Participatory Democracy

Local government is the sphere of government closest to the people. Many basic services are delivered by local municipalities, and local ward councillors are the politicians closest to communities.

Local government serves a two-fold purpose. The first purpose is the administrative purpose of supplying goods and services; the other purpose is to represent and involve citizens in determining specific local public needs and how these local needs can be met.

Participatory democracy is a necessary complement to representative democracy.

David Moscrop, Canadian author

International Observatory on Participatory Democracy

The International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (IOPD) is an international network open to all cities, organizations, and research centres interested in learning about, exchanging, and applying experiences of participatory democracy at the local level.

The IOPD recently held its annual Conference with a focus on sustainable cities/territories. It will also host three two-hour virtual sessions from November 29 to December 1, 2021, in collaboration with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

The virtual sessions on Zoom start at 10 A.M. Atlantic time with translation in English/French/Spanish.

To register for any of the three sessions, click here.

  1. Monday, November 29: Citizen Participation in Ecological Transformation
    Local governments must play a key and pioneering role in the ecological transformation of our societies, and citizens cannot be only spectators in this process. In this session we want to share experiences and the steps to follow in order to foster government-citizen dialogue and the co-creation of solutions for the ecological transition.
  2. Tuesday, November 30: Revisiting local democracy
    The impact of the pandemic on democratic institutions and procedures has added to the problems and crises already being felt by democracies. In this new session we want to think about ways to revitalise local democracy such as citizens’ assemblies or other forms of deliberation by lottery, online participation tools, and the debate around digital rights.
  3. Wednesday, December 1: Feminist municipalism and participatory democracy
    The global feminist municipalist movement is a key building block of a better normality towards a renewed local democracy. We want to open this space for dialogue where strategies for deploying feminism and participatory democracy in local politics converge.

More on this topic:

Towards a more age-friendly city

The City of Charlottetown recently held workshops to receive citizensʼ feedback to help it develop an action plan to make it an age-friendly city. An online questionnaire is also available (click here) until Saturday, November 20.

What is an age-friendly city/community?

According to the Government of Canada, “In an age-friendly community, the policies, services and structures related to the physical and social environment are designed to help seniors ‛age actively.ʼ In other words, the community is set up to help seniors live safely, enjoy good health and stay involved.”

History

In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a Global Age-Friendly Cities guide to help cities and communities to achieve this aim.

The introduction explains why it was developed: “Informed by WHO’s approach to active ageing, the purpose of this Guide is to engage cities to become more age-friendly so as to tap the potential that older people represent for humanity. An age-friendly city encourages active ageing by optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. In practical terms, an age-friendly city adapts its structures and services to be accessible to and inclusive of older people with varying needs and capacities.”

WHO also published a progress report in 2018 entitled Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities.

Age-friendly cities in Canada

Many municipalities across Canada have an Age-friendly Action Plan or an Age-friendly City Plan.

Help make Charlottetown an age-friendly city

You can help with Charlottetownʼs Age-friendly Action Plan by completing the online questionnaire.

The City of Charlottetown Seniors Engagement Committee is looking to hear from seniors on important issues and how to make Charlottetown more senior-friendly. All information gathered will be kept confidential and will contribute to the development of an age-friendly city.

The deadline is Saturday, November 20. Estimated completion time: 20 to 25 minutes.

Report an error, or send a question or comment by e-mail to:
newcharlottetownproject @ eastlink.ca

Disturbing Facts About Killam/APM’s 
Sherwood Crossing Development Project (2)

Is the use of public funds justified?

In a series of unrelated steps, a majority of City councillors voted in favour of allocating public funds between 2020 and 2021 as follows:

  • $650,000 to build a new public road to connect Towers Road with Spencer Drive (Special Meeting of Council, 6 Feb. 2020, vote 6–0). This “public” road is part of the Charlottetown Mall parking lot; the mall is now wholly owned by Killam REIT and Tim Banksʼs Pan American Properties.
  • An additional $69,000 to perform a comprehensive traffic study of undeveloped lands adjacent to the main retail area of Charlottetown (Special Meeting of Council, 19 Mar. 2020, vote 9–0)
  • $550,000 to fund the purchase of two properties (241 and 245 Mount Edward Rd), which border Killam/RioCan/APM’s proposed Sherwood Crossing property, to make way for the Spencer Drive extension (which will cross Confederation Trail). In addition, the City’s Public Works Department will act as property manager for a two-year period [involving, at the least, maintenance costs]. (Monthly Meeting of Council, 8 Feb. 2021, vote 6–3).
  • An as-yet unknown amount for the future construction of the Spencer Drive extension to Mount Edward Road, of which a portion of the land is on the Killam/RioCan property and thus might be subject to sections 45.2.1. and 45.2.3. in the Zoning & Development Bylaw.

