Sherwood Crossing: City in breach of planning and decision-making processes

Author: Doug MacArthur

On Wednesday of this week, we [signed off by Doug MacArthur] filed a request with the City that it Reconsider its August 26, 2021, decision to approve site and foundation construction permits for the proposed townhouses on Towers Road re Killam’s/APM’s Sherwood Crossing project. Also on Wednesday we filed an IRAC Appeal in the same matter.

Our filings make the case that proper process is not being followed. In our view, it is not appropriate for permits to be issued and construction to proceed on a project which has not yet even had its rezoning approved. That rezoning is presently the subject of another party’s IRAC appeal begun early in 2021.

In our view, it is not appropriate for permits to be issued and construction to proceed on a project which has not yet even had its rezoning approved.

Doug MacArthur

Additionally, the August 26 City Council permit approval meeting, both in public and in closed session, was chaired by Mayor Philip Brown, who we believe should have declared a conflict of interest, excused himself, and should have avoided any involvement in the discussions or decisions relating to the August 26 City Council approval. We believe the August 26 permit approval process was tainted.

We also have other issues with the exaggerated relevance being attached to the Sherwood Crossing development agreement between the City and the developer. We believe there have been other process violations, not to mention APM/Killam proceeding for a considerable time with construction this summer at Sherwood Crossing without a permit, and receiving no sanctions for doing so.

We believe there have been other process violations, not to mention APM/Killam proceeding for a considerable time with construction this summer at Sherwood Crossing without a permit and receiving no sanctions for doing so.

Doug MacArthur

There is a well-established and defined approval process to be followed for new Charlottetown development projects. In some cases, particularly Sherwood Crossing, that process has not been respected or followed. It needs to be followed if citizens are to have confidence in City Hall decision-making and in our municipal checks and balances. So, the purpose in our Wednesday filings is to help restore proper and proven processes to City Hall decision-making. We are not necessarily against a development at Sherwood Crossing, but we want any development to respect proper process, not engage in unacceptable tactics that do a disservice to our community.

The next steps in our filings will be for City Hall to consider our Reconsideration request while our IRAC Appeal is held in abeyance. If our Reconsideration request is rejected, then the IRAC appeal will proceed. There may also be some other related filings along the way.

This post will likely draw the ire of the usual small handful of vested interests, contrarians, and wild-west advocates, and that comes with the territory. However, we wish to express our appreciation to the thousands of Charlottetown and PEI citizens who support our posts, week in and week out. Our most recent post re potential Mayor Brown conflict of interest has been viewed by over 10,000 people, liked by almost 200 people, commented on by more than 125 people and shared by more than 80 people, for a total of almost 400 people who took the time to express their views and concerns. That is phenomenal support, it is what public participation is all about, and it is very much appreciated. It is testament to the thousands of citizens who want a future of Charlottetown in which we can have great pride and confidence.

Author: Doug MacArthur
Published Thursday, 16 September 2021, on Future of Charlottetown Facebook page

SHERWOOD CROSSING – When Checks and Balances Don’t Work

by Doug MacArthur
published Friday, August 27, 2021, on Future of Charlottetown

Checks and balances are defined as “various procedures set in place to reduce mistakes, prevent improper behaviour, or decrease the risk of centralization of power”. They are not working in the case of Killam/APM’s Sherwood Crossing project approval process.

On January 4, 2021, an IRAC appeal was launched against the City’s decision to rezone the Sherwood Crossing lands to enable Killam/APM to build a large project on the site. That appeal is still before IRAC, with City Hall on August 6, 2021, filing its most recent information with IRAC in response to questionable testimony given by the City’s Planning Department official who has handled the file, and by Tim Banks, as well as questions about when the Development Agreement between City Hall was actually signed off by the City [Mayor Philip Brown and CAO Peter Kelly] and by the Developer [Tim Banks]. The Development Agreement is dated April 15, 2021, but appears not to be signed off until June, 2021. All of this information and more can be found on the IRAC website, and it is well worth reading.

