Is Mayor Brown in an ongoing conflict of interest? The public needs answers. 

Author: Doug MacArthur

Following is a summary of pertinent facts to consider re Mayor Philip Brown and his possible conflict of interest re APM et al. In addition to being mayor of Charlottetown, Mayor Philip Brown works with his family business [EB Brown Transport and Crane Services Inc and Atlantic Hy-Span Ltd] as a business accountant and public relations officer and director. His family business is a member of the Construction Association of PEI with Philip Brown listed as the EB Brown contact person.

Since becoming mayor, his family business has provided crane services to Tim Banks/APM on a number of projects, including the Blackbush Tracadie project in 2020 and APM projects in the city. When questioned on this, Tim Banks recently told CBC News “..the mayor’s crane shows up on our job sites, what are we supposed to do, wait until we can get one from the Irvings? It’s just doing business on a small island.” It should be noted that there are other PEI crane services providers besides EB Brown.

Despite his private business interests, Mayor Brown has not excused himself from City Hall development/planning/permit deliberations/decisions involving Tim Banks and/or APM and related companies. In fact, Mayor Brown has presided at various such City Council meetings, most recently in the City Council decision in late August to approve a footings permit for Killam/APM’s Sherwood Crossing project after other City officials had issued a Cease Construction Order to APM. Mayor Brown also vigorously contended that the 15 Haviland Killam/APM-proposed waterfront high-rise should be granted “as of right” without an opportunity for Council or public input. The 15 Haviland project does not even remotely qualify for “as of right” (without the need for additional approvals or amendments). He also contends that he doesn’t vote as mayor unless there is a tie. But he doesn’t mention that he sits and participates on every Council committee, including Planning Board, and has voting rights on all of them.

At an August 9th, 2021, Regular Monthly meeting of City Council, a councillor asked City Solicitor David Hooley what happens if a Council member has a conflict of interest and doesn’t declare it? What are the consequences? David Hooley replied that the consequences for a member who doesn’t declare a conflict of interest are serious, based on PEI’s Municipal Government Act. Mr Hooley noted that the consequences are also serious for the organization [i.e. City Council] because the person not declaring the conflict may taint the whole organization and require that the whole project approval process go back to Council again. This opinion by Mr Hooley should be a concern relating to Sherwood Crossing, and possibly other APM developments in which Mayor Brown has participated.

The Municipal Government Act (Section 96) is very clear.
(1) A council member is in a conflict of interest if, in relation to a matter under consideration by the council, the member or a person closely connected to the member
(a) has any pecuniary interest; ….
(2) A council member is in a conflict of interest if the member makes a decision or participates in making a decision in the execution of his or her office while at the same time the member knows or ought reasonably to know that the member’s private interests or the private interests of a person closely connected to the member affected the member’s impartiality in the making of the decision….
(3) A council member who is in a conflict of interest as described in subsection (1) or (2) shall
(a) declare the member’s interest in the matter before the council;
(b) remove himself or herself from the council meeting and any other meeting when the matter is discussed;
(c) abstain from the discussion and voting on the matter; and
(d) not attempt in any way, before, during or after a meeting, to influence the discussion or voting on any question, decision, recommendation or other action to be taken involving a matter in which the member has a conflict of interest.
(4) Subject to subsection (6), a member who fails to comply with clauses (3)(a) to (c) or who contravenes clause (3)(d) is disqualified from serving on council.”

Finally, although Future of Charlottetown has issues with Councillor Greg Rivard being the official real estate agent for Killam/APM’s Sherwood Crossing project, Councillor Rivard, to his credit, was quoted in a CBC interview last week as saying “I’ve stepped out of the room on any conversation because I’m in conflict,” he says. “Any discussion with regards to anything related to the developer, Tim Banks, any project that he comes forward with, I’m in conflict.”

Why shouldn’t Mayor Philip Brown have followed the same course and what, if anything, are the consequences for not doing so? Also, what are the City Solicitor’s responsibilities to advise City Council re this potentially serious conflict on the Mayor’s part and to protect the public interest, and what are the responsibilities of councillors in this matter? And what of the Province’s oversight role? The public needs answers.

