Association, Island Trails, the Women’s Institutes, the Rural Beautification Society, the Island Nature Trust and others. Among all the support, she cites especially the small dedicated working group that have carried out the day-to-day efforts. Those loyal people are Laurie McBurney, Kathy Kennedy, Cheryl Stead, Dianne Bradley, Katherine McQuaid, Jan Rankin-Collie, and Heidi Hyndman. Without their steady and faithful commitment over the last 2 ½ years the project would never have succeeded.
Another turning point was when the Mayor and City Council caught the vision of what preserving this land would mean for the future of an attractive city and province. They stepped in and asked Canada Lands Corporation to retract their application for development. “This was a timely and courageous move on the part of the City, for which they deserve much praise”, says Mrs. Connor.
A third turning point was a town hall meeting hosted by then MLA Wes MacAleer. The attendance at this meeting was overwhelming and caught the attention of both political parties in the Legislature, and earned their support. Through common efforts by all, Canada Lands Corporation agreed, not only to a moratorium on development, but engaged all the parties—-the City, the Province and the Network—-to a consultation process with them. This resulted in an agreement of the Committee members to offer part of the land, along the Upton Road, to the Provincial Government to be used as a bio-science park. This proposal was accepted and a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Canada Lands Corporation, the Provincial Government and the Upton Farm Preservation Network that lays out the conditions, including setting up the Upton Farm Trust.
There are only winners in this agreement. The bio-science campus, when appropriately designed for the location, will be compatible and a very attractive ‘home’ for the campus. The City will retain a valuable tax asset within city limits, along with having a green, impressive and memorable entrance to the capital. Canada Lands Corporation has fulfilled their mandate, both with regards to disposing of an asset, as well as listening to the community.
All the parties to the consultation process are to be commended for their time, commitment and respectful conduct. I personally want to thank my co-members, Mayor Clifford Lee, Councillor Cecil Villard, Deputy Minister Tracey Cutcliffe, Mr. Ron Paschal, Mr. Bob Howald and our two working group members, Dianne Bradley and Heidi Hyndman.
“As a group”, says Kirsten Connor, “we want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who contibuted support in any way. And last but not least, a very special thank you to our spouses and families for their patience, participation and encouragement. The Upton Farm Preservation Network is satisfied that this is a great agreement and applaud the Premier and his government for their commitment and vision in preserving this land and for working with us to achieve this serious, solid and futuristic arrangement. We look forward to working with the Province, the City and the community to make this a place for everyone; a place of peace and tranquility for some; and a place to learn, run and play for others. This is a great day; let’s go and enjoy!”
A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding, along with this Press Releases is posted on our web site:
For further information please contact Kirsten Connor at 892-3839.