It's time for government action, says P.E.I.'s Land Matters Advisory Committee

·2 min read
The committee recommends land limits on P.E.I. should remain the same: 1,000 acres for individuals and 3,000 for corporations.  (CBC - image credit)
The committee recommends land limits on P.E.I. should remain the same: 1,000 acres for individuals and 3,000 for corporations. (CBC - image credit)

P.E.I.'s Land Matters Advisory Committee and other concerned groups say it's time for the government to act on regulating land use before it's too late.

The committee recently issued its final report, which includes 13 recommendations on how land use, ownership and planning can be improved on the Island.

The report is the seventh on land use in P.E.I. in the last 50 years.

But this time, those behind it say change can't wait.

"We're seeing population explosion, we're seeing ribbon development, there's climate change, there's environmental degradation," said Lori Robinson, the advisory committee's co-chair.

"So I think … as we continue down the road that we're on, it becomes more and more apparent that we have to stop talking about it and finally get on with it and do something about it."

The recommendations include:

  • Land limits should remain the same: 1,000 acres for individuals and 3,000 for corporations.

  • The limits should be reviewed every five years.

  • The authority of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission should be expanded to allow it to do investigations and audits.

  • Rules covering who owns land and who controls it need to be tightened.

  • P.E.I. should develop a province-wide land use plan, as currently only 10 per cent of the province is under land use planning.

"We sense that there's a public opinion now, there's a lot more appetite to move ahead with this now and deal with some of these issues that have in the past, kind of, nobody seemed to be able to kind of muster the forces," said committee co-chair Jim Bradley.

Shane Hennessey/CBC
Shane Hennessey/CBC

The committee heard from close to 300 Islanders through a public survey.

It also heard presentations from 20 interest groups, including the National Farmers Union.

If we don't recognize that today, that we are slowly losing our Island, it's going to be too late, and then, where are we going to be? — Doug Campbell

It worries about the sale of farm land for housing developments or to big corporations, which could jeopardize the sustainability of farms and rural communities.

"If we don't recognize that today, that we are slowly losing our Island, it's going to be too late, and then, where are we going to be?" said Doug Campbell, the farm organization's district director.

The committee said it recognizes some of its recommendations will take time, but others can happen sooner.

The province has stated it was waiting for the report in order to make changes to the Lands Protection Act, which could come this fall.

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