Author: Doug MacArthur
Published Wednesday, 8 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)

Water connects us all

In a world divided by race, tribe, gender, religion and so much more, it is easy to forget that water connects us all. The molecules of H2O that comprise 60 per cent of each of us have circulated across space and time throughout the ages. They move through the air, the trees, birds and bees, and through you and me – and may have quenched a dinosaurʼs thirst so very long ago.

So, yes, there is hope. It is that we will come to know that the soft rain and flowing water are undeserved but precious gifts of life – gifts to be shared among all living things. And that this knowing will unite us in humbly taking our place in the planetʼs great cycles with respect for all that is, has ever been, and ever will be.

Sandra Postel
Director of the Global Water Policy Project
Freshwater Fellow with the National Geographic Society

Excerpt from:
Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet
edited by Todd E. MacLean
copyright 2014

Update (9): St Peters Rd/Angus Dr

After an initial 8-1 vote in April to reject the resolution for Mel’s Convenience store/gas station owner Dan MacIsaacʼs rezoning application, several councillors did an about-face and voted to rescind that resolution at a Special Meeting of Council on Monday, 28 June 2021 (video-recording starts here), with a 6–3 vote. This means that Mr MacIsaac’s Request for Reconsideration was accepted and a new, slightly modified, resolution for the rezoning application was approved, and passed first reading the same evening.

The two most vocal speakers at this Special Council meeting were Councillors Mitchell Tweel (speaking for the residents of the Angus Drive neighbourhood) and Terry Bernard (speaking in favour of the roundabout).

Highlights

  1. Councillor Mitchell Tweel raised a Point of Order to question the validity and legality of the June 23 public meeting: If the applicant for the Request for Reconsideration was Mel’s Convenience owner Dan MacIsaac, why was the Province (Stephen Yeo) at the meeting and why was he allowed to make a presentation about the $20-million St Peters Road project?
  2. Before allowing lawyer David Hooley to respond to Tweel’s Point of Order, Mayor Brown put Planner Laurel Thompson on the spot by asking her to justify Yeoʼs presence at the public meeting.
  3. Lawyer David Hooley responded to Tweelʼs question about the legality of the public meeting without really answering it, with Mayor Brown interjecting rather aggressively several times.
  4. Councillor Terry Bernard brought up “the importance of the roundabout (as explained by the Province), and that was new information” (hence Council accepting the Request for Reconsideration). He also asked for clarification about a resident who called his integrity into question during the public meeting because of a letter he had written to inform his constituents about the roundabout without mentioning the rezoning application.
  5. Lawyer David Hooley stood again to give a legal opinion on the letter written by Bernard, and certain remarks made by Councillor Mike Duffy, both of whom were subject to disqualification from a vote on the Request for Reconsideration by being in a conflict of interest, according to information provided by Angus Drive resident Patty Good at the June 22 public meeting. Hooley’s response: “In our opionion, these two individuals are not disqualified from participating in this process… The acid test is councillors need to maintain an open mind until they get to the final decision… You are also required to not prejudge, and I did not see any evidence of prejudgement in the letter, I did not see any evidence of prejudgement in Counc. Duffyʼs remarks… In our opinion, they are not in conflict…” [= Two votes in favour of Dan MacIsaacʼs rezoning application].
  6. Councillor Greg Rivard (also the Chair of the Protective and Emergency Services Standing Committee) said he spoke with someone at the Fire Department about various scenarios concerning emergency services, and how the presence or absence of a roundabout would affect their response time. In a court of law, this would be considered hearsay. In any case, the opinion or expertise of the Fire Department was not sought for this rezoning application.
  7. Councillor Julie McCabe responded to Rivardʼs concern by saying that he made some good points but it really is a provincial issue, one that the Province should be thinking about.
  8. With talk about safety on St Peters Road, Councillor Tweel asked why no one had considered the safety of the residents living on Angus Drive (and Short Street), residents who had been, time and again, against this rezoning application.
  9. A fifteen-minute back and forth between Councillors Bernard and Tweel ensued, who were obviously in disagreement with each otherʼs points of view [Mayor Brownʼs subtle agreement heard at 1:43:02 while Bernard spoke].
  10. Councillor Bob Doiron voiced his opinion that other options surely must exist that would eliminate the need for vehicles arriving/departing Melʼs from using Angus Drive.
  11. Tweel agreed with Doiron and questioned why the City didn’t do its own due diligence to solicit a couple of engineers to ask them to …, and without getting to the end of his question, the Mayor jumped right in and said “It’s not our road [St Peters].” To which Tweel replied: “That’s right it’s not our road, itʼs two separate issues, and that’s how the residents feel.”
  12. Mayor Brown repeated again that the resolution states “… in order to facilitate road upgrades” without specifying what those upgrades are. Planner Laurel Thompson reiterated that safety is the primary reason for the new access road.

