Agreement to grow protected areas and urban forest
Islanders will see more protected greenspace in the Hillsborough Park area as part of an agreement to offset construction impacting the Royalty Oaks protected area.
“We engaged with residents of Hillsborough Park and surrounding communities, as well as local conservationists and watershed groups, to come up with a plan that adds to our protected green spaces, supports active transportation and bike lanes, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthens public safety. We will add new land to Royalty Oaks natural area and, in partnership with the Department of Social Development and Housing, we will seek protection for an additional 28-acres around Wright’s Creek and close to Royalty Oaks.”
- Environment, Water and Climate Change Minister Natalie Jameson
Specifically, government will follow the advice of the Natural Area Protection Act technical advisory committee and:
- Designate new protected areas next to the existing Royalty Oaks natural area to offset the loss of .76 acre to the 10.84-acre protected area; and,
- Ensure the Technical Advisory Committee works with the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy’s environmental coordinator to review and provide feedback on the environmental management plan for the project to ensure the least amount of interference possible.
Government will also pursue Natural Areas Protection Act designation for a 28-acre parcel along Wright’s Creek in Hillsborough Park, close to Royalty Oaks. This will strengthen the watersheds and green spaces network in the neighbourhood and city of Charlottetown.
The Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy is adding a bike lane and additional right turning lane from the arterial bypass highway onto St. Peter’s Road. This improvement will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, commuter and idling time, improve air quality and public safety, and allow for free-flowing traffic; however, it requires removing the protection designation from approximately .76 acres of Royalty Oaks land.
Public consultations were held from May 9 through May 23, 2020. During this time, 124 written submissions from the public were received. An additional 34 people participated in the public tours of the site offered by the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy.
Department of Environment, Water and Climate Change
The Royalty Oaks protected area was established to protect a hardwood grove with historical and biological attributes within the city. The mature stand contains large, old red oak trees.
The Natural Areas Protection Act (NAPA) is used to protect areas across the province that still contain special ecological features. Natural areas include both public and private lands and may cover an entire property or just a specific area within a property.
As of Jan. 31, 2020, PEI’s protected and conserved area network was at 24,848 hectares or 4.38 per cent of PEI protected as Natural Areas under the Act. About 1/4 of these lands are owned and managed by individuals and by private organizations.
Sites designated as Natural Areas may include those with rare or uncommon plant species, unique geological features, special habitats or habitats that are ecologically fragile and therefore, require additional protection.
When properties, or portions of properties, are proposed for designation under NAPA, management plans are prepared and the public and interested groups are asked to provide comments.
Additional designations proposed in the above plan will undergo public consultation in the coming months.