The point is that it may be some time before IRAC decides on the Sherwood Crossing rezoning appeal, so the site does not now have final approval for development. Yet Mayor Brown and Peter Kelly on behalf of the City entered into a Development Agreement in June 2021, re Sherwood Crossing while knowing full well that the property rezoning has been under IRAC appeal since January. There is also no clause in the City/Sherwood Crossing Development Agreement [see IRAC website] which specifically makes the Development Agreement conditional on a favourable decision by IRAC re the rezoning. Yet, it is common and proper practice to do so. For example, Nova Scotia municipal regulations require “that a development agreement shall not be entered into until all appeals have been abandoned or disposed of”.

And how has Tim Banks/APM responded since he has had the Development Agreement in place? He has publicly regarded it as a commitment by City Hall to enable him to begin construction, and APM in fact recently undertook substantial construction work at the Sherwood Crossing site, before having a Cease Construction order issued by City Hall last week after this writer [Doug MacArthur ] filed a complaint. Under Govt of PEI regulations, “In almost all instances both a Development Permit AND a Building Permit will be required before construction can begin on a project”. Tim Banks/APM had neither for the Sherwood Crossing project.

After City Hall issued the Sherwood Crossing Cease Construction order, Tim Banks threatened to take legal action against City Hall. And, instead of the City standing its ground., it held a closed session of City Council this week, after which, Mayor Philip Brown presiding, there was a City Council vote taken to issue APM a foundation permit, enabling Sherwood Crossing construction work to resume. 

A Development Agreement is NOT a Development Permit, but City Hall seems to be treating it as one. If a Sherwood Crossing Development Agreement gives APM the right to begin construction there, then what’s to stop Mr Banks/APM/Killam and City Hall doing the same thing at 15 Haviland where they have had a Development Agreement for their proposed 99-unit, 10-storey structure since January of 2020? More on all this in upcoming posts.

Bottom line is that the development checks and balances aren’t working in Charlottetown. Many citizens have lost trust in our mayor and most councillors to represent our interests. Often we either don’t know what’s going on at City Hall, or we’re fed the pablum version of transparency, such as the current Chair of Planning’s [Terry MacLeod] version of next steps in the Sherwood Crossing saga. 

The Province obviously wants nothing to do with any of this, even though it has a clear oversight responsibility which it is not fulfilling. If it won’t stand up for the citizens of our city, it should at least support IRAC. How can the Province expect IRAC to make a fair decision, without pressure, on the current Sherwood Crossing rezoning IRAC appeal when construction of a $95 million project is already underway and when City Hall has not protected itself in the terms of the Development Agreement that Mayor Brown and Peter Kelly signed? Because City Hall and Govt of PEI checks and balances on development don’t work, the citizens of Charlottetown are left holding the bag, and paying the possible lawsuits to follow.


Time for the Province to step up re Charlottetown City Council mayhem

by Doug MacArthur
published Friday, August 20, 2021, on Future of Charlottetown social media

This Future of Charlottetown Facebook page was created one year ago, primarily to bring attention to major municipal issues in which the Mayor Philip Brown administration, for whatever reasons, has not been properly representing the interests of the citizens of Charlottetown. The situation continues to deteriorate to the point where it seems that this City administration either doesn’t understand its responsibilities to the public, or it doesn’t give a damn about those responsibilities. It is past time for the Government of PEI to exercise its oversight responsibilities.

We have posted on questionable City Hall development approval processes, [eg Killam/APM 15 Haviland and Sherwood Crossing projects]; potential conflicts of interest, including Councillor Greg Rivard, or maybe the mayor himself through his construction business [see recent Charlottetown work site photos here]; questionable tendering processes [eg fire station architectural bids]; lack of by-law enforcement related to favoured businesses; misleading reports to the public; far too many closed-door Council meetings; and on and on. 

We have also asked many questions of the Mayor, usually without receiving authentic, informative answers. Meanwhile, almost every neighbourhood of our city has had to mobilize to reverse inappropriate City Hall decisions [eg Simmons rink and pool, Trainor Street], or to file IRAC appeals. It has to stop.

