Archive for the ‘You can help’ Category

MEMBERSHIPS

July 10, 2014

If you are not already a member, and would like to become one for the 2014/2015 year, please let me know! You can reach me at uptonfarm@gmail.com

The annual membership fee is $10 and will give you voting rights and help support Upton.

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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.

 

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

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

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

riley-and-chester.jpg

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

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.

PLEASE SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION

April 19, 2007

To all our supporters:

Please take a minute to add your name to our on-line petition, even if you have already signed the paper petition that is being circulated by our group.

 http://www.petitiononline.com/Upton/petition.html

Public pressure will make a difference.

“The future depends on what we do in the present.”

                                                                    ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Open Letter to Canada Lands

March 22, 2007

Canada Lands Company, the federal crown corporation that is selling the Upton Farmlands for subdivisions, has the decision-making power to allow the people of Canada to keep this publicly-owned land as greenspace. One of our supporters wrote the letter you see below to Mr. Robert Howald, president, and Mr. Gordon McIvor, vice-president,  of Canada Lands. Would you consider sending the same type of letter to these powerful decision-makers in Toronto?

Mr. Robert Howald, President
Mr. Gordon McIvor, Vice President
Canada Lands Corporation
1 University Avenue
Suite 1200
Toronto ON
M5J 2P1

email: rhowald@clc.ca

Dear Mr. Howald and Mr. McIvor,

On Monday, Feb. 26, 2007, I attended a town hall meeting to address people’s concerns and questions with regard to the planned development of the Upton Farm Lands on Prince Edward Island. There were well over 75 people in attendance and a show of hands just before the end of the meeting indicated that not one person there was in favour of the development. Many expressed concerns of the recent decision by City Council to go ahead with approval for this development when there are still many questions to be addressed.

Some of the concerns expressed at the meeting included:

*no report back to the public about the traffic study and no opportunity for public input in response to the traffic study;

*no environmental impact studies have been done;

*it has been a year since the last public meeting and many feel that they have not been kept informed of what is going on with this development nor have they had an opportunity for further input;

*many people who live in the area expressed concern for the increased volume of traffic that will be generated by this development.

I often go to the Upton Farm to walk with my dog as it is one of the few remaining areas close to Charlottetown where one can walk one’s dog off lead. I would like this parcel of land to remain a green space, open to the public. It is very important that as cities grow, adequate green spaces are left available to the public for their enjoyment, health and recreation. Why does another beautiful piece of land have to be developed? Already there are many areas around the edge of Charlottetown slotted for development, in fact, presently there are some 273 lots available for residential buildings. For a city the size of Charlottetown do we really need to add another 350 to this as the planned development of Upton Farms indicates. There is so little crown land on Prince Edward Island and so much is privately owned it is essential that as much land is kept as public green space for present and future generations of Islanders to enjoy and treasure.

There is now a group of concerned people working to prevent this development and a petition with over 1000 signatures is been sent to various officials. Perhaps you have already received this petition. I hope you will give serious consideration to these concerns and support the group in its bid to preserve this beautiful piece of land as a public green space by putting a stop to this development. The more urban sprawl dominates our city landscapes the more the government of Canada should be working with all levels of government and its citizens to ensure plenty of green spaces in and around cities and towns are preserved and maintained. Please visit the group’s website at https://uptonfarm.wordpress.com to read more about the concerns and issues raised by the Upton Farm Land Preservation Group.

The Upton Farm Lands Preservation Group says: “Our group believes that since this land was bought and paid for once by the taxpayers of Canada it should be left for the people of Canada. It should be remain as greenspace for social and environmental reasons. The recreational value is immeasureable, as are the benefits from an urban forest to aid with air purification.” I agree wholeheartedly with this assessment.

The support for the preservation of this land is growing and we are working to prevent this development from going ahead.

Sincerely,

Birthplace Initiative

March 16, 2007

The Confederation Birthplace intiative website wants to know how YOU would spend some of the $2 million funding provided to Charlottetown to develop it as the Birthplace of Confederation.

From the website:

“In October, 2006, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency announced a commitment of $2-million as core funding for the Confederation Birthplace Initiative (CBI), a strategic effort designed to further develop Charlottetown’s unique position as the Birthplace of Confederation. The primary goal of the Initiative is to provide funding support for initiatives that contribute to enshrining Charlottetown in the minds of all Canadians as the Birthplace of Confederation from which Canada has grown and developed.”

Some of our members have gone to the website and provided this kind of input:

  •  “Leave the Upton Farmlands free of development and let a natural greenbelt greet visitors to Charlottetown. Left natural, it will be a reminder of what it looked like at the time of Confederation and will be much more memorable than anything artificial and contrived.”

 Can we ask you to do the same? www.bcinc.pe.ca/cbisurvey.htm