FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 6, 2022
Statement by Peter Bevan-Baker on loss of Island farmland
The Island is seeing significant loss of farmland.
Successive Liberal and Tory governments delayed implementing a land-use plan despite numerous recommendations and calls for action going back 50 years. As the adage goes, they’re not making more land. This delay and failure to act is hurting our farmers now and will hurt them in the future.
A recent report by Statistics Canada showed a steep decline in the amount of farmland on PEI. The King government, in another example of a worrying trend, refused to answer questions from the media on this decline. They even appeared to cast doubt on the validity of the census data collected by Statistics Canada, one of the most reputable and reliable sources of information in the country.
Islanders deserve a government that is committed to the protection of farmland. The state of land protection under this Conservative government stands in stark contrast with the legacy of Angus MacLean, the Conservative Premier who brought in the Lands Protection Act.
Although our population is growing quickly and we need more development to ensure adequate housing is available, this development does not have to come at the expense of farmland.
Urbanization can happen in a way that’s harmonious with protecting agricultural land by promoting denser development in Island municipalities. This would not only retain more farmland—it would help municipalities support their population growth without having to sprawl, which is expensive and harmful to the environment. With greater density, it would also be easier and more cost-effective to deliver local services.
Our Island succeeds when our urban and rural communities are thriving together. A Green government would prioritize the creation of a land-use plan for all of Prince Edward Island that protects farmland. We would work with municipalities to ensure more density in developments, and work with the farming community to promote succession planning and other means to keep agricultural land in production.
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