Archive for the ‘Raising Awareness’ Category

May 25, 2012

You are Welcome to Attend the



MAY 31, 2012 AT 7:00 p.m.

at the

West Royalty Community Centre

The Upton Room

Lower Malpeque Road

The transfer of the land from the Government to the Upton Farm Trust has now been completed and the farm has been designated as a Natural Area under the Natural Areas Protection Act.  The full NAPA document can be seen at,  or

Future plans include off-leash dog park location and enhancement of the property with hedgerows, tree planting and other plans. Consultant, Tina Beers, will lead a discussion as part of the meeting, for the purpose of gathering ideas and input, as we look to the future.

We hope you will familiarize yourself with the NAPA agreement, as we are asking for your thoughts and ideas to make this green space the best it can be and for the enjoyment for everyone.

1. Welcome
2. Chairman’s Report and Questions
3. Treasurer’s Report and Questions
4. Discussion on Future Plans
6. Other business
7. Adjournment

PS. There will be opportunities before and after the meeting to purchase memberships in the Upton Farm Trust Inc. at an annual fee of $10.00 per person.


May 24, 2012
 1st Annual General Meeting
   Thursday May 31, 2012 at 7 p.m.
          at the Upton Room, West Royalty Community Centre
        Everyone is welcome

The Beauty of Upton Farm

March 25, 2009
No words are needed to describe the beauty of Upton Farms. Help us save this land for the use of residents and visitors alike.

No words are needed to describe the beauty of Upton Farm. Help us save this land for the use of residents and visitors alike. Thanks to Heidi Hyndman for photo.

Acadian Commemoration at Upton Farm

September 28, 2008
Many came to the Acadian Commemoration at Upton

Many came to the Acadian Commemoration at Upton

L-R Dr. Doug Sobey, Yvette Murphy (in Acadian dress) & Georges Arsenault

L-R Dr. Doug Sobey, Yvette Murphy (in Acadian dress) & Georges Arsenault

On Sept. 14, historians Dr. Doug Sobey and Georges Arsenault intrigued an audience of over 50 interested listeners with the history of Acadian settlers on the Upton Farmlands. Dog walkers, passersby, Acadian history buffs, as well as Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy and PC candidate Tom Deblois listened to the presentation which took place on a hill overlooking the beautiful North River and the very location of the Acadian homesteads.

“It’s Starting to Disappear:” Why We Must Save the Upton Farmlands

July 19, 2008


The Guardian

It was right there on the cover of the 1990 Visitors’ Guide to P.E.I.: a photo of one of the Island’s most picturesque, and most controversial, views.

It was land at Cousin’s Shore, where the Irishtown Road comes down from Kensington and meets Highway 20, and it would cause a scandal when it was sold to a developer only a few years later.

While looking at the 2007 Visitors’ Guide, David Sisam, a Toronto architect who has a cottage on P.E.I., noticed a particular ad. It was a photo of the same land at Cousin’s Shore.

“It’s a picture that is probably (from) about 1985. Because if they took it now it would have all these cottage lots scattered over it,” said Sisam. “It’s got to the point where tourist brochures are having to lie or misrepresent what the Island is.”

Sisam is one of many people on P.E.I. who say the government should have taken action long ago to make sure the Island’s coastal landscape isn’t destroyed by cottage subdivisions.

But this isn’t exactly a new concern. As historian Harry Baglole points out, P.E.I.’s governance has been marked by the land issue ever since the province was founded.

“Land issues and Island politics have always gone together, hand in glove,” said Baglole.

In the 19th century, Island settlers waged a long and difficult struggle against their absentee landlords back in Britain. Though they eventually won out and gained ownership of their farms, Island farmers remember the past and are still suspicious of the public telling them how to use their land, said Baglole.

“Pushing for enlightened land use policy in P.E.I. comes up against the same entrenched conservative instincts as pushing for gun control legislation in the United States,” he said.

But the push for policy continues. Last summer, Sisam gave a talk as part of the Victoria Playhouse summer lecture series, titled ‘Whose Shore is it? The Uncertain Future of Prince Edward Island’s Coastal Landscape.’

