Don’t use Upton land for housing

This Letter to the Editor from Charlottetown resident Tom Connor was published in the Guardian on Feb. 14, 2007

Editor: Andrew Chisholm (‘Room at Upton Farm for development, too’, The Guardian, Feb. 12, 2007) presents some thoughtful arguments in regard to the Upton Farm development, but he also presents some inaccuracies which weaken his case.The Canada Lands Proposal for Upton Farm calls for high-density residential development. In fact, there is no lack of such land, already developed in Charlottetown. I am able to list at least seven sub-divisions which are no more than 50 per cent taken up, comprising in total hundreds of lots for ‘starter’ and high-density usage. All are at least as close to downtown as Upton. Available lands would enable this factor to be multiplied several times.Mr. Chisholm says there would be “a major boost in tax revenues.” However, any increase in tax revenues would be, at best, neutral, since taxes should be geared to pay for the services provided. The amount levied should equal the amount needed. There would be no surplus or tax “profit.” Law, common sense, and experience tell us this is so. In the meantime, citizens will have lost a highly desirable recreational amenity.To make a further point, the city has a policy of trying to develop and re-populate the downtown. There is currently construction, and there are proposals to address the same residential population group as the Upton proposal. However, for the Canada Lands proposal to achieve the same objective would require both mass transit (a tax expense), and more auto traffic (a serious nuisance which entails environmental pollution, as well as personal and tax expense). More likely people will omit downtown from their shopping list.

On balance, the housing proposal for Upton Farm should be shelved, and the land used in such a way as to make Charlottetown more attractive for other development.