Update (8): St Peters Rd/Angus Dr

The public meeting on Tuesday, 22 June, was called to allow Melʼs Convenience owner Mr MacIsaac to present a Request For Reconsideration in an attempt to persuade City Council to reverse its original 12 April decision to reject the resolution that would have approved his rezoning application.

As a reminder, a Request for Reconsideration [Section 3.15 in the Zoning & Development Bylaw] is permitted when “the applicant or an aggrieved person feels that the decision is unjustified or unwarranted”. Furthermore, “Council shall give all interested persons an opportunity to be heard”.

During this public meeting, the first speaker was Mr MacIsaac, who was allowed to speak for fifteen minutes, starting with a bit of history, and admitting that its becoming a PEI Liquor Agency Store is what has made Melʼs so popular.

The next speaker was Stephen Yeo, the provinceʼs Director of Capital Projects, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Was his participation necessary and a standard part of a rezoning application reconsideration process? The City clearly believed it was justified and, with Mr Yeoʼs introduction “that a few details werenʼt presented well enough” at the last public meeting, provided him with another opportunity to express the Provinceʼs rationale for constructing “better facilities” and “a better design or more efficient design”. Mr Yeo was allowed to speak for fourteen minutes on how a roundabout at Angus Drive will make driving easier, safer, faster, more efficient, and accommodate tens of thousands of vehicles.

Public participantsʼ contributions were limited to five minutes, with a large timer facing them that counted down the minutes and seconds. How nerve-wracking must this be for a person unaccustomed to speaking in public? Or for someone who may have spent hours composing their written comment, only to be cut off because it took more than five minutes (interruptions included) to read the entire text out loud?

Particularly worth listening to: Angus Drive residents Laura Morgan and Patty Goode.


The fact that East Royalty has expanded — according to its original concept of single-family houses — in recent years without a reliable public transit service has left residents with little choice but to rely on personal vehicles as their sole method of transportation.

The entire St Peters Road project is geared to favour motor vehicles. Indeed, the concerns about safety and efficiency disproportionately benefits drivers. In contrast, pedestrians, cyclists, and other active travellers are left with a fraction of the road space. The public transportation schedule is minimal with two runs in the morning to Charlottetown and two (?) runs in the evening to East Royalty.

Both the Province and the City continue to perpetuate a car-dominated vision with plans for more roads or wider roads. Why are cars still being prioritized? Drivers first, pedestrians and cyclists second? When will transportation planners and policy-makers make public transit/active travel more equitable and inclusive in Charlottetown and on PEI?

While Mr MacIsaac had his reasons to request a reconsideration of City Councilʼs decision to reject his rezoning application, the provinceʼs Transportation Department could have been more creative in proposing “better facilities” and “a better design or more efficient design” that would have benefitted all road users alike. Examples are not hard to find. Instead, a confuse-divide-and-conquer tactic was used that has left residents in two wards on opposing sides, with choices that really satisfied none of them.

As for City councillors, the majority has yet again failed to propose a more equitable share-the-road solution to promote mobility designed for people, not vehicles. In so doing, those councillors have sacrificed the well-being and safety of Charlottetown residents to advance the agenda of a business owner and the Department of Transportation.


The East Royalty Master Plan (pp. 93-155 in the Official Plan) was adopted in 2015. Just as the Charlottetown Official Plan was conceived in 1999 with a vision and strategic directions, so too was the East Royalty Master Plan. Just as the Official Plan has never fully been reviewed since its adoption, so too can one surmise that the East Royalty Master Plan has not been reviewed to take societal and (extreme) environmental changes into account.

In the intervening six years, global warming has accelerated to the point that countless cities have declared a climate emergency, the intent being to set priorities to mitigate climate change. Charlottetownʼs City Council voted unanimously on a resolution in 2019 that recognized and declared the climate breakdown an emergency, yet has implemented few significant measures to reduce CO2 emissions.

