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NINE MILE CREEK, P.E.I. - Ellen Jones is steering her horses in a new direction.
After running into a hefty hurdle to move her horse therapy operation to Meadow Bank, Jones now hopes to purchase property in Nine Mile Creek.
Jones, owner/operator of the Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals, plans to drop her appeal to Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) over the province’s decision to deny her application to subdivide property from a parcel of land along Hyde Point Road to relocate her six specially trained horses, build a house and construct a barn.
The Department of Communities, Land and Environment shot down her application to subdivide 4.6 acres in Meadow Bank, ruling the application did not conform with the province’s special planning area provisions.
Jones believes her appeal would have been successful, but she chose not to take on the legal expense and effort to go that route.
Instead, she is looking to purchase 7.5 acres of land in Nine Mile Creek to build a one-story house and a 4,800-square foot barn.
If all goes well, she adds, construction of the barn and house could begin in the spring and the business could open in the summer.
The province’s special planning area provisions does not apply to Nine Mile Creek, but Jones still needs IRAC to approve the purchase of subdivided property and then she must apply to Community, Lands and Environment for a building permit.
The Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals was uprooted when the province expropriated Jones’ property to pave the way for construction of the Cornwall bypass. Jones needed to take the government to court to get what she believed the property was worth.
She was awarded nearly $300,000 in additional compensation for a total of $831,800.
The Hughes-Jones Centre has been in operation for 10 years, incorporating horses in developing life skills, empowerment and leadership skills.
Jones has ceased operation since October 2017 but is eager to restart the business with her horses, which are currently being housed in a stable in Desable.
She says her goal “has always been about affecting change in the community.’’
Her initial pursuit to relocate the business in Meadow Bank met with vocal and angry opposition at a public meeting in Cornwall in September.
Emotions ran high as concerns were raised over everything from increased traffic to the smell of horse manure.
The property she hopes to buy in Nine Mile Creek is on a road where a kennel is operated on one property and horses roam on another.
“It is a special piece of land,’’ she says.