CBC: Premier asks for delay at Upton Farm

This news report was featured on CBC radio today:

 Premier Pat Binns is asking the federal government to step in to freeze development at Upton Farms, a large green space in the northern part of Charlottetown.

 The Canada Lands Company, the real estate arm of the federal government, already has approval from the city to build a subdivision on part of the 100-hectare site. It had hoped to start construction this spring.

But the premier has sent a letter to federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Lawrence Cannon, asking him to halt any development, although he says the federal government may not have much say when it comes to decisions made by Canada Lands.

Cannon couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

Binns said the province might willing to help buy the land if a suitable partner were to step forward.

“We’re potentially interested here. We’re prepared to look at that,” said Binns, although he doesn’t see one arm of government buying land from another arm of government as the best use of taxpayers’ money.

“We would prefer if the federal government, having the dollars in surplus capacity, would not look at this as a revenue need for themselves, that they would look at it and say a community need exists here, and we would rather put our money into the development of green space.”

In the face of protests, the Charlottetown city council asked the company a month ago to withdraw its development application.

Canada Lands says it won’t rush into any decision on the future of the land.