Nevertheless, the following sections from the East Royalty Master Plan specifically emphasize walking and the pedestrian experience:

2.0 THE EAST ROYALTY MASTER PLAN
2.3. Vision
Above all, East Royalty will incorporate best practices for sustainability and active transportation, leading to a community that promotes healthy lifestyles. Planning for the East Royalty Area will promote safe residential neighbourhoods that are planned based on the concept of RSVP – Resilient, Sustainable, Vibrant and Pedestrian-friendly.

APPENDIX A
Section 2.2 RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
Residential development within the East Royalty Master Plan will include a variety of housing types that address the street and open spaces to enhance the pedestrian experience.

APPENDIX B. Design Guidelines
Section 2.1 ROADS Ensure pedestrian access throughout the community by providing sidewalks and trails throughout the community; and,
•Promote tree‐lined and well‐shaded streets to create sense of comfort and promote walking and cycling
Section 2.1.1 St. Peter’s Road/Arterial Roads
Arterial Roads will have minimum 1.8 metre bicycle lanes on both sides, as well as minimum 1.8 metre sidewalks on both sides.

2.2.2 Streetscaping for Transit
Seven points including:
Transit stops should be designed to offer amenities such as seating areas and weather protection. Benches and other roadside furniture such as waste baskets, bike racks, telephones, notice boards, newspaper boxes and refuse containers should be concentrated at bus stops along the main street collectors to maximize their utility and create active public space. [Wowza! Where are these dream stops?!]


A report and resolution on Dan MacIsaacʼs Request for Reconsideration is being held during the Special Meeting of Council, Monday, June 28, 2021 (agenda).

CBC report: “Those for and against Angus Drive access road have their say again

Recent goings-on at City Hall

June 7: Special Meeting of Council

  1. Who bears the brunt of road resurfacing costs?

Moved by Councillor Terry MacLeod, Seconded by Councillor Mike Duffy
RESOLVED:
That, as per the conditions of the Tender for “2021 Street Resurfacing”, the submission of Island Construction Ltd. in the amount of $1,650,356.25 (plus all applicable taxes) be accepted,
And that, the Capital Budget for Street Resurfacing be increased by $555,387.50 to cover all the costs of Asphalt testing services, line painting and street resurfacing.
CARRIED 9-0

Video-recording: starts at 7:21


A 2016 blog post entitled Vehicle Weight vs Road Damage Levels states: “For the one dollar’s worth of damage that a car does to a road, a bicycle, travelling the same distance on the same road, would perpetrate $0.0005862 worth of damage.”

A 2021 blog post entitled Road Damage Fees and Profit asks: “Been on a road lately and noticed how absolutely busted it was? Have you also noticed how vehicles today are far larger than in the past? These two things go together because vehicle weight is the main factor that determines road damage.” The writer also corrects the chart used in the 2016 blog post, because even though vehicle weight is important, even more so is axle loading.


2. Plans for a year-round Victoria Park Roadway active transportation lane

Moved by Councillor Terry MacLeod, Seconded by Councillor Mike Duffy
RESOLVED:
That, as per the conditions of the Request for Proposal on “Engineering Services 2 –Victoria Park Roadway and Active Transportation Corridor”, the submission of EXP, in the amount of $41,482.00 (plus all applicable taxes) be accepted. It was noted that this proposal did not go throughthe Parks & Recreation Committee; therefore, it was moved by Councillor Bernard and seconded by Councillor Ramsay that the motion be deferred so the P&R Committee can review the matter.

DEFERRED 9-0
Video-recording: starts at 10:15


The good news: The City is exploring to have the active transportation corridor available year-round on the Victoria Park Roadway. But this is still in the planning stages, with Public Works Manager Scott Adams stating the goal will be present to three options to present to Council and the public for future planning.

