March 23, 2021: Public Meeting

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Courtyard, The Rodd Royalty, 14 Capital Drive
(Also accessible via Videoconference (Webex) and live stream at www.charlottetown.ca/video)

Two items are on the agenda for this Public Meeting, at which citizens have the opportunity to listen to the Planning Department’s report, and comment on or ask questions about the proposed rezoning applications. This post focusses on the first item.

Angus Drive (Lot 40) & 413 St. Peters Road


“The current application has come forward because the Province is undertaking major upgrades to St.Peters Road in the Summer of 2021. Those upgrades include construction of a roundabout at the location of Angus Drive, Hanmac Avenue and St Peters Road.

“The proposed roundabout will alleviate issues with access from Angus Drive and will keep traffic flowing as opposed to waiting to make left or right turns at this intersection. The proposed access driveway from Mel’s to Angus Drive will also create a much safer situation for customers leaving or entering the site. Currently, residents that live north of Mel’s and St.Peters Road have to go down to St.Peters Road to get to Mel’s site. Once this access goes in and the roundabout is constructed, residents to the north of Mel’s will be able to turn into Mel’s site and not have to enter on to St. Peters Road. That will create a much safer situation.”
Source: Monthly Meeting Package (March 8, 2021)

What’s wrong with this proposal?

  1. “Mayor Brown asked Mr. Yeo if the construction for the roundabout along St. Peters Road and Angus Drive will begin this year. Mr. Yeo responded that tenders were closed last Thursday and construction for the roundabout and road widening along St. Peters Road is anticipated to begin in May and be completed around August or September of 2021.” 
  2. “There are still negotiations with property owners, but the project will move ahead as planned.”
  3. “Councillor McCabe asked if changing the designation from mature neighbourhood to the village centre allow further commercial development on the property. Councillor Duffy responded that this application is only a request to proceed to public meeting.”

Why is a public meeting called when the project is going ahead anyway?

This City Council still believes—as does the Province—that cars are the best way to get around, when they are in fact virtually the only way to get around, because so little money is invested in connected public and active transportation; that more roads are needed to reduce congestion; and that pedestrians and cyclists can be accommodated through added-on, second-rate infrastructure.

City Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019. Building more roads for more cars that produce direct emissions, including smog-forming pollutants (such as nitrogen oxides), other pollutants harmful to human health, and greenhouse gases (GHGs), primarily carbon dioxide, is the very opposite of the sustainable community design and urban planning that a municipality should be striving to achieve in 2021!

Will the 15 Haviland flawed approval process be repeated at 199 Grafton?

Author: Doug MacArthur
Posted with author’s permission. Original on Future of Charlottetown FaceBook page on Friday, March 19, 2021.

Watch video recording (50 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/c/CityofCharlottetown/videos

On Monday, March 22, a very important Design Review Board meeting is being held regarding APM’s proposed 84-unit apartment building to be built in the Polyclinic parking lot. Citizens need to have much more information and input than happened in the 15 Haviland case. Already, there is reason for concern.

Design Review is the City committee which approved 15 Haviland Street, 99-unit, project in 17 minutes, including the developer’s [APM] presentation. There was then no recourse allowed by the Mayor for any public input by the community or even City Council. Our only 15 Haviland recourse is for an IRAC appeal which will be launched if/when the City issues a Development Permit. The Polyclinic 84 unit seems to be embarking on a similar rushed approval process. 

Several days ago, the City announced that the Design Review Board would meet about 199 Grafton on March 22. Not until Friday, March 19, did the Design Reviewer provide his technical report, and that Reviewer is the same New Brunswick architect who was paid $1500 to review APM’s $30-million 15 Haviland proposal. He was supportive of 15 Haviland, while highly regarded architects called it an urban design disaster and a box on top of a bunker on Charlottetown’s beautiful waterfront.