He may be a cottager himself, with a summer home near Malpeque since 1988, but he’s passionate about the P.E.I. land issue.

“People aren’t noticing, and slowly but surely (the coast) will end up like New Jersey if something isn’t done,” he said.
Despite a series of commissions, roundtables and reports dating back to the first Royal Commission on the Land in 1973, government has failed to create planning strategies to deal with the steady tide of development, says Sisam.

“It’s (a lack of) political will. Right now, the (provincial) planning staff do not have an adequate framework with which to plan and make decisions . . . No one really is saying what the coastline of Prince Edward Island should look like in 15 or 20 years. It just happens.”

It’s that lack of vision that frustrates Jack Saunders, manager of the P.E.I. provincial planning branch. He and his staff are supposed to set policy for land use but he said they don’t do much of it.

“We don’t have a plan of any sort that tells you ahead of time what you might expect to do. Land uses are established at the time of subdivisions,” he said.

The provincial government approves subdivision lots for most of the province, but Charlottetown, Summerside and 29 of about 75 Island municipalities have their own land use plans.

The Lands Protection Act of 1982 states that non-residents who want to own more than five acres of total land, or more than 165 feet of shore frontage, must receive permission from the Executive Council (the premier and his cabinet). The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) is responsible for examining the applications from non-residents and sends its recommendations to the provincial government. But almost all of the non-resident applications get approved year after year.

“I could put in a tire-recycling plant or an organic farming outfit or . . . there’s just no control. There’s no zoning,” said Saunders. Being a planner on P.E.I. is a frustrating job, he said.

“The tradition has been the individual gets what he wants and the government’s in the business of getting re-elected, so they keep giving the individuals what they want.”
The issue of individual versus collective rights is at the very heart of land use in this province.

With no rules on development, people can do whatever they want, says Sisam.
“(Say) a farmer owns land on the ocean and he’s worked hard, and he says, ‘This is going to be my reward, because farming isn’t going well now, I’m going to subdivide the piece of property right on the ocean.’ And there’s pressures to do that, obviously. But without a vision for what the coastline should be, this just happens on a piecemeal basis.”

With the way farming has been going, farmers on P.E.I. are keener than ever to sell their land, says John Cousins, a farmer in Park Corner.
“We’re like the Piping Plover. We’re a dying breed,” said Cousins, who’s also on the board of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Land Trust.The trust’s mandate is to preserve the scenic agricultural land along P.E.I.’s North Shore by finding alternatives to development. Cousins sold the development rights to part of his land to the land trust, so he could keep farming it. The land trust has bought the development rights to about 130 acres of land between French River and Sea View. But the price of land has been steadily rising and the trust is having trouble raising enough money to buy development rights. If buying five acres of land or less, the average price per acre for all types of land nearly tripled between 1994, when the land trust was founded, and 2004. It rose from about $16,500 to about $43,000.The trust has been petitioning the provincial and federal governments for support.

The previous Conservative government all but ignored the land use issue, said Saunders.

“Within the planning side of things here we’ve always said we need a champion at the political level who would take it on and fight for it.”

The new Liberal government says they are now stepping up to the plate. The government will appoint a new Commissioner on Land Use and Local Governance before the end of the summer, said Carolyn Bertram, minister of communities, cultural affairs and labour.

“The commissioner will be holding public hearings and there will be lots of opportunities for Islanders to provide feedback,” said Bertram. “This is a very important issue for Islanders, and for non-residents as well, and we’re hoping that this will be a good step forward.”

The commissioner will also examine previous studies and strategies on land use and will present a report in 2009, she said.

It could be a breath of fresh air for a province that virtually ignored a 604-page report from the 1990 Royal Commission on the Land, said Douglas Boylan.

Boylan was the chair of the commission, which spent two years researching land issues before giving 232 recommendations to the government. When that report came out the people of P.E.I. were ready for government to take action, he said.

“Nobody likes regulators. But I think there was a sense that there was some
expertise needed,” said Boylan.