Our November 3, 2020, Facebook post reported on a public inquiry final report released the previous day on conflicts, etc., involving the municipal government in Collingwood, Ontario. Following is a CBC excerpt related to the conclusions: “Unfair bidding practices, unfair procurement practices, conflicts of interest, inaccurate and misleading town council reports, the misuse and inappropriate disclosure of the town’s confidential information”, was how (Judge Frank) Marrocco described his findings Monday at a news conference releasing his 914-page report. “In other words, behaviours that, left unaddressed, undermines the foundational core and reputation of a municipal government.”

These same issues are rampant in the Mayor Brown administration. The Government of Ontario acted to launch the Collingwood public inquiry. Surely, the PEI Government has a similar responsibility in the current situation in which the Brown administration is clearly not acting in the public interest on many fronts. Although the Government of PEI should not require even more public outcry in order to act, a citizens’ petition delivered on Rochford Square may need to be the next steps to correct this unacceptable and deteriorating City of Charlottetown situation.

Sherwood Crossing update: Last week, we filed a complaint with City Hall re Killam/APM construction proceeding without permit approval. Finally, this week City Hall advised me [Doug MacArthur] that a Cease Construction order was issued by the City to APM. Thank you to all who brought this major, unauthorized construction to our attention.

View from Towers Road (August 13, 2021)

Interpreting City Councilʼs Code of Conduct

At the June 22 Public Meeting to hear the Request for Reconsideration filed by Mel’s Convenience owner Dan MacIsaac, a resident asked whether Councillor Terry Bernard and Councillor Mike Duffy had violated the Council Code of Conduct bylaw.

The resident informed Council that Counc. Bernard had written a letter on City letterhead informing his wardʼs constituents about the St Peters Rd roundabout (a provincial matter), but failed to mention Melʼs rezoning application, a municipal matter and the subject of the Request for Reconsideration. In Counc. Duffyʼs case, he had expressed his voting intention on the Request for Reconsideration at an open Council meeting, which should have disqualified him from voting on the Reconsideration resolution.

Section 9. General Conduct
(b) Members of Council must be committed to performing their fucntions with integrity and to avoiding conflicts of interest and the improper use of the influence of their office
.

Cox & Palmer lawyer David Hooley, as legal counsel for the City of Charlottetown, was asked to provide a legal opinion. He deemed that both councillors were not in a conflict of interest. In other words, they had not contravened the Code of Conduct.

The information relating to both councillors can be found here (July 1 post, see hyperlinks in #5).


On Monday, July 12, Council met in a closed session at a Special Meeting of Council, where Councillor Mitchell Tweel was informed that he breached the Code of Conduct. The resolution, found on the last page of the July 12 Resolutions and Minutes file, does not specify the relevant section(s) of the Bylaw associated with the transgression, nor of any other City Bylaw.

According to The Guardian’s July 13 article, Tweel failed to attend 30 of the 32 Planning Board meetings held since last October, when the committees were restructured. Mayor Brown said when Tweel brought up concerns [in 2020] about his family business connections, senior administration asked its legal counsel, Karen Campbell, to look into the matter. She found no conflict of interest.

The way the article was written, the Mayor didn’t quite follow the order of the complaint and resolution process: “That’s when an independent third-party human resources investigator was brought in. The investigator’s report found Tweel to be in breach of the city’s code of conduct. […] Brown said the city then offered to bring in a mediator. Duffy declined, so the matter went back to council […]”

The Code of Conduct Bylaw states:
25.8. If the matter is not satisfactorily resolved after the Mayorʼs facilitation […], the Mayor, with the assistance of the CAO, may appoint a mediator to attempt to resolve the matter.
26.1. Failing resolution by the Mayorʼs facilitation or mediation, the Mayor […] will appoint an independent investigator…

The Code of Conduct Bylaw does not list a councillorʼs obligations to attend a set number of committee meetings. Nor was such a requirement found in the Cityʼs Procedural Bylaw.


