Upton Farm site plan
By Heidi Hyndman (guest opinion)
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to Reginald Walsh’s “Farm questions require answers” letter to the Editor on July 9, 2014.
First of all, I want to thank Mr. Walsh for signing the petition to “Save Upton Farm.’ Public support was critical in preserving this beautiful land. Here is some background information on the property.
In 2006, the Upton Farm Preservation Network (UFPN) was created in an attempt to preserve Upton (then owned by Canada Lands Corporation) from impending sale and development. In the end, and after a great deal of negotiation, the land was transferred to the newly created Upton Farm Trust Inc. in 2011, via the provincial Government.
The Trust’s mandate is to preserve and protect Upton for the long term and provide green space for all Islanders. NAPA (The Natural Areas Protections Act) was chosen as the best possible way to safeguard the land down the line. For example, NAPA does not allow the selling/subdividing/severing any part of the land, will not allow any use of pesticides, nor will it allow for any development.
This was our best option to protect Upton and preserve it as green space for generations to come. Upton is a nature reserve first and foremost, with passive recreation and cultural objectives playing a secondary role.
Upton is located at the entrance to the City of Charlottetown from the west. The P.E.I. Government requested the 2014 sign be placed on our property and we allowed it. While Upton is owned by a Trust, both the City and the Province were instrumental in preserving Upton and have helped Upton in numerous ways.
Also, Upton was a recipient of P.E.I. 2014 funds via The Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project, which is in the process of creating a new four-hectare Acadian Forest on Upton. Therefore, the board felt that a temporary sign was appropriate in this case. As for the City ‘garden and sign’, these too are temporary.
We recently received the final version of the Master Plan for Upton Farmlands. You can access this plan and much more information about Upton on our website, www.uptonfarmlands.com.
In this plan you will see that only a small portion of the 138 acres will be designated as ‘off leash’. We are still in the process of implementing this aspect as well as others. All of Upton is open to the public. The plan is a guideline that this and future boards will use to help steer Upton. Some projects will occur in the short term and some in the long term.
The Trust is run by a small board of volunteers and so your patience is appreciated. As for who is ‘running’ the Trust, this information is also available at the above mentioned website. You can also find information there regarding become a member of the Trust.
For those who have not yet been to Upton, I urge you to go and see for yourself what a gift to Islanders it truly is.
Heidi Hyndman is President, Upton Farm Trust Inc.