P.E.I. could have land bank by fall

Ryan Ross
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A P.E.I. tractor at work. FILE PHOTO

Island farmers who are looking to get out of the business but want to see their land kept up for agricultural use may soon have a new option as the province moves closer to starting a land bank.

In an interview with The Guardian, Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said a group of deputy ministers is working on the issue in order to figure out the benefits without getting into the potential pitfalls of a plan of that size.

“We’ve laid out the parameters under which we’d like the plan to look like but at this point hopefully for the fall we’ll have something in place that would provide this type of entry.”

The idea of a land bank to help retiring farmers transition out of the industry and help new farmers move into it is nothing new.

P.E.I. had a land development corporation in the 1970s and 1980s.

A new land bank was also part of the Liberal election platform in 2011 and more recently Lands Protection Act commissioner Horace Carver recommended it in a report he released in November.

A potential land bank could see retiring farmers sell their holding which would then be sold or leased to other farmers in order to keep it in agricultural production.

Sheridan said in developing a new plan, the government wanted to look at something similar to the old land development corporation.

As for why it has taken so long to get the land bank in place, Sheridan said it’s a complicated, costly endeavour and the government needs to ensure everyone will be treated fairly.

“It’s not a real simple lending program.”

Sheridan said the government is looking at different options for how the land could be moved between one farmer and another while still considering the costs for the province.

“I don’t think the province wants to own these assets and that’s where we have to be very careful that we don’t get ourselves into that kind of a situation.”

How many acres would be on the market at one time and if there will be any cost to taxpayers is still unclear because the parameters haven’t been set yet, Sheridan said.

“That’s the type of thing we have to look at is just to try to decide what it is we’re trying to accomplish and what is the best way to do it.”

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

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Recent comments

  • reader
    May 28, 2014 - 10:54

    Guardian, don't take this off the front page, -- this is just not right, making taxpayers fund retirement packages for wealth farmers. Stop this drain before it starts, - it is vote buying and patronage rolled into one, --- a whole new bunch of civil servants to be hired, - and picked to choose whomever the government tells them . Disgusting, ---- all together.

  • harold
    May 28, 2014 - 07:35

    There needs to be a better explanation than this to ask taxpayers to support a retirement profit for farmers. This has a;ll the earmarks of a boon doggle, - and where are the money coming from to sit on land for possibly long periods of time, perhaps ending up selling for a loss in the end? Where are the opposition parties on this? Time to speak out .folks, - this is a bad deal for the average taxpayers, ----the Government must he asked for an explanation and public meetings should be called for.

  • Andrew
    May 28, 2014 - 07:27

    This is a terrible initiative, - setting up and whole new burocracy to run this for one thing and the capital cost and the patronage component for an other. The Land Development Corporation was set up as part of the Development Plan, that had the money to do it with. It had a purpose other than insure retirement profits for farmers, namely to consolidate the small farm into larger more efficient operations. This is pure vote buying, there is no reason to intervene in the real estate market place , it is not the Governments place to secure a certain segment of our society a comfortable retirement on the back of the taxpayers. . It is just plain wrong headed

  • Craig
    May 27, 2014 - 18:50

    "Any cost to the taxpayer is still unclear" means the taxpayer will end up footing the bill upfront to buy the land and be stuck with it if it cannot be sold unless price is discounted! Government stay out of real estate your no good at it for one and you cannot handle what's on your plate now! 3 billion debt

  • walter
    May 27, 2014 - 18:31

    Is it just me or are these politicians unable to string sentences together that makes sense. In on end of the article they have developed parameters and at the end the are trying to set out the parameters, --- which is it, have they or are they going to, - what hogwash he spouts, and the fact is this would cost a fortune and be an ideal pork-barrel /patronage heaven, - so let us scream--- we don't want that, - this can't be developed by these idiots.

  • joe
    May 27, 2014 - 17:00

    the best solution is to keep government out of it ! Their track record speaks for itself !!!!

  • rob
    May 27, 2014 - 15:49

    does anybody else see a major cluster (blank)!!.on the way with mr sheridan at the helm.. ? this will only benifit a select few,and we know who they will be!!!...wait for it...