On July 19, this billboard was seen on the corner of Towers and Mount Edward roads.

Councillor Greg Rivard was the Chair of the Planning & Heritage Committee from January 2019 to mid-October 2020.

In February 2020, CBC posted an article about a new development, quoting APM owner Tim Banks that it “goes before the city’s planning board on March 2.” Ultimately, what has become known as Sherwood Crossing was presented to the Planning Board on August 4. A public meeting was held on August 26.

The Planning Department presented its report, including feedback received from citizens, at the September 8 Planning Board meeting. Councillor Julie McCabe made motion for a deferral, because the traffic study commissioned by the City and involving the development had not been received. The vote was tied 4–4. The only time a Chair can vote is to break a tie. Councillor Rivard voted against the deferral.

A discussion then took place about the traffic study. Planning Manager Alex Forbes suggested that Council could request a deferral, thereby signalling his desire that the application be recommended to Council for approval. Councillor Rivard brushed Resident member Rosemary Herbertʼs concerns away too, stating that “if the information is not there [in the meeting package] to support the motion, then Council has every right to defer…” at the Monday meeting.

In January 2021, Greg Rivard joined RE/MAX Charlottetown as a licensed realtor. He recently became the listing agent for Tim Banksʼs Sherwood Crossing development [Note: IRAC appeal still ongoing].

Future of Charlottetown contacted Greg Rivard about the perceived conflict of interest and received this reply by e-mail: “I was contacted apprx 3 weeks ago by representatives of Killam/APM asking if I would be interested in listing the properties through myself and Remax. I contacted my own solicitor as well as the City solicitor and asked them to review prior to accepting the offer.  I was cleared with no conflict concerns.”


Four councillors, four different situations, three cleared by the Cityʼs legal counsel, and one penalized after an investigation that cost $6K determined he didn’t attend 30 committee meetings.


Guest post: Historic 500 Lot Area building standards and guidelines

Submitted by Joan Cumming, a long-time Sydney Street resident who attended the 27 April Public Meeting for the 199 Grafton residential/parkade/commercial development proposal

At the public meeting on April 27, 2021, I quoted to you from the “Standards and Guidelines” section of the report by the Planning Partnership approved by Council a few years ago, highlighting their comments on large and taller buildings proposed for the historic 500 Lot Area


Larger & Taller Buildings Have the Greatest Civic Responsibilities

The 500 Lot Area has a long history of large and tall buildings. Historic buildings, such as St. Dunstan’s Basilica or the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel, exhibit architectural grandeur that corresponds to their scale and civic importance. The way they are situate on their sites, the expressed massing, material quality, and design detail, all work in concert to enhance their stature while positively contributing to their context. By contrast, more contemporary large-scaled developments, such as the Delta Prince Edward, exhibit far lesser care for their context or design quality. Consequently, by virtue of their scale, they sit prominently and distractingly in the streetscape, constantly reinforcing the perception of large-scale being synonymous with bad design.The Standard & Guidelines recognize that large-scaled buildings are, and will continue to be, part of the urban fabric of the 500 Lot Area. However, these developments should be directed only to where they already exist and can be accommodated, and subject to stringent conditions and performance standards. Appropriate setbacks and massing are especially important to ensuring that these building do not overwhelm and adversely impact streetscapes and adjacent properties with respect to matters such as sky view, wind, and shadows. Given their visual prominence, these buildings should be held to the highest design standards, exhibiting landmark architectural qualities. Furthermore, these development rights ought to be privileged through a bonus afforded only in exchange for public benefits such as heritage protection, community amenities, or public realm improvements.


The development currently under review is nowhere near compliant with these recommendations nor is it a structure of civic importance like the majority of past and present tall buildings in the city.

I would like to have spent more time reminding those present of what dire straits Charlottetown has been in since last spring with COVID-19 restrictions keeping visitors away, devastating the local economy, and showing us just how deeply dependent we are on attracting tourists. 