The bad news: One of the options could be fitting in two car lanes, a bike lane, and maintaining the parking within the existing footprint (Scott Adams). It was rather mind-boggling to hear Counc. MacLeod say: “I think that our job is to try and present active transporation in all forms, right, whether itʼs walking, biking, or whether itʼs in the car, itʼs all shared services, right, and why shut off one any more than the other, right… ”


3. In whose pockets does the money from Affordable Housing Incentives really wind up in the end?

Mayor Brown welcomed Robert Zilke, Planning Development Officer, to the meeting and asked him to begin his presentation (27:55 worth listening to!).
Mr. Zilke noted that in September 2018, Council approved an Affordable Housing Incentive Program which outlines policy objectives and initiatives that the City would undertake to incentivize affordable housing in the community. Staff recently reviewed the current program and is recommending the following amendments:
– This Program is valid if and/or when the City’s vacancy rate as determined by CMHC’s Quarterly Market Survey1 is less than 3%.
– Property Tax incentive on all new affordable housing units is decreased from 20 years to 10 years:
90% municipal property tax in years 1-2
75% municipal property tax in years 3-4
60% municipal property tax in years 5-6
45% municipal property tax in Year 7-8
30% municipal property tax in Year 9-10
Mr. Zilke further noted that there are no changes to Zoning & Development By-law Incentives which include bonus density, parking requirement reduction and building permit fees exemptions.
There was discussion related to the 3% vacancy rate. Some Members indicated the threshold should be higher, between 3–5%.
It was stressed that the City does have an important role to play in the process for affordable housing; however, most of the financial support for affordable programs comes from the federal and provincial governments.
Mr. Zilke was thanked for his presentation and left the meeting at 6:38 PM.
Council to provide the CAO (Chief Administrative Officer Peter Kelly) with further direction in relation to the proposed 3% vacancy rate.

Video-recording: starts at 19:55

CAO Peter Kelly reminded Council that the current incentive program offers a property tax exemption of up to 100% for a period of up to 20 years. The City has approved the 144 housing units under this program and will therefore forego $4 million in taxes over those 20 years (and permit fees of $152,000). He concluded: “… and weʼre trying to go forward, Your Worship, being more realistic and affordable for the City”.

1 Does he mean the information found on CMHCʼs Housing Market Information Portal or the Rental Market Survey Data ? Either way, the most recent data is from October 2020, that is, at least nine months old at this time.


Tonight, starting at 7 PM, is the second public meeting for the Angus Drive/St Peters Rd roadworks. Watch live stream online.

A sad day for nature

(Featured image taken on 10 JUNE, 2021, by Don R.)

Background

The first inkling the public received that a residential development was in the works for this area was in May 2019, through a CBC article whose source was likely Tim Banks: “Killam to buy 50% interest in Charlottetown Mall”.

Killam REIT’s first quarter report issued on 1 May 2019 stated: Killam is pleased to announce that it has agreed to purchase a 50% interest in the Charlottetown Mall, located in Charlottetown, PE, from RioCan REIT at a purchase price of $23.7 million for an all cash yield of 6.69%. This stabilized, grocery-anchored, enclosed mall is a 352,448 square foot retail complex and is the dominant shopping centre in Prince Edward Island. It is located on 32 acres in the heart of Prince Edward Island’s busiest retail node with future multi-family development opportunities of up to 300 units. The retail portion of the property will continue to be managed by RioCan after closing, with the future residential project being managed by Killam. This purchase will establish Killam’s second joint venture with RioCan REIT and the acquisition is expected to close on May 17, 2019.

Nothing more was heard about the development opportunity until August 2020, when a number of building blocks were already in place for the Planning Board to officially review APMʼs rezoning application for a field on the other side of the Confederation Trail.

What discussions took place between May 2019 and early 2020 to tempt Killam and/or Mr Banks to move those 300 units from the Mall (a built environment) across the Confederation Trail and onto a tree-filled green field (a natural environment)?

When development supersedes all else

APM President/CEO Tim Banks bears no respect for rules, regulations, or bylaws. With his Sherwood Crossing development under appeal before IRAC (P.E.Island Regulatory & Appeals Commission), and no development permit in hand, he has the temerity to send a bulldozer to rip up trees and clear the ground during full nesting season.

Why?

