“Such blatant disregard for the Act is upsetting for many Islanders,” said Ms. Beaton.
Charlottetown, PE – Recent revelations about how corporations are exploiting loopholes in the Lands Protection Act seem to confirm what Islanders have been suggesting for years. Despite the Opposition bringing concerns about corporations circumventing the Act in the Legislature during the last sitting of the House, the government has done nothing to investigate these concerns.
“On July 10 of this year I rose to speak on this issue in the Legislature,” stated Michele Beaton, Opposition Critic for Agriculture and Lands. “When I asked the Minister about this problem, he stated he was unaware of any issue. I then asked him if he would investigate these concerns. At that time, he said he would look into it if it came across his desk. Well, the evidence has been put across his desk. Will the Minister to now act upon it, review the Lands Protection Act, and report back to Islanders just how big this problem is?”
The Act was created to protect the limited land resources we have on Prince Edward Island. It limits the amount of land a person or corporation could own. These limitations mean Islanders would continue to enjoy the freedom to govern their own affairs, both private and public, as it relates to land use and ownership while providing prudent, balanced, and steadfast stewardship of the province’s ecology, environment, and lands.
A recent Guardian news article on August 13, 2019 showed that a transaction by Haslemere Farms, a corporation owned by a member of the Irving family, to purchase Brendel Farms exploited a loophole in the Act. This was done in a manner that circumvents the Act as a previous request for the sale of the land to a group of companies owned by Irving family members was denied by Executive Council on March 26, 2019. A representative for Haslemere Farms (now known as Red Fox Acres) did not dispute this when questioned about it in the news article.
“Such blatant disregard for the Act is upsetting for many Islanders,” said Ms. Beaton. “As soon as these facts became evident, I spoke with the Minister responsible for Agriculture and Land, reminding him of his government’s commitment to uphold the Lands Protection Act. I have also written a letter to the Chair of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability asking for an extensive formal review of the Act. These loopholes must be closed. We must protect and be faithful stewards of our limited land resources.”
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