It appears to be quite evident that the Province (in the person of Chief Engineer Stephen Yeo) designed the roundabout at Angus Drive to accommodate Dan MacIsaac’s desire for an additional access route to his business (Melʼs Convenience store).

Because, why else would the provincial chief engineer state that there is no other option but to have an exit and entrance on Angus Drive — precisely where Mr MacIsaac has his lots that heʼs been wanting to consolidate to expand his business — otherwise the roundabout cannot be constructed?


Second reading of the rezoning application resolution is scheduled to take place at another Special Meeting of Council on Monday, July 5, 2021 (agenda, which also includes the item Marshfield annexation). The second reading is a formality. Once passed, the final recourse for the Angus Drive residents would be to file an appeal with IRAC by no later than 21 days following Councilʼs approval.

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

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

Update (6): ‘When the hurly-burly’s done’ on Angus Drive

A tale, or two, of two neighbourhoods

The Planning Board meeting to review the Request for Reconsideration filed by Dan MacIsaac, President of Mel’s, on Tuesday, 25 May, lasted only thirty minutes, so watching the video recording won’t take too much of anyone’s time.

Councillor Julie McCabe summed up the situation quite succinctly [19:15]: “I believe this is a provincial problem.”

While the outcome was not unexpected (8–1 in favour to endorse the request), it was Mr Forbes’s undeniable support for the reconsideration that was quite revealing. More on that below.

(1) Two neighbourhoods on opposite sides of the road

In a cunning move, Stephen Yeo, chief engineer with the Department of Transportation informed CBC on 20 May of a possible cost-effective but deceptive alternative to the roundabout in the form of a central island (aka median strip), after Charlottetown’s City Council rejected the Province’s assumed acceptance of the Angus Drive exit from Mel’s Convenience store.

On Thursday, 27 May, an interview by CBC morning show host Mitch Cormier with a Hanmac Street resident added another dimension to the St Peters Road/Angus Drive roundabout boondoggle*.

Intentionally or not, the St Peters Road/Angus Drive provincial/municipal project is not only pitting one neighbourhood against another, it also risks bringing two City councillors into conflict with each other. By some quirk of geography, St Peters Road marks the boundary between Ward 9 (north side) and Ward 10 (south side).

Moreover, the CBC article states: “The province said that decision made the proposed roundabout unsafe and presented a new plan without it.” The Planning Board’s meeting package included no drawing with this new plan. Perhaps it will be included in the meeting package of the Special Meeting of Council scheduled for Monday, 31 May, which has a packed agenda: seven items of discussion with the Reconsideration fifth in line.

(2) Two neighbourhoods: double standards

Let’s go back to the Planning Board meeting for the ‘or twoʼ tale of two neighbourhoods.

Alex Forbes, Manager of the Planning & Heritage Department, presented his report on the Request for Reconsideration submitted by Dan MacIssac, President of Melʼs. The gist of the request is based on new information provided by the province about the interdependence of the proposed (provincial) roundabout and the proposed (municipal) Angus Drive exit for traffic leaving Mel’s [go to 13:25 in video recording]. Mr Forbes expressed his opinion that this new information was somehow not clearly conveyed during the 23 March public meeting by the three presenters. Furthermore, he advised the Planning Board that Council can reconsider the rezoning application in favour of Mel’s. Were this to occur, another public meeting would be held to convey all the additional relevant facts.

