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 (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.

It’s time to reclaim our roads

Video : Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

Even though this eighteen-minute video was shot in New York City, Rollie Williams does a fabulous job explaining how the car industry hijacked our roads.

Be prepared for some history, a bit of satire, a bit of comedy, and a lot of information. As he says, “Now is the time to get involved!” We cannot let motor vehicles continue to be the only way to travel on Prince Edward Island.


“Mum, why can’t I walk to school?”


Hey City!

REGIONAL TRAVEL: Post-WWII euphemism for long & unsustainable car trips

Public Meeting: West Royalty Transportation Master Plan

Background

The words “traffic study” and “traffic master plan” were used interchangeably last year during the North of Towers, a.k.a. Sherwood Crossing, rezoning application meetings. Despite requests by citizens for a copy of the traffic study, the City consistently refused, partly on the grounds that the two were not connected, partly because it would call a public meeting in future. In a 6–3 City Council vote on December 14, 2020, the rezoning application for the future Killam/APM development located within the traffic study area was approved.

On April 13, the City announced that the Public Works department is hosting a public consultation on Monday, April 26 at the Homburg Theatre (Confederation Centre of the Arts). The purpose is to provide prepare a final West Royalty Commercial Area Transportation Master Plan based on public input received during a one-meeting, two-hour ‛consultation processʼ.

When a slide presentation of the traffic study was released to the public in February, it bore the title SDU & Area Vacant Lands—Transportation Master Plan.

In March, when the Draft Final Report posted on the City’s website, it was renamed West Royalty Commercial Area—Transportation Master Plan.

What is a Transportation Master Plan [TMP]?

It is a document that guides a municipality’s transportation investment and activities, and typically uses a strategic framework that incorporates the Cityʼs vision, feedback from the community, and an analysis of transportation challenges and opportunities.

The City of Courtenay, B.C., (2016 pop. 54,157) presents an excellent example with its completed 2019 Transportation Master Plan.

Transportation … or Traffic?

The Transportation Master Plan document created by CBCL, whose mission“is to provide world-class engineering and environmental services” (no Transportation Planning in its list of ‛Solutionsʼ), states the following in the Executive Summary:

Note fourth line: ‛to forecast the growth of vehicular travel demand’

Nearly 35 pages are filled with details of the traffic analysis zones and roughly 40 pages with traffic data.

What about other modes of transportation?

Section 4.2. Active Transportation: “AT design focused on the human experience will positively influence mode choice among residents and visitors, and help to reduce the negative effects of a transportation system dominated by motorized vehicles.”

Section 4.3. Transit: “Future roadways and development site plans within the study area should be designed with transit connectivity in mind include adequate lighting and signage at stops; safe, comfortable shelters; and good active transportation connections.”

Section 4.4. entitled Sherwood Residential Area appears to have been added to soothe local residentsʼ fears about increased traffic. (Not a joke.)

The cover letter to Scott Adams, Manager of Public Works, states:

CBCL Limited (CBCL) is pleased to present the findings of this comprehensive study of vacant lands adjacent to the main commercial area of Charlottetown. We understand there is increasing pressure from several property owners, primarily north and east of the Charlottetown Mall, to obtain City approval to move forward with various development plans. The main objective of this Transportation Master Plan is to assist City staff by providing strategies for future development and street connections to the existing road network needed to support this growth.

Posted: April 19, 2021 | Last Updated: April 22, 2021

UPDATE (3): St Peters Rd/Angus Dr

This is the final instalment. Phew!

With Councillor Coady ineligible to vote (having declared a conflict of interest), the remaining City Councillors voted to reject the resolution on this rezoning application.

The discussion, which lasts nearly one hour, starts at minute 25:00 in the video-recording of the meeting.

Hear what your councillor said

Coun. Tweel (27:42) “Angus Drive has been a neighbourhood street for the past 50 years.”
Coun. Bernard (33:43) States reasons he’s against the application.
Coun. McCabe (35:40) States reasons she’s against the application.
Coun. Rivard (38:03) Not in favour of application, but presents a motion to defer the decision. Seconded by Coun. Jankov. Offers possible solutions (interrupted by annoying coughing – Coun. Duffy?).
Coun. Jankov (39:30) Supports deferral, stating it’s an opportunity to have a win for everybody.
Coun. Rivard (41:00) Refers to a past [similar?] rezoning application [Needs Convenience Store at Robin Avenue]
Coun. McCabe (41:38) Reminds everyone that the decision cannot be deferred, because the roundabout is on the verge of being built by the province. Manager of Planning Alex Forbes stated the tender is out for the roundabout.
Coun. Tweel (43:20) Reminds everyone the topic is the rezoning application, and residents want an answer.
Coun. Ramsay (45:15) “We have to start looking after residents.”
Coun. Rivard (46:30) Still in favour of deferring a decision.
Coun. Duffy (47:18) [I hear a lecture coming] “It’s a safety concern all around. I fail to see how this would increase traffic on Angus Drive.” He has the gall to disparage the six individuals from five households who spoke up at the March 23 public meeting, and the writers of 3 or 4 letters not in support, presuming that the remaining 1495 households in Ward 9 “are all for it, or just didn’t have the time to tell us their thoughts.”
Coun. Bernard (52:30) “How much commercial do we want on St Peters?”
Coun. Jankov (55:35) Deferral will allow for further discussion so the application is not quashed.
Coun. MacLeod (56:38) States reasons he’s against the application. Asks “What about MacRae Drive?” [intersects St Peters west of Angus Dr]
57:45–1:04:40 Discussion among several councillors and Mr Forbes ensues about the deferral motion.
Mayor Brown (1:04:40) After some confusion, the vote on the resolution is held. The result: 8–1 against, with Coun. Duffy the only one in favour of the rezoning application.

In the media

The Guardian: Charlottetown council throws up road block on proposed new road in East Royalty

CBC: Controversial road proposal shut down by Charlottetown council

Read my first post on the topic: March 23, 2021: Public Meeting

UDPATE (1): St Peters Rd/Angus Dr

Planning Board Meeting: April 6, 2021

On March 22, I wrote a post about the rezoning applications in the Angus Drive, St Peters Road, and Hanmac Drive area of East Royalty.

The City’s Planning Board meeting is the next step in the rezoning process. One of the Board’s responsibilities is “to consult with the community and interest groups in matters relating to land use, planning and heritage.” The Mayor, four Councillors, and five Resident members sit on the Board.

The monthly meeting is held the first Monday of the month (or Tuesday following a holiday), usually starts at 4:30 PM, and is streamed live on the City of Charlottetown Web site. Video-recordings are archived on the City’s YouTube channel (select VIDEO for most recent meetings).

Details of the Public Meeting: March 23, 2021

I’m worried we will be bombarded with air pollutants, noise pollutants and light pollutants.

Laura Morgan (pp 73–74)

Details of the St Peters Rd/Angus Drive portion of the Public Meeting are found on pages 14 to 22 of the April 6, 2021, Planning Board Meeting Package (16.7MB). The package also contains the rezoning application with historical information, the City planner’s analysis, copies of citizen letters, and more (pages 51 to 88). If you want to watch the video-recording of the presentation, go to minute 17:00 (ends at 1:28:40).

This isn’t about traffic flow, this is about Steven Yeo helping Dan MacIsaac get what he wanted for Mel’s 7 years ago …

Patty and Randy Good (page 71)
Where is the human scale?

“As the world looks to recover and rebuild in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, cities have the opportunity to curb the growing demand for driving by prioritizing street space and even generating revenue that can support public transport, walking, cycling, and other sustainable modes.”
— Institute for Transportation and Development Policy

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!