The Federation of PEI Municipalities is calling for interim measures and resources for municipal land use planning to protect the Island’s landscape.
“Our land provides us with resources. It fuels our economy. It permeates our way of life. It supports our well-being,” said President Bruce MacDougall, at the Federation’s Semi-Annual Meeting in the City of Summerside on Saturday.
MacDougall said PEI’s record population growth and a housing crisis have put unprecedented pressure on our finite resource of land. For example, he noted PEI lost an average of 39 acres of farmland a day from 2016 to 2021.
The Federation is pressing for interim measures to regulate subdivision and development until a provincewide land use planning framework is in place. “Interim measures are not about stopping development,” MacDougall said. “They are about directing development to more appropriate areas. They are about building housing in a way that’s more efficient and affordable – and less damaging to our environment and landscape.”
MacDougall noted land use planning is just one vital municipal service. He underlined that PEI municipalities need more revenue sources to fund ever-expanding responsibilities.
He welcomed the PEI government’s commitment to negotiate a fair and equitable funding formula for municipalities. The Federation has asked the Province to reduce the provincial property tax inside municipalities, so municipalities can raise their rates – and revenues – without Islanders paying more overall. This proposal could also help reduce the damaging effects of sprawling development by reducing the financial incentives to develop outside municipal centres, where taxes are lower.
MacDougall said ultimately, provincewide coverage of municipalities is needed to ensure viable municipal governments, local representation, and effective services like land use planning.
The Semi-Annual Meeting also featured an address from Housing, Land and Communities Minister Rob Lantz; an update on the State of the Island Report; presentations with new perspectives on land use and climate action; municipal success stories; and information on the Reception Centre Resiliency Program.