The Development Agreement drawn up for Pan American Properties, whose president is Tim Banks, includes the following clauses:

2.4. The Developer shall enter into a Roads and Services Agreement for the portion of public road to connect this development to Spencer Drive.

2.5. The developer shall deed to the City the future public road corridor as shown on the north boundary of the Master Plan at no cost to the City prior to the issuance of any building and development permits. Notwithstanding any existing or future by-law of the City, the City acknowledges that the Developer shall not be responsible to contribute to the cost of development of any public street to be constructed on the public road corridor, other than the portion referred to in Clause 2.4. hereof, unless the Developer creates an access to such public street from the property.

2.7. If subdivision approval is sought, then a final plan(s) of subdivision must be approved by the City and each individual lot must have frontage on a public street.

It therefore appears that City Council approved well over $1 million in public money for costs in and around Sherwood Crossing, some of which, by definition, seem to have been the developer’s responsibility.

The land owner is Killam Properties Inc, based in Halifax, an out-of-province Real Estate Investment Trust [REITs own, operate, or finance income-generating real estate], which already enjoys preferential financial/tax treatment.  Tim Banks is a founding member of Killam. Moreover, by including “affordable” units, Killam benefits from the province’s Affordable Housing Development Program, which provides forgivable loans of $45,000 per unit, with the loan forgiveness period ranging from 15 to 25 years. 


November 2020

CBC PEI: As for the project having to fall in line with the master traffic plan, Banks isnʼt worried. “There will be nothing in there that will surprise us,” he said.

THE GUARDIAN: There will also be a road built that links the neighbourhoods of Sherwood and West Royalty through a public link road. The road would connect Ash Drive, at Mount Edward Road, with Spencer Drive, taking some of the traffic pressure off Towers Road. “The new road network has provisions for a sidewalk and a biking lane and provides for a future link to other lands in the immediate area,” Banks said.

While there might have been nothing in the City’s transportation master plan to surprise Mr Banks, a Killam REIT director and owner/CEO of APM Construction, there certainly is plenty to cause anxiety to residents living in surrounding neighbourhoods.

It is fully in the interest of the public and the residents living in any community to be informed about any and all changes that may affect their quality of life in one, three, or even ten years from now.


UPDATES

1. The IRAC hearing LA21001 Don Read v. City of Charlottetown, held on 31 May 2021, is still awaiting a decision. The reasons for the appeal lies in the failure to fulfill Condition 1 out of the five conditions set forth by Council to approve the development.
Condition 1 requires that the Cityʼs [final] Traffic Master Plan (TMP) confirm that the development does not conflict with the proposed site plan.

2. Appeal LA21021 – Douglas MacArthur v. City of Charlottetown was received by IRAC on 15 September 2021.

The appeal was filed in the event the Request for Reconsideration submitted to the City was rejected.

City Council will vote on the Planning Boardʼs recommendation to reject Mr MacArthurʼs Request for Reconsideration (same reasons as the IRAC appeal) at the Regular Meeting of Council on Monday, November 8, 2021.

Mr MacArthur bases his appeal on Section 24 (3) of the Planning Act Absence of Approval. He states: “The land in question is also currently the subject of an IRAC rezoning appeal, hence there was absence of approvel for the necessary zoning of the land at the time (Aug.26) the site and foundation permits were approved by City Council. In short, the permits were approved even though the land in question did not have the necessary zoning in place to accommodate the proposed development and permit activity.”

Report an error, or send a question or comment by e-mail to:
newcharlottetownproject @ eastlink.ca

Posted: Nov 06, 2021, 7:50 AM AT | Last Updated: Nov 08, 8:36 PM AT

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