Compare this with the APM Sherwood Crossing1 rezoning application and subsequent resolution, which Council approved in a 6–3 vote on 14 December 2020,
[A] even though the related Sherwood-area traffic study (later dubbed the ‘West Royalty Commercial Area Transportation Master Plan’) was presumably still being completed at the time the 26 August public meeting took place;
[B] even though the Sherwood-area traffic study was presented to City Council on 29 October at a closed session of a Special Meeting of Council; and
[C] even though Councillor Tweel asked twice (9 November and 14 December) that Council approve a second public meeting, given the new information received by Council on 29 October about future roads for planned developments in the Sherwood neighbourhood. His request was denied both times.

Here is what Councillor Duffy said during the 14 December Monthly Meeting of Council: “People seem to think the larger one [traffic study] is to validate or confirm Sherwood Crossing in place when it actually has nothing to do with that. It had a bearing, but the approval or not of Sherwood Crossing is not contingent upon the master traffic plan” [video 1:00:20 and 2:06:25].

A tale of two governments

It should be remembered that The Guardian reported on the $20 million St Peters Road plan to ‘fix traffic headachesʼ on 21 February 2020. (To set the date in context, the coronavirus was still ‘only’ an epidemic and centred in Asia and on cruise ships.)

The article stated: Speaking before an audience of about 100 residents at the Hillsborough Community Centre on Thursday, P.E.I.’s chief engineer Stephen Yeo said the corridor sees about 1,500 vehicles per hour during peak times. “We could be up to over 2,600 vehicles per hour turning down St. Peters Road [by 2029].”

A progressive government, provincial or municipal, no longer ‘fixes traffic headachesʼ with new roads or roundabouts. A progressive government invests in a combination of interdependent public transportation and active travel. A progressive government strives to reduce car dependence, and promote low-carbon urbanization. A progressive government uses public money for the common good of its citizens and for the community as a whole.

Instead, two levels of government continue to make unpredictable moves in a politically orchestrated attempt to satisfy the desires of a local business owner and to justify expensive, publicly funded roadworks, and in so doing, bringing emotional turmoil to numerous citizens.

Will Monday’s meeting see City councillors influenced to vote a certain way or will cooler heads and moral conscience prevail?


I’m not the type to resort to Shakespeare, but something Alex Forbes said during the Planning Board meeting [29:15] listing the three parties ‘who have an interestʼ got me thinking about the number three in Macbeth. When the hurly-burlyʼs done is from Act 1, Scene 1.

*Boondoggle (n. informal North American): An unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulent project.

1 IRAC hearing LA21001 – Read v. City of Charlottetown is scheduled for Monday, 31 May 2021. Grounds for appeal: Failure to consult and inform public on City’s Master Traffic Plan with respect to Sherwood Crossing rezoning application.

UPDATE (5): St Peters Rd/Angus Dr

A special meeting of the Planning Board, was held on Tuesday, 25 May, to review the Request for Reconsideration for Angus Drive (Lot 40) (PID #419143) & 413 St. Peters Road (PID #419135).

The Planning & Heritage Department encouraged the Planning Board to recommend to Council that it reconsider its 12 May decision to reject the rezoning application resolution.

A bit of history

It is worth remembering that Mel’s started out as a fruit stand some twenty-five years ago. Over time, that fruit stand began to offer gas for motorists coming and going from the Charlottetown area. Today, Mel’s has nine locations in two provinces.

2014: First rezoning application

In January 2014, wishing to develop the property, Mel’s owner sought to rezone part of one R-1L (single-detached residential dwelling) lot and all of one R-2 (low density residential) lot into a ‘Mixed Use Commercial’ in what is a Mature Neighbourhood. That application was deferred, but brought back before Council in April 2015, still with the purpose to expand the store and parking lot, but to two thirds (1,200 ft2 instead of 1,800 ft2) of the original area. Following a public meeting, the 2015 rezoning application was rejected.

2021: Reconsideration Request

A Request for Reconsideration must comply with Section 3.15.3 of the Zoning & Development By-law by providing new material facts/evidence not available at the time of the decision. The Reconsideration Request Plan 2021-25-May-6A document signed by Planning Manager Alex Forbes states that “The applicant [owner Dan MacIsaac] contends that during the public hearing on 23 March 2021, it was not made clear to Council and area residents (that in the absence of the Angus Drive access), there is not sufficient distance for a vehicle to safely exit our parking lot and change lanes entering the roundabout and proceed in an easterly direction.” And “The Province did not discuss in detail the potential problems related to directing all of the traffic exiting Mel’s property heading west on to St Peters Road. It is the traffic and safety implications that will result from this scenario that the applicant now contends that neither the public or Council were fully aware of at the public meeting.”