Why do visitors come to our city?  Firstly, because of its signature place in the history of this country, but once here they are totally surprised and captivated by the uniqueness and charm of the place.  I know, because I have been hosting them for over 30 years and have enjoyed taking them on walking tours for the last twenty.  I know what they love, admire, and wished they had in their part of the world — the built evidence of our history lining the streets.  These streetscapes should be preserved at all costs — in fact, any resident who owns a “designated heritage property” is subjected to restrictions by City bylaws if they want to make improvements or changes to it. 

Why is it not the same for big-building developers?  Anyone building “infill” in the 500 Lot Area should be obliged to adhere to the bylaws but instead, the reverse seems to be the case because approval of zoning changes and variances seem to be the norm rather than the exception.  This encourages developers to dictate what they want to City Council and to push the limits to get the optimum benefit out of empty space, sometimes to the detriment of those living nearby, often regardless of the negative impact on a streetscape, and showing no respect for the City’s efforts at heritage preservation.

What should be required of such projects is that they be in harmony with what is already there, not something which is distracting.  The Planning Partnership study does not promote the concept of “modern” being a desirable or appealing contrast with the historic gems I mentioned like City Hall and the three churches on Prince Street!  None of my guests or walkers on my tours has ever raved about the glass and metal structures that have appeared in the city core in the last few years but rather mention how these ruin the character of an otherwise attractive street.  To keep travellers interested in coming here, returning for longer stays, and encouraging others to do the same, Charlottetown has to remain an icon with a high standard of integrating the old with the new

This proposal fails miserably to do that and should be sent back to the drawing board.

Update: 199 Grafton – Public meeting (April 27, 2021)

The proposed development is located in downtown Charlottetown. Why was the public meeting not held downtown?  Choosing the Rodd Royalty Hotel on Capital Drive prevented car-less (or car-free) residents from participating in person, since no public transit is available in the evening.
This is intentional exclusion.

The meeting starts at minute 19:00 in the video-recording and runs a little over one hour.

A few thoughts about APM’s application for the proposed 84-unit apartment building and 213-space parkade:

1. A development application that requires seven variances — and not minor variances at that — should never have been approved by the Planning Department. A requirement is precisely what the word says: “A thing that is compulsory; a necessary condition.” (Oxford Dictionary). Why wasn’t the application refused on grounds that the building plans failed to fulfill the requirements?

2. Parkade: Should the project eventually be approved, would the 213 parking spaces in the new building be seen as an opportunity for the City to reduce on-street parking by an equal number of spaces? Downtown sidewalks are already narrow enough. Removing on-street parking would enable the City to widen sidewalks on several blocks along Prince, Kent, Great George, and Grafton, and/or make room for bicycle lanes. This would create a more walkable and pedestrian/cyclist friendly downtown. Many North American cities have been making such changes over the past year.

3. Clark Street: This street has been neglected for too long. A 278-foot long, 71-foot high building would overshadow and overwhelm the two- and three-storey residences on Kent Street whose backyards are on Clark Street. Curiously enough, Mr Banks’s slide show did not include an image of the proposed building from a Clark Street perspective.

4. Professional design review: Doug MacArthur was present at the meeting and pointed out that Fellow & Company Limited (45:00) is the same firm that did the design review for Killam’s 15 Haviland project (1:03:45–1:05:45).


The application for 199 Grafton will be presented to the Planning Board and streamed live on Monday, 3 May, starting at 4:30 p.m.

Update: West Royalty Traffic Study – Public meeting (April 26, 2021)

Lowlight 1 : City officials stated that they’ve been dealing with developers for the last four years, that they’ve “been working on this for a number of months” and “put a lot of work into this”, yet allocated a mere two hours for a public meeting at the tail end — instead of the front end — of the process.

Lowlight 2: Two City employees with microphones assigned to go to members of the audience wishing to speak were not directed in an efficient manner to the next speaker. Result: Possibly as many as ten people did not get an opportunity to ask a question or voice a comment, because the meeting had to end at 9 P.M.