Aside from needlessly destroying shrubs and trees, how much wildlife was killed or injured on that day? People have seen hawks, chipmunks, snakes, and songbirds in this area.

Without a development permit, what right did Mr Banks have to send a bulldozer to clear a section of the land? Was it an act of defiance?

Will City officials order Mr Banks to remove his sign?

JUNE 8, 2021: Towers Road, north view (photo credit: Don R.)

8 June 2021 (Towers Road facing north)

Nature paved over

Written by Barbara Dylla, Charlottetown (published in The Guardian on 4 September 2020)

I have many concerns regarding APM MacLean’s proposed “North of Towers” development. One of them is the loss of the remaining natural areas within City boundaries. Greenfield land plays a critical role not only in conserving biodiversity and providing climate change mitigation benefits, but also has a positive effect on the fundamental quality of life in our communities.

It is no secret that natural habitat destruction and fragmentation are leading causes of biodiversity loss. Many urban jurisdictions have been using the green infrastructure concept, which is an interconnected network of natural areas that provides wildlife habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water.

Incidentally, does the public know that at least two new roads will bisect the Confederation Trail? While other cities upgrade the safety of their active transportation infrastructure, Charlottetown accepts proposals that degrade a marvelous multipurpose trail within its municipal boundaries.

I support denser mixed-used housing projects, but not at the expense of natural areas being needlessly paved over in favour of market-priced housing and automobility. Sustainable design practices incorporate more effective and efficient land use, along with alternative energy and energy conservation techniques. We have a valuable but limited ‘window of opportunity’ to design an urban environment that is optimized to deal with a warming world and committed to the betterment of the community. 

Why is the City not pushing to adopt more stringent, energy-efficient, and space-efficient building regulations that truly take Charlottetown into the 21st century and beyond?

Update (7): St Peters Rd/Angus Dr — Public meeting #2, June 22

Municipal officials, elected and otherwise, have been pulling out the stops to push through this rezoning application. It seems no effort is spared to manipulate an application, at both the residentsʼ and the publicʼs cost. Just as no effort is being spared to ensure Killam/APMʼs Sherwood Crossing, and other developments, and more roads, will be built in Sherwood … on undeveloped land to boot.

Please share this post or the link to the agenda with family, friends, neighbours. If you or they cannot attend this meeting, please watch it online. Numbers count. Community counts. Our rights as citizens count.

PUBLIC MEETING AGENDA
NOTICE OF MEETING
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. 

Victorian Room, Rodd Charlottetown Hotel, 75 Kent Street
(Also accessible via Videoconference (Webex) and live stream at www.charlottetown.ca/video)

  1. Call to Order
  2. Declaration of Conflicts
  3. Approval of Agenda
  4. Discussions:
    a) Reconsideration for Angus Drive (Lot 40) (PID #419143) & 413 St. Peters Road (PID #419135)
    Please be advised that on Monday, May 31, 2021, Council reviewed their decision of April 26, 2021 to reject the request to:
    • Amend Appendix G –Zoning Map of the Zoning & Development Bylaw for:
    -Angus Drive (Lot 40) (PID #419143) from Single Detached Residential (Large) (R-1L) Zone to Mixed Use Corridor (MUC) Zone; and 
    -413 St. Peters Road (PID #419135) from Low Density Residential (R-2) Zone to Mixed Use Corridor (MUC) Zone;
    •Amend Appendix A-Future Land Use Map of the Official Plan Map for:
    -Angus Drive (Lot 40) (PID #419143) & 413 St. Peters Road (PID #419135) from Mature Neighbourhood to Village Centre Commercial;
    •And further, to consolidate Angus Drive (Lot 40) (PID #419143), 413 St. Peters Road (PID #419135) and 419 St. Peters Road (PID #192187),

    in order to facilitate road upgrades by the Province to St. Peters Road and construct a second means of access for the convenience store to and from Angus Drive. 