Both the applicant and provincial representatives were present at the public meeting on 23 March. Why did none of them fully apprise Council and area residents at that time?

Letʼs backtrack to the 8 March 2021 Council Meeting Package, in which: “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.”  Clearly, the Province did not expect Charlottetown City Council to reject Mr MacIsaacʼs rezoning application and has now found itself in a bit of a pickle.

The Request for Reconsideration also has to comply with Section 3.15.3 of the Zoning & Development By-law in which a material change of circumstances has occurred since the initial order or decision [has been taken]. Mr Forbes’s Request document states: “At the public hearing, Councillor Tweel asked staff whether the proposed roundabout would proceed if the Angus Drive access and rezoning application request was not approved. [City planner] Laurel Palmer Thompson indicated that the roundabout would proceed if Mel’s rezoning application was denied. […] In hindsight, Ms Thompson should not have answered this question…”
Oopsies! I contend this ‘material change of circumstancesʼ doesnʼt pass the sniff test.
Listen to Coun. Tweel’s question and Ms Thompson’s reply in the video recording starting at 1:21:40.

Finally, Dan MacIsaac wrote in his Request for Reconsideration letter to Mr Forbes [p. 27 in 25 May Planning Board package]: “… but the traffic on Angus Drive will only increase from St Peters Road to the proposed Angus Drive access which is approximately 150 feet [=46 m].” And yet, in response to a question by Councillor Tweel, “Mr. Yeo responded that the increase in traffic along Angus Drive would be the first 100 metres [=328 ft].” See 6 April Planning Board package (p. 22/137).
Isn’t it about time that Canada become fully metricized so that everyone uses the same set of measurements?

Stay tuned for highlights of the 25 May Special Planning Board meeting.

UPDATE (4): St Peters Rd/Angus Dr

On 12 April, City Councillors voted 8–1  to reject the resolution on this rezoning application, with Coun. Duffy the only one in favour. 

“It would be too much traffic for this residential street. I’m glad council saw it our way.”

Angus Drive resident Paul McGonnell was pleased with Council’s decision.

Yesterday, on 18 May, the agenda for a special meeting of the Planning Board, scheduled for Tuesday, 25 May, was posted. The main topic: Reconsideration request for Angus Drive (Lot 40) (PID #419143) & 413 St. Peters Road (PID #419135).

A reconsideration is permitted under Section 3.15 of the Zoning and Development Bylaw.

3.15 RECONSIDERATION

3.15.1  If a Permit or other approval under this by-law is granted, not granted, or granted subject to conditions and the applicant or an aggrieved person feels the decision is unjustified or unwarranted under this by-law, the applicant or an aggrieved person may seek a reconsideration by Council.

3.15.2  An aggrieved person or an applicant wishing to launch a reconsideration shall make known their intention to do so and the grounds or reasons within twenty-one (21) calendar days of the initial decision.

3.15.3  Council may review, rescind, change or vary any order or decision made by the Development Officer or by Council provided that:

  • New material facts or evidence not available at the time of the initial order or decision have come to light;
  • A material change of circumstances has occurred since the initial order or decision; or
  • There is a clear doubt as to the correctness of the order or decision in the first instance.

3.15.4  A letter shall be sent by ordinary mail explaining the reconsideration request to all Affected Property Owners within 100 m (328.1 ft) of the boundaries of the subject Lot identifying the subject Lot.

3.15.5  Council shall hear any request for reconsideration of a decision under this section and Council shall give all interested persons an opportunity to be heard and make a determination on a request for reconsideration.

3.15.6  The City is not liable for any Development commenced prior to the lapse of the twenty-one (21) calendar day appeal period.

3.15.7  The City shall not consider an application for reconsideration if, at the same time, there is an appeal filed with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission; but the City may proceed with reconsideration if the applicant has instructed the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission in writing to hold the appeal in abeyance, and the Commission has agreed in writing to hold their appeal until the appellant has exhausted the recourse of reconsideration with the City.