Unforgivable technical glitch: The video-recording did not capture Planning Manager Alex Forbes’s portion of the presentation (8:20–12:40), in which he shared significant information about the planning process. I have written to Public Works Manager Scott Adams to request that Mr Forbes provide a written version of the situational context for the public’s benefit.

Tokenism: The slide of a Complete Streets design (32:00), which was not included in the Draft Final Report of the traffic study. CBCL’s traffic engineer Mark MacDonald hesitant delivery of this portion sounded very much like a last-minute addition to address criticisms about the lack of transit and active travel components in the Report.

Questions and comments: The public feedback portion starts at 34:50. Every speaker, bar none, contributed perceptive and informed comments or asked significant questions.
(Audience applause muted).

Q&A Highlights (a few among many)

1. Catherine Mullally’s comments and questions about transparency and communications, followed by replies from Public Works Manager Scott Adams and Public Works Committee Chair and Councillor Terry MacLeod. (1:01:57 to 1:09:06)

2. Don Read’s analogy to opening a Champagne bottle. (1:38:13)

3. Beth Cullen’s passionate plea for the protection and preservation of the Confederation Trail and our natural spaces. (1:39:04 to 1:43:26, including CBCL’s response).

As time of posting, the public meeting video was viewed 191 times.

PUBLIC MEETING 27 April: New building at 199 Grafton Street

On April 18, a concerned resident wrote:

I found a notice taped to the side my community mailbox on Prince Street about this Public Meeting yesterday.

It took a lot of effort to find this notice on the City’s website – not in News and Events and barely visible at the bottom of the small square for April 27 on the meeting calendar due to other postings for that date.

This is a big building and has potential to set trends downtown yet again.  Going for many height and setback variances.  When you read the Planning Board meeting, the only rationale I could see (so far) that he [developer] is giving for the extra bonus height is … ‘housing’ (on top of a parkade which was the main selling point in his news release).

If you want to read exactly what is written on the lime green notice, it is now available under Upcoming Events on the City’s home page.

To quote/paraphrase Dave Meslin: “The City of Charlottetown clearly doesn’t want you involved with the planning process, otherwise their ads would look something like this [below], with all the information laid out clearly. As long as the city’s putting out notices like [above] to try to get people engaged, then of course people aren’t going to be engaged. But that’s not apathy; that’s intentional exclusion.” 

A clear, comprehensible, and inviting public meeting notice.

Following Meslins example, homeowners created their own sign in an attempt to inform neighbouring residents, many of whom are tenants.

A clear, comprehensible, and inviting public meeting notice.

If a homeowner can provide such a clear, comprehensible, and inviting public meeting notice, why cant the Planning Department?


The full meeting package (49 pages) contains APMʼs Site Specific Exemption application with drawings and images, the letter sent to property owners located within 100 metres of the subject property, and copies of the public notices (posters and newspaper ad). A separate folder contains letters received until today, with likely more added after the public meeting.

If you decide to see and hear what the plans are for 199 Grafton, tune in on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be streamed live at www.charlottetown.ca/video

PUBLIC MEETING 26 April: West Royalty Traffic Plan

On Friday, February 26, the City posted a bare-boned announcement on its website with a rather misleading title: City Requests Input on Traffic Master Plan.
Equally misleading subtitle: City Requests Feedback on West Royalty Commercial Area Traffic Master Plan.
In addition to information on where to find the documents and how to submit comments, the announcement stated: “While there is no current deadline to submit feedback, please note that residents will have the opportunity to provide input in a public consultation, the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.”

On Tuesday, April 13—a full nine weeks later—a seemingly unrelated announcement was posted on the Cityʼs website: City to Hold Public Consultation Meeting.
Subtitle: City to Hold Public Consultation on West Royalty Area Traffic Master Plan. (Oops! Someone forgot to include ‛Commercial’).
It contained essentially the same information as the February 26 notice, only this time the date, the meeting location (Homburg Theatre, Confederation Centre of the Arts), and instructions for reserving seats were added.

On Friday, April 23three days before the meeting—a notice about the public meeting was published on page B7 in The Guardian.