Boylan suspects that people still care about the land issue but that after the new commissioner is done his work, they “will expect a game plan.” Among the many observations and statistics in the 1990 commission report, Boylan and his team pointed out that there were thousands of cottage lots being created on P.E.I. that weren’t being built on.
From 1973 to 1987, 3,500 more cottage lots were created than building permits issued, which suggests that there are more subdivisions going up than there is demand for cottages, says Sisam. The number of cottages within view of his own, he said, has gone from five to 15 in the past 20 years. A quick drive around the P.E.I. countryside makes it obvious how fast cottages are going up. “It’s almost scary,” said Boylan, who questions whether tourists still value the unspoiled vistas that P.E.I. offers.

Cousins sees more cottages every year but thinks tourists do come here to see the scenery and the land.

“Twenty years ago, if you’d have told me how much tourism, and this viewscape and agriculture, goes hand in hand, I’d have laughed at you. But when you’re out here watching (tourists) in the fields taking pictures of my cows, or laying on the ditch in the road on their bellies trying to get the barley heads to line up with the sun out over the Lake of Shining Waters, you kind of realize, well, maybe there is a little bit to this.”

He said he’s come to realize how precious his land is.

“Years ago, I never saw the view that was here because I was here all the time, but it’s a little different now. It’s starting to disappear.”

Vision Paper for the Upton Farmlands

May 19, 2008

Photo: Kathy Kennedy

The Upton Farmlands Preservation Network is currently in consultations with the Canada Lands Company, the City of Charlottetown and the Province of Prince Edward Island concerning the fate of the Upton Farmlands. To that end, we developed the following position paper. We would appreciate your input.

Upton Farm Preservation Network Position Paper:
Guide to Discussions to Govern Conservation and Development

Background and Sources: The Upton Farm Preservation Network (The Network), started with a petition signed by over 2000 people, is a loosely organized association of individuals and like minded organizations. The Network Steering Group meets regularly and maintains a website to exchange ideas, share support with potential stakeholder organizations, and the membership participates in official fora at any appropriate opportunity.

The following basic requirements to guide development toward a preserved and accessible Upton Farm natural area have been put forward by those individuals, interest groups such as Island Trails, The Island Nature Trust of PEI, The Federated Women’s Institute of PEI, Friends of the Farm, PEI Shellfish Association, and endorsed by the City Council of Charlottetown and the Parks and Recreation Open Space Master Plan, by EDM Consultants, the Government of PEI, and all four political parties in PEI. The Network representatives will reference those ideas and resources consistently to guide their own proposals and as a framework for testing those of others.

The property, of approx. 250 acres, lying both north and south of the Trans-Canada Highway, where it crosses the North River, must and can serve many uses.

1) It will be the most significant parcel of green space for the City and the Greater Charlottetown Area.

2) Our members and the City’s Parks and Open Space Master Plan expect it to enhance the western entry point to the City.

3) Commercial and recreational boating organizations and the Parks and Open Space Master Plan all foresee the property contributing to water access and riverside protection.

4) Almost every contributor to our discussions expect environmental enhancement to result from re-establishing the Acadian Forest on the site.

5) The initiators of the Network, those who have signed on subsequently, and the majority of people interviewed for the Parks and Open Space Master Plan emphasize the need to promote passive green recreation. Most expect Upton Farm to answer these needs.

6) There is a clear preference for an extensive recreational area in lieu of a number of small, fewer amenities areas.

Broad Picture Outcomes: The Upton Farm lands should be left as natural as possible, thus limiting both initial cost and long term maintenance. The current look should be maintained along the river edge, and the rolling hills should be put and maintained in as natural a state as possible. Upton Farm should be a place for the eye to feast, where every body can enjoy life together or alone, but always respectful of each other and nature’s wonders.

Even within these constraints, the site is large enough to accommodate many uses. Both on the Network’s website and in submissions to the steering group, we have received a number of suggestions and proposals for using the site. Following are some which have survived many discussions. Our steering group believes that, handled properly, they need not be incompatible with the other potential uses.