From the CBC article posted on 13 April:

Coun. Duffy said around six people gave their opinions at a public meeting and about eight letters were sent. He said he doesn’t think that should be enough to kill a project.

Duffy said the developer can offer another solution that can be brought back to council. He’s hoping to see a solution offered that is acceptable to all parties at the regular council meeting next month.

Posted: 19 May 2021 at 12:32 p.m. | Updated: 19 May 2021 at 8:35 p.m.

The ongoing saga of Sir John A. statue

On 16 June 2020, Charlottetown City council held a special closed meeting to address the John A. bench statue at the entrance to Richmond Street (aka Victoria Row) after receiving several e-mails calling for it to be removed.

During the night of 17 June 2020, the statue was defaced with a large amount of red paint.

On 25 June 2020, at a Special Meeting of Council, Mayor Brown introduces the “piece of art” topic (start at 23:20 of video-recording) and a discussion ensues on what to do to address the issue.

CBC reported: “Charlottetown city council is keeping a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald on public display, and will open talks with P.E.I.’s Indigenous community about how best to present Canada’s contentious history of its dealings with Indigenous people.”

On 7 September 2020, the bench the statue sits on was knocked over and dragged.

On 20 January 2021, the Economic Development, Tourism & Event Management Committee discussed the statue (22:45 to 52:45 of video-recording), with Committee Chair Julie McCabe providing a good summary of events to date.

On 28 January 2021, in response to the Committee meeting, the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils address a letter to Mayor Brown in which they reiterated the five suggestions they had made to address the statue situation in keeping with Reconciliation objectives:

  1. Revising the art installation with the addition of another figure, such as an Indigenous child or elder, to offset the existing one and therefore visibly represent his impact on Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
  2. Fill in or seal off the empty space on the bench to remove any opportunity for the bench to be used for photo opportunities. 
  3. Install signage or sufficiently large plaquing to ensure that those viewing the installation can clearly read and understand the devastating role that Sir John A. MacDonald played in the Indigenous history of Canada. 
  4. If the artist engaged is not Indigenous, a Mi’kmaq artist should be contracted to serve as a consultant and provide guidance to the artist. 
  5. The completion date for this work should be as soon as reasonably possible with elements in place by spring at the latest.
  6. PLUS: We had hoped that while work was under way, signage would have been immediately placed on the bench to a) remove the photo opportunity and b) advise that a project is underway to amend the installation to tell the true and complete history of Sir John A. MacDonald and his role in the policies and laws which continue to have devastating impacts on the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. 

Fast-forward to 21 April 2021: In this Economic Development, Tourism & Event Management Committee meeting, Mayor Philip Brown (video-recording 4:35 to 9:30) focussed on the statue conundrum — reminding those present that it is a $75,000 public piece of art — in view of the resolution passed 25 June 2020.

The resolution stated:
That City Council endorse the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald [sic] remain in place,
And further that the City bring the appropriate stakeholders together to determine best steps forward to recognize that the full story be told, and in particular, involve the Native Council, MCPEI and L’nuey to ensure direct input to bring resolve.
CARRIED 10-0

The Mayor and Coun. MacLeod had a heated exchange, with the Mayor concerned that this ongoing controversy is tarnishing the city’s image, and the 25 June 2020 resolution failed to make a recommendation to City Council.

Economic Development, Tourism & Event Management Committee meeting (21 April 2021)

And so, on 26 April 2021, at a Special Meeting of Council, Mayor Brown proposed an amendment to the June 2020 resolution. Some confusion ensues… Some councillors wonder why the statue is being discussed … again … when it’s not even on the agenda.

On 30 April 2021, The Guardian reported that red paint had been smeared on the face of statue (published in May 1 paper edition).

Stay tuned for a special meeting of the Economic Development, Tourism & Event Management Committee starting at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 5 May 2021. The meeting will be streamed live. The video recording will be available on the City’s YouTube channel.

Posted: 4 May 2021, 6:45 p.m. ⎢ Updated: 5 May 2021, 10:40 a.m.