Aside from the appalling lack of clear, effective, and open communication, the City failed to include in its three totally inadequate announcements any images of the future planned developments and the roads around them. All, by the way, on greenfields or former agricultural land.

Residential (yellow): Total 1,919 apartment units and 390 townhouses.

Note also that the Confederation Trail, which is under Provincial jurisdiction, will be bisected by two roads:
(1) the planned Spencer Drive extension, part of the Killam/RioCan/APM development at Towers Road and
(2) the Fern Garden Drive extension (Martha’s Court). Apparently, neither the Province nor Island Trails have been informed or consulted about the two roads, which will severely undermine the integrity of the Trail.

In essence, the last paragraph in the newspaper ad seems to indicate that the so-called Plan is a fait accompli. After all, the City hasn’t specified precisely what kind of input it is seeking from the public so late in the process.

If all these developments were to be built, by 2041 the population living in this area would be equal to (if not greater than) the population of Souris. All in an area of approximately one square kilometre (or 250 acres or 100 hectares).

If too few citizens show up at the meeting on Monday night, City officials have no one to blame but themselves (which begs the question: why did it choose the Homburg Theatre, current capacity 300?).


See my April 22 post for the 2025 and 2031 Future Conditions.

To reserve a seat for the public meeting, to go https://confederationcentre.com/event-list/?ID=publicmeeting and click “Book Now” (blue dots = free seats),  phone 902-566-1267, or send an e-mail to info@confederationcentre.com.

West Royalty Traffic Plan and proposed Sherwood Crossing development

In May 2019, Killam REIT announced the purchase of 50% of RioCan REIT’s Charlottetown Mall property, “with future multi-family development opportunities of up to 300 units.”

In February 2020, those 300 units moved to undeveloped land on the other side of the Confederation Trail (aka Rails to Trails). As reported by CBC: “Developer Tim Banks told CBC News his company, Pan American Properties, plans to build 300 units over the next decade on about six hectares off of Towers Road.

The Killam/RioCan/APM residential development was presented in a public meeting on August 26, 2020, as part of a rezoning application. All the other pieces around it have been handled piecemeal by the City, before and after that date. In so doing, City Council failed to duly inform the public in accordance with the Council Code of Conduct Bylaw #2020-CC-01, Part II – Principles, Section 8.4. “Members of Council are responsible for the decisons that they make. This responsibility includes acts of commission and acts of omission. In turn, decision-making processes must be transparent and subject to public scrutiny”; and Section 8.8. “Members of Council have a duty to demonstrate openness and transparency about their decisions and actions.” 

Timeline

Feb. 7, 2020: The City’s Capital Budget was approved. The Guardian reported: “The capital budget also includes $650,000 that will enable the city to create a road that links Towers Road up with Spencer Drive, giving traffic the option of bypassing the parking lot at the rear of the Charlottetown Mall. And while no one will say anything on the record, the city is also looking into extending Spencer Drive to Mount Edward Road.”

Mar. 17, 2020: Premier King announced that the provincial cabinet had declared a state of public health emergency under the Public Health Act. (COVID-19)

Mar. 19, 2020: Special Meeting of Council (vote 9–0 in favour): Resolution 4 (c) “[…] That the submission from CBCL Ltd. to perform a comprehensive traffic study of undeveloped lands adjacent to the main retail area of Charlottetown, as additional work to the City’s Growth Management Study, be accepted.” Cost $69,000. City of Charlottetown website

April 12, 2020: “The Public Works Department would like to advise the public that negotiations are underway regarding the section of private road located between Towers Road and Spencer Drive.” City of Charlottetown website

Aug. 5, 2020: New Road Construction – Towers Road to Spencer Drive (Invitation To Tender) – Closing date Aug. 19

Aug. 26, 2020: Public Meeting held at the Rodd Royalty Hotel, Charlottetown. Presentation starts at 1:37:00 in the video. Documents available at charlottetown.ca.