1) At the extreme northern edge of the site, actually off-site, there may someday be an extension of the Charlottetown by-pass road to North River-Cornwall. At the proposed bridge access ramps is a natural bowl which could become an amphitheater for musical, dramatic, sports or similar events. This ‘installation’ should be without permanent structures and involve natural terraced ‘bleachers.’ While this use in itself may not be incompatible, we foresee many problems associated with access, parking, and moving of crowds between the site and downtown amenities.

2) Moving south, river access could be had for boats, when tide permits.

3) Again moving south, there should be a large area for dogs to run free, accompanied by their owners. The three above spaces could have a common comfort facility provided, and perhaps shared access. (Possibly on provincial otherwise unuseable land under the by-pass road.)

4) Approaching the north side of the Trans Canada Highway, the space should begin to take on its role as the entrance to Charlottetown, left natural but occasionally mowed, suitably treed, and used for green recreational activities.

5) Crossing the Trans Canada Highway, again forming part of the entrance role, and again left natural and mowed, we come into the area that could become a re-established Acadian Forest with accompanying wild flowers. The riverside should be buffered, and the forest, combined and managed jointly with the existing Beach Grove woodlands, will include pedestrian trails, along with appropriate wheelchair accommodation.

6) The development will be a long term undertaking, but the space will be inviolate from the time of its designation.

7) Until the new by-pass bridge is built, these two north-south aspects from the current Trans Canada Highway will be the western entrance to Charlottetown. It should be treated as cited above. Welcome signs, if placed on this land, should be innovative while at the same time limited, discreet and compatible. When a new bridge is built, the site and view from here will remain, but the entrance view for most arrivals will be the amphitheater and boat access site. They should be planned and treated accordingly.

Access, Neighbors, and Buffering: For the sake of the site and neighboring uses, careful visual and vehicle control must be implemented. There could be two entrances off the Upton Road, one for the events amphitheater and the water access site, and one for the dog area and green recreational area abutting the north side of the Trans Canada Highway. Treed buffering and possibly fencing may come into play to separate some activities from others, while shared access and parking can be accommodated.

There should be no access to any part of the site from the Trans Canada Highway.

The south section of the site should have three access points. Two would be from the Maypoint Road, one possibly the same place as now, by the electrical utility station and the other by the RCMP compound. The third could be from the Beach Grove Road, and would be both a service road for the PEI Forestry Division and access for recreational users.

All parking lot perimeters and road frontages would have natural screening by means of Acadian Forest plantings. Where fencing is needed, it would be made unobtrusive by this same means.

Development Process, including transitional: the Network endorses the process of discussion and negotiations which have been proposed, but would suggest that a time frame be established to work towards. We believe that a sound development can be built upon the framework presented above, including a certain amount of give-and-take. We trust that City, Provincial, Federal (perhaps represented by ACOA) governments will participate, along with Canada Lands and ourselves.

The intent of these talks may be broad strokes, but the principles and guidelines for the type of usage must be binding. The plan should define limits on any use not strictly compatible with green infrastructure, passive parkland recreation, and environmental enhancement.

It will also be important to assign responsibilities for development, for watchdog functions, and for maintenance. The Network believes that a Development and Continuing Care Agreement, including as signatories all of the parties cited above, should result.

In the interim, there should be no uses take place anywhere on the site that have not been permitted in the recent past, since these might be seen to establish a trend, or even to dishearten some people with expectations of a new direction. Certainly, no short term events should be considered that could have lasting detrimental effects, or that could raise expectations for more of the same. Interim allowable activities could include cropping, walking, dog walking, sustainable forest practices (including buffering), and water access at points where the shore would not be harmed.

There are assumptions all around as to eventual ownership of Upton Farm Recreational Park. Careful thought must be given to the requirements incumbent on ownership including financial wherewithal to develop and protect it, access to partners with expertise needed, the political insularity to withstand momentary pressures, and the ability to seek and maintain a broad and long view.

