Woman who fought P.E.I. government over land says goodbye to home

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Woman who fought P.E.I. government over land says goodbye to home

Ellen Jones, who fought the P.E.I. provincial government for two years over the expropriation of her land for the Cornwall bypass, is saying her final goodbye to her home this week.

Jones has packed up the last of her things including her horses, who will live at another farm for now, and says it's been an emotional time. 

"I'd just ask people to imagine to watch something that you built with your dad that was supposed to house your dream that you've had since you were 15, knowing that it was going to be torn down for a road." Jones said.

'Not something that I would wish on anybody'

Jones took the province to court last year during the expropriation process and was awarded an additional $295,389 in compensation, bringing the total amount paid for her farm to more than $830,000.

"It's not something that I would wish on anybody, and I know my neighbours are still going through the process," she said. 

"They're seeing land disappear that they've farmed for generations. So my heart's with them still — for us, this is kind of the last day of a long chapter and hopefully tomorrow is the start of something new."

The 32-hectare (79-acre) property is the only one involving buildings that was expropriated.

It was home to the Hughes-Jones Centre, which provided riding lessons and is an equine therapeutic facility. that included a three-storey home and office as well as riding arena. 

Now, Jones said she wants to rebuild — but finding land in the area has been difficult. 

"We knew when we started this process was always going to be a challenge, and it still is challenging." she said.

Education and politics a part of plans

Jones has been studying coaching at an undergraduate level at Cambridge University and and plans to offer programming to empower women and girls, incorporating her horses.

"I'm looking to continue to work with women and girls in targeted programs, working towards leadership development and empowerment in our women and young girls," she said.

"They have been the heart and soul of this business — they have supported me for 10 years, and I don't feel like I'm done serving them so for me, that's the next step."

Jones also has her eye on politics —  she intends to seek the nomination for the Green Party in District 16.

"I'm hoping that maybe we can bring some change and some value to some voices of the community back again," she said. 

For now, Jones said, she will be staying with family and trying to get her affairs in order, but she also wanted to thank her supporters.

"One of the most amazing things that comes out of something like this, it is learning about your neighbours and who you impacted even though they might not have ever come up your driveway. The cards and phone calls and whatnot that we've been getting throughout this," she said. 

"I have a huge thank you for the town and community of Cornwall, my clients for the past 10 years, and I really hope we can do something special for them moving forward."

The Department of Transportation says a request for proposals for the removal or demolition of the house will be issued soon, and that discussions with other landowners are ongoing. 

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