Land use planning in Kings County, Prince Edward Island

Scott, David
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University of Guelph

The Province of Prince Edward Island is a province blessed with a great deal of assets. The landscape is among the most beautiful in the world. However, rural PEI is encountering a dual problem; uncontrolled development of its rural countryside, and a lack of mechanisms to ensure necessary, controlled development. Land use in many parts of the rural areas of the province are overseen by the provincial government, who without province-wide land use policies, or procedures for public notification and participation, have not been able to direct orderly development. The result has been the loss of environment and natural resources to ribbon development, cottage lot along shrinking shorelines, and growing concern among Islanders. While many on the Island recognize the need to change governance in rural PEI to halt the disappearance of the land they hold as precious, there is no consensus, up to this point, about what could be done. It is the purpose of this paper to offer a potential solution. As the smallest and hardest hit in terms of population loss in the province, Kings County provides a case study that, if successful, could provide a unique answer to the land use problem in PEI; the establishment of a County Planning Board to administer a number of tasks at a regional level that would not be achievable in many of the small communities in the County (such as land use planning, economic development, by-law enforcement and building inspection). Though further study would be required, it is believed that this would be the most cost effective way to manage these responsibilities. It is the hoped that this paper can form the basis of a blueprint for successful land use planning and governance in rural Prince Edward Island.

land use planning, land use policy, legislation, development, rural, governance