Given an appropriate Master or Framework Agreement coming out of the upcoming consultations, we believe that Canada Lands best fits all of the requirements noted. In the event Canada Lands does not regard itself as the appropriate participant, we would recommend that an independent trust, such as Island Nature Trust, be given this role. The federal partners of Canada Lands or the trust could include ACOA , the National Parks Service, and Fisheries and Oceans. Its main provincial partner would be the PEI Forestry Division; its municipal partner would continue to be the Department of Parks and Recreation and The Network. We fully intend to maintain a watchdog and gadfly role and protecting the usually silent majority.

We provide this document with the hope that all partners will want to act in accord with its intentions.


Upton Concert Venue Mock-up Photo Released

April 20, 2008

The Guardian is promising to release “a huge (five column) colour computer-generated photo of the proposed Upton Farm concert venue” in tomorrow’s paper. Here is what is proposed, via Coun. Rob Lantz’s website, Go to Coun. Lantz’s site to see a better picture. You can enlarge the photo at Coun. Lantz’s site as well, so you can see the details. Then let us, Coun. Lantz or the Guardian know what you think. Your feedback is important.

“The goal is to preserve the Farmlands as greenspace”

March 6, 2008



The following is the letter sent by the Upton Farm Preservation Network to the Canada Lands Company (the federal Crown Corporation that is now in possession of the Upton Farmlands) concerning our stand on the City of Charlottetown’s  proposal to perhaps hold a concert on the Upton Farmlands (on a field located on the north side of the TransCanada Highway): 

March 3, 2008

Mr. Ron Pachal
General Manager, Real Estate, Atlantic
Canada Lands Company
Suite 1205, 1505 Barrington St.
Halifax, NS
B3J 3K5

Dear Mr Pachal:

I wish to formally express the Upton Farm Preservation Network’s (UFPN) appreciation for the leadership demonstrated by the Canada Lands Company in establishing the Upton Farmlands Consultation Committee. Our Network is particularly pleased with the Committee’s terms of reference, which state that the goal of the consultation process is develop a plan to preserve Upton Farmlands as a green space.

Further to our February 27, 2008 meeting in Charlottetown, I would also like to outline UFPN’s position regarding the request by the City of Charlottetown to use, on a one-time basis, a portion of the Upton Farmlands as a concert venue.

It is our understanding that:

a) the City’s request lies outside the Consultation Committee’s mandate and is being addressed as a one-off request;

b) the City has provided assurances that, if its request is approved, the property would be restored to its pre-concert condition; and

c) any decision taken regarding this request will in no way impact the larger consultation process to keep the Upton Farm Lands as greenspace.

In light of the above, and, given that UFPN was formed to ensure the long-term preservation of the Upton Farm Lands as green space, the Network will not oppose the city’s request.

Our position on the City’s request is conditional upon your acknowledgment that our understanding as outlined above is accurate.

We look forward to your reply.


Kirsten Connor
The Upton Farm Preservation Network

cc. Mayor Clifford Lee, City of Charlottetown

Making the UFPN Position Clear

March 6, 2008


The Upton Farm Preservation Network  is now in a consultation process with representatives of the province, the City of Charlottetown and the Canada Lands Corporation to develop a plan to preserve the Upton Farm Lands as greenspace.

The UFPN was informed in early February 2008 of the City of Charlottetown’s desire to hold a concert on that portion of the Upton Farmlands located on the north side of the TransCanada Hwy. It was impressed on the UFPN that the City was in consultations with concert promoters and that a portion on the north side of the Upton Farmlands had been identified as a prime outdoor concert location, given its topography, which formed a natural amphitheatre.

The City of Charlottetown asked the UFPN for its opinion on the matter. The UFPN working group took a neutral position.

A meeting was held the last week of February, with representatives of the City of Charlottetown, the province, CLC and the UFPN in attendance. The UFPN was asked to clarify its stand on the concert.

The concern of the UFPN is, and always has been, the long-term preservation of the Upton Farm Lands as greenspace.

The UFPN has been assured by all parties, that, if a concert is held on the Upton Farm Lands, that the property will be restored to its pre-concert condition; that this is a one-time event; and that no other concerts or events will be staged on the Upton Farm Lands until the consultation process referred to in the first paragraph is completed.