    Section 3.15 of the Zoning and Development Bylaw (the “ZD Bylaw”) permits an aggrieved person to request a reconsideration by Council if it is determined that the original decision rendered by Council satisfied a prescribed threshold test. Council has determined that this application did meet the threshold test and have scheduled a public meeting to provide the applicant, the developer and affected property owners or their representatives an opportunity to present their submissions.
  5. Introduction of New Business
  6. Adjournment of Public Session

For contact tracing purposes and due to the room capacity limit of 100 seats, those wishing to participate in person must register in advance and adhere to the guidelines set by the Chief Public Health Officer, details of which are available online at www.princeedwardisland.ca/covid19. Those who are unable or uncomfortable attending in person can participate in the public meeting via videoconference (Webex). Anyone who wants to observe the meeting without commenting can watch it at http://www.charlottetown.ca/video. To register to attend the meeting either in person or by alternate means, residents are requested to contact the Planning & Heritage Department by email at planning@charlottetown.ca or call 902-629-4158 on or before 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 18, 2021 to provide their contact details (name, phone number and/or email address). Once the maximum capacity has been reached, residents will be advised to participate in the meeting by videoconference (Webex). Business hours are between 8:00 AM –4:00 PM, Monday –Friday. Staff will contact interested participants no later 4:00 p.m. on Monday, June 21, 2021 with details on how to participate in the meeting. The City encourages written submissions to Council be received prior to the public meeting. Notwithstanding, all written submissions by letter may be delivered to the City’s Planning & Heritage Department at P.O. Box 98, 199 Queen Street, Charlottetown, PE, C1A 7K2; or, comments may be emailed to planning@charlottetown.ca on or before 12:00 noon on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. All responses received will become part of the public record. Oral submissions or comments may be made at the public meeting, but residents are requested to please keep their oral submissions to a three (3) to five (5) minute maximum.

View agenda online: https://www.charlottetown.ca/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17757573

Housing. Shelter. Community.

The public meeting about short-term rentals (STR) on Monday, 17 May, raised a number of issues centred around the commodification and financialization of housing. What does this mean? It means the conversion of housing from something that provides shelter, protection, privacy, space for personal and family activities into something that is bought and sold and used to make money. In other words, the value of a house as a real estate investment outweighs its importance as a place to live.

As a result, apartment rents and house prices have been pushed out of the affordability range for a growing number of residents.

“Housing has been financialized: valued as a commodity rather than a human dwelling, it is now a means to secure and accumulate wealth rather than a place to live in dignity, to raise a family and thrive within a community.”

Lailani Farha, UN Human Rights Council (2017)

This led to a housing crisis and the Cityʼs response — without actually defining the precise nature of the crisis — has been to approve record numbers of building permits over the past couple of years. The Planning Department has used the “housing crisis” to justify its support for several controversial developments. Even developers work it into their applications to request (and justify) rezoning and variance applications.

What data did the City of Charlottetown have to legitimize the approval of so many applications and permits? In 2020, the Chair of the Planning Board Committee regularly quoted StatsCan figures to rationalize the development boom, rather than conduct its own housing needs assessment. A 2016 blog post by Bowen National Research describes the purpose and components of a housing needs assessment. It seems fairly straightforward, and should be regarded as a smart investment of public funds.

The Cityʼs zoning and development bylaw is another important component that affects community planning and development decisions. The bylaw contains requirements that could well be considered outdated, even exclusionary, in particular where minimum lot sizes and parking minimums are concerned. Removing these two requirements would do much to prevent urban sprawl (low-density residential development over more and more rural land), and let property owners decide the amount of parking they want.

In a 2017 statement, United Nations special rapporteur on adequate housing (and Canadian) Leilani Farha reported that: “Financialization detaches housing from its connection to communities and to the human dignity and security that are at the core of all human rights.”

The individuals who spoke during the 17 May public meeting — many of them from the younger generations — were passionate in their desire to live in a vibrant, thriving, and safe city, yet expressed their anxieties, insecurities, and fears about the precariousness of living in Charlottetown.

Will this City Council and administration be willing and ready to make Charlottetown residents their priority when drafting the Short-term Rental bylaw?