Late Friday afternoon, March 19, the City provided the meeting package for the noon, Monday, March 22 meeting. In the meeting package, APM asks that the Design Review Board process the necessary variances and the Development Agreement concurrently. It is clear that the developer wants this approval fast-tracked, although it is not expected to be approved at Monday’s meeting because there are so many issues with the project. These issues need to be fully resolved before any Development Agreement is entertained. Following are some of the many issues.

In the meeting package, APM refers to the project as “affordable” housing in nine instances, but nowhere in the package does it state how many of the units will actually be affordable housing. Will it be all 84 units or only a few token units to help get the project approved as per 15 Haviland? On February 16, in a CBC article about the proposed Polyclinic project, when asked about the number of affordable housing units, Tim Banks stated “it’s difficult to determine exactly how many of the units will fall into the affordable housing category.” That’s not good enough. This Polyclinic parking lot is an ideal location for bona fide affordable housing, but the exact number needs to be known before any consideration should be given to significant variances in this 500 Lot Area.

As to the variances required, there are many as the Design Reviewer acknowledges when he says “..it is clear that there are several variances required prior to obtaining a Development Agreement including frontages, setbacks, step backs, heights, Clark Street.” In fact, APM’s plans call for building right up to the edge of Clark Street, which borders the proposed project for 428 feet.

All told, this appears to be another case, as per 15 Haviland, of overbuilding a site and not respecting the scale or other physical aspects of the neighbourhood. In the meeting package, APM says that because it has “identified no significant commonality or distinction surrounding the area, the design for the proposed building adapted to what we feel is appropriate for this site.”

There are various other issues related to this proposed project which need to be addressed, and this scrutiny should begin at Monday’s Design Review meeting. Two of the key Design Review members are the Mayor and the ward Councillor for that area. For 15 Haviland, they both were wearing APM hardhats. We hope they will better represent our community’s interests on Monday and as this project proceeds through a thorough due diligence and public input process.

Source: Design Review Package – March 22, 2021

City of Charlottetown Meeting Calendar

Knowing what is happening at City Hall is as easy as looking at the Meeting Calendar.

Here are the three simple steps:

  1. Go to https://www.charlottetown.ca
  2. Select MAYOR & COUNCIL
  3. Select Meeting Calendar under COUNCIL MEETINGS

Here’s what the March 2021 meeting calendar looks like:

Click on any of the meetings shown in blue for more information, such as time of meeting, location, agenda, and meeting package (if available).

Most meetings are held on a regular basis every month, are streamed live and then archived on the City’s YouTube channel.

A Special Meeting of Council, however, can be called at the Mayor’s or the Chief Administration Officer’s (CAO) request as little as 24 hours in advance, according to the Municipal Government Act (2017).


Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear from you.

How well is our city really doing?

City to conduct Citizen Satisfaction Survey

Recently posted under News and Notices on the City of Charlottetown’s Web site: “Charlottetown City Council will commission MDB Insight to conduct the first ever Charlottetown Citizen Satisfaction Survey, in an effort to gauge City residents’ satisfaction with the handling of priority issues within the City.”

The Strong Towns Strength Test

Strong Towns is a North American non-profit organization that helps individuals and municipalities learn about and adopt a radically new way of thinking about the way we build our world.

In 2016, they developed a ten-question Strong Towns Strength Test, which is still valid today.

Based on those ten questions, how successful do you think the City of Charlottetown is today?

Why New Charlottetown Project?

Over

My inspiration for the name came from the New Georgia Project, a non-partisan civic engagement organization dedicated to increasing voter registration.

My aim is to encourage Charlottetowners to become more active citizens, create a sense of the larger community we live in, and let the Mayor and City Council know that our voices count in plans and projects that affect our city.

Political scientists describe our system of voting every few years but otherwise leaving everything up to government as weak democracy. In a weak democracy, citizens have no role, no real part in decision-making between elections.

Charles Dobson, 25 Nov 2003 | TheTyee.ca

The next municipal election is in 2022. Let us raise our voices, let us connect with each other, and let us be instrumental in creating a positive social environment by transforming the way in which our city is run.