Why has City failed to promote the 2022 budget public consultation?

1. The consultation announcement

The following is an excerpt from the City of Charlottetown’s online announcement dated Thursday, December 16:

Residents, stakeholders and local businesses are invited to have their say on the City of Charlottetown’s 2022/2023 Annual Capital Budget. Community members are invited to provide comments on what they would like to see reflected in the upcoming budget. The input will help to inform Council’s deliberation of the proposed budget, ahead of approving the final budget. […] This year, written feedback is being accepted until 12 p.m. (noon) on Friday, January 14.


2. How the City and the media failed the public

The City

The online announcement appeared on that Thursday in “News and Notices” on the City’s Web site. Whoever missed it for the time it was on the main screen would have no knowledge about the call for public input.

What’s more, the budget consultation invitation is not featured on the Home page. Mainly because there is no section on the home page to promote public engagement. A curious citizen could do a search using “Budget 2022”.

It would be hard to guess that the announcement is located under Finance in the Mayor & Council section and reduced to two words: Annual Bugdet.

The striking absence of any action by the City to engage and involve the public prompted a query to the City of Charlottetown Communications Officer on Wednesday, January 5: “Was this announced in the media, either through a press release or a public notice? I have not been able to find anything on The Guardian‘s or CBC’s web sites.”

The same-day reply: “A Public Service Announcement was sent to media and community groups on December 16, 2021. I have attached the link to our City news article that is posted on our website.”

A follow-up question “Will a notice (i.e. ad) be published in The Guardian this Saturday?” was sent Thursday morning, January 6, to which no reply was received. [No municipal notice was found in The Guardian between December 16 and January 10]. A second follow-up e-mail sent Monday mid-day, January 10, remained unanswered by the end of the day.

With its one online announcement on December 16, the City has clearly failed in its duty to adequately inform citizens and raise awareness about the annual budget consultation. The administration also failed in its responsibility to verify that the media published the Public Service Announcement in a timely manner.

“Good practice for good governance in a public sector organization involves actively communicating with internal and external stakeholders, inviting feedback (even complaints).”

Public Sector Governance ‛A Guide to the Principles of Good Practice’,
Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia

Whats more, it appears that the City has no established public consultation/engagement process. Or if it does, it applies it in a rather inconsistent manner.

A comparison of other Canadian cities revealed that they begin their public engagement process with a survey and/or a round (or two) of public feedback on the draft budget. Examples from 2020 and 2021 include Regina, Kamloops, West Kelowna, Ottawa, and Quesnel. Kamloops and Ottawa provide a short explanatory video on how city budgets work, and Ottawa even organizes councillor-led meetings.

Conclusion: the City has clearly no defined or recognized participatory budgeting process that reaches all residents.

Perhaps the next administration would be open to following these three crucial things to consider when planning the next budget consultation:

  • Explain the current budget spending levels in an easily digestible way
  • Ask the community about their budget priorities
  • Explain the impact of increased spending [if any] in real terms

The media

Why did CBC and The Guardian not communicate the City’s public service announcement?

The Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines state, under Accountability:

  • We are accountable to the public for the fairness and reliability of our reporting.
  • We serve the public interest, and put the needs of our audience – readers, listeners or viewers – at the forefront of our newsgathering decisions.

3. The province also has a part to play

A search of the Municipal Government Act, which “provides the legislative framework that is necessary for municipal governments in the Province of Prince Edward Island to create and sustain safe, healthy, orderly and viable communities”, contains all