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Hughes-Jones horse centre owner plans to appeal rejected application

Ellen Jones hopes to relocate her 10-year-old quarter horse named Ruby along with five other specially-trained horses to a property in Meadow Bank to get her therapeutic horse farm up and running again.
Ellen Jones hopes to relocate her 10-year-old quarter horse named Ruby along with five other specially-trained horses to a property in Meadow Bank to get her therapeutic horse farm up and running again. - Jim Day

MEADOW BANK - The owner of a horse therapy operation plans to fight the province’s decision to deny her application to subdivide a property in Meadow Bank to allow her to relocate the business.

Ellen Jones, owner/operator of Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals, told The Guardian Monday she expects her lawyer to file an appeal with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission by the end of the week.

The province shot down her application to subdivide 4.6 acres from a parcel of land along Hyde Point Road to relocate her six specially trained horses, build a house and construct a 55-by-70-foot barn.

Wayne MacKinnon, spokesman for the Department of Communities, Land and Environment, would not detail specifics behind the decision to deny the application, stating only that the application did not conform with the province’s special planning area provisions.

The proposed developed, he says, “Is not consistent with other things in the area.’’

RELATED: P.E.I. government denies Meadow Bank land application for Hughes-Jones horse therapy centre

RELATED: Neigh-sayers: Heated concerns raised at Cornwall meeting over proposed horse therapy operation

Jones says the province has not given her sufficient information for her to truly understand why her application has been rejected.

Why, for instance, is her proposed development deemed premature for the area and in what way would the Hughes-Jones Centre have a detrimental impact?

She has plenty more questions too.

Rowdy, a quarter horse at the Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals, gets some attention from, Marie-Soleil Gaudreau, from left, Olivia and Leah MacPhail during Open Farm Day on P.E.I. in this file photo. Rowdy is one of 16 horses at the centre used to not only teach riding, but also life lessons such as leadership and respect.
Rowdy, a quarter horse at the Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals, gets some attention from, Marie-Soleil Gaudreau, from left, Olivia and Leah MacPhail during Open Farm Day on P.E.I. in this file photo. Rowdy is one of 16 horses at the centre used to not only teach riding, but also life lessons such as leadership and respect.

In what way is HJC incompatible with surrounding land uses?

How does the development of the property show due regard for topography, traffic generation and the provision of lots suitable for the intended use?

Is this only a subdivision issue?

“The above issues suggest that anywhere within any special planning areas we are due to be rejected,’’ says Jones. “This limits our ability to make an informed decision on any future land purchase within a special area - an area meant to exist to protect the rural landscape of which I’m pretty certain horses are a part of – which, of course, is exactly the most viable area for an equine business.’’

Jones says she has received an outpouring of love, support and offers of land.

“I am beyond grateful of the generosity of time and efforts people have taken to track us down and discuss potential options,’’ she says.

“It has been a true testament to our Island community and sincerely warmed my heart. All of the land at this point has been lovely in its own right, however, our future home for HJC has to suit the business, the home and the horses.’’

Jones had her business uprooted when the province expropriated her property to pave the way for construction of the Cornwall bypass.

She needed to take the government to court to get what she believed the property, which was home to her operation for 10 years, was worth.

RELATED: P.E.I.'s Hughes-Jones Centre gets additional $295K in bypass dispute

She was awarded nearly $300,000 in additional compensation for a total of $831,800.

The Hughes-Jones Centre, which has been in limbo for the past year, incorporates horses in developing life skills, empowerment, esteem and leadership skills.’’

jim.day@theguardian.pe.ca

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