Given these assurances, the UFPN will NOT OPPOSE a ONE-TIME-ONLY use of the property as a concert venue while consultations are on-going.

The UFPN wishes to make it clear that it has been given guarantees by all parties involved that this decision will in no way impact the larger consultation process to keep the Upton Farm Lands as greenspace.

Presentation to Island Heritage Committee

February 23, 2008


The Upton Farm Preservation Network made a presentation to the IRIS Group, which was tasked by the PEI provincial government to undertake an Island Heritage Study. The IRIS Group has travelled across the Island to provide groups and individuals the opportunity to share their views on the Island’s heritage and its future. The UFPN presentation, which can be read below, noted the rich history of the Upton Farmlands, including the Acadian settlement; the airport located there; the story of Louise Jenkins, who owned the property with her husband, and was the first female pilot on PEI; the race track located on the Farmlands; as well as the heritage value of the land itself.



We are members of a working group representing the larger Upton Farm Preservation Network. The Network was created by a large number of people dedicated to seeing the Upton Farmlands remain as a greenspace.

The Upton Farmlands is a 258-acre parcel of land that is divided by the Trans Canada Highway just east of the North River Causeway. It is the entrance to the City of Charlottetown.

This land has a long history that is both interesting and significant.

In the 1700’s when Samuel Holland and his crew surveyed the Island (previously Isle St. Jean), he found seven Acadian homesteads existing on the Upton Farmlands in the area known then as Riviere du Nord (North River). (see attached map). The census of 1752 listed the Acadian names and occupations of the folks making their homes there. As the Upton Farmlands has fresh water springs and natural wetlands that attract wildlife, it would have been a preferred place to settle even under the harsh circumstances the Acadians endured.

According to the City of Charlottetown’s website, the Upton Farmlands has been owned and operated by historically significant people. The Hon. Stephen Rice was a physician with the British at the Battle of Waterloo. His descendants, the Jenkins family, owned and operated this farm for several decades. Dr. J.T. Jenkins (1829-1919), built a horse trotting park there in the 1870’s. Dr. Jenkins held the reputation of being the most prominent breeder and importer of race horses in Eastern Canada at the time. His grandson, Colonel (Dr.) Jack S. Jenkins (1887-1972), was a cattle breeder and farmer and became established as a successful medical practitioner and surgical pioneer. His wife, Louise Jenkins, was the first woman to fly in PEI, and is listed as one of the first female pilots in Canada. She was the proud owner of her own plane, Puss Moth.

Dr. Jenkins became an accomplished pilot on PEI in 1930 and played a major role in aviation by developing the first Island airport. Pilot Erroll Boyd and navigator Harry Connor were guests at Upton Farm on their way across the Atlantic. Boyd was the first Canadian to pilot a plane across the Atlantic ocean.

The Jenkins’ architectural talent was also well-known and written about. Visiting guests would be ushered in through a driveway emerging from a little wood to find a picturesque home with gardens sloping down to the North River.

Dr Jenkins eventually sold part of the property to the Federal Department of Agriculture in 1948. The site was operated as a research station for nearly 50 years. It operated as a dairy farm, and crops were still grown in 2007.

In 2001, the land was transferred to Canada Lands Company.

The Upton Farmlands is still a beautiful, pastoral piece of green property that slopes down to the North River and still attracts many birds and wildlife. It has become a very popular spot for walkers, birdwatchers, children playing, folks in wheelchairs, joggers, dog walkers, etc. It is a special place and a large part of our heritage.

Our belief is that this wonderful farm should be preserved as part of the heritage of the City of Charlottetown and maintained as a sanctuary where people can go and view the wonderful vistas and views. There are few things and places in life that haven’t changed drastically over the years. We have the opportunity to save this unspoiled part of our history, let’s not squander it.

If you would like more information, please check out our website at


Ref: City of Charlottetown /search/record

CAHS PEI “Carl F. Burke MBE” Chapter Newsletter June 2006

1752 census PEI Government

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