Aug. 27, 2020: CBC’s headline Proposed Charlottetown housing development raises questions about traffic

Oct. 29, 2020: In a closed session at a Special Meeting, Council received a presentation regarding the traffic study from CBCL engineers and authorized CAO Peter Kelly to expedite the purchase of two properties [241/245 Mt Edward Rd], to be leased back to the occupants for two years.

Feb. 8, 2021: Monthly Meeting of Council (vote 6–3 in favour): Council authorized the increase in the 20/21 Capital Budget of $550,000 to fund the purchase of two properties (241 and 245 Mount Edward Rd). These properties face Ash Drive and stand in the way of the Spencer Drive extension, which is on Killam/RioCan/APM’s proposed Sherwood Crossing development property. It is worth noting that the City’s Public Works Department will act as property manager for a two-year period.

Feb. 26, 2021: The City posts an announcement on its Web site: “CITY REQUESTS INPUT ON TRAFFIC MASTER PLAN” with details on how to access the traffic plan and ends with “While there is no current deadline to submit feedback, please note that residents will have the opportunity to provide input in a public consultation, the details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.” The Guardian publishes the announcement on March 12, the CBC posts an article on March 16, presumably in response to a letter I sent on March 11 to ask why the media has failed to inform the public.

“Good or bad we want to hear about what everyone’s concerned about.”

And moving forward, Adams said the plan will be brought to city council and hopefully put in place for when developments begin. 

CBC “Charlottetown seeking input on new roads in West Royalty” (March 16, 2021)

April 13, 2021: The City posts another announcement with the date of the public meeting (7 p.m., Monday, April 26, Confederation Centre of the Arts). Neither local newspaper The Guardian nor CBC PEI have reported the new details so far.

To reserve a seat for the public meeting, to go https://confederationcentre.com/event-list/?ID=publicmeeting and click “Book Now” (free seats = blue dots),  phone 902-566-1267, or send an e-mail to info@confederationcentre.com

Transportation Master Plan: Make your voice heard!

A Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is one of many documents that directs a municipality over the long term. It works with a municipality’s Official Plan, which directs land use and development, as well as others concerning municipal servicing, parks and recreation, and economic development. Generally, a transportation master plan determines the need for transportation improvements and establishes policies for the future transportation network.

Seven municipalities currently working on their TMP

Here’s a brief list of Canadian municipalities (with 2016 population data) who are in the process of developing a new TMP or updating an outdated one:

If you clicked the hyperlinks to view the details, you’ll notice that every municipality, no matter how small, has one thing in common on their website: a project timeline. Smaller municipalities allocate about six months, bigger ones up to two years, to complete their Plan.

Here is Peterboroughs project timeline:

Peterborough, ON

Another common feature: a visible link to a survey or various ways in which residents, businesses and other stakeholders are encouraged to share their opinions.

How the City of Charlottetown proceeds

Compare this to Charlottetown’s announcement for the West Royalty Area Traffic Master Plan:

The City of Charlottetown Public Works Department wishes to invite the public to a public consultation for the City to receive feedback on the Transportation Master Plan for the West Royalty Commercial Area. This public meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 26, 2021, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Confederation Centre of the Arts (145 Richmond Street).

In addition to the master plan presentation, uploaded on February 26, 2021, the City’s Public Works department has made the Full Report of the West Royalty Commercial Area Transportation Master Plan available online for residents to consult prior to the public meeting. Both documents are available at www.charlottetown.ca/trafficplan 

This meeting is to enable the Public Works Department to check off the Public Feedback component as a token gesture to the planning process, because apparently the Final Report is to be submitted to the Planning Department. At that point, one presumes the Planning Department will present the Final Report to the Planning Board and/or City Council.

One has to wonder whether City Council will be required to call a public meeting on the traffic plans Final Report, which, lets be clear, is to enable developers to receive approval for their projects.

Will we let the City get away with such shenanigans?!

This is why its so important to make your voice heard. Nothing prevents anyone from outright challenging the report. Whether you write one sentence or twenty, your comments are crucial to ensure the Final Report isnt just a duplicate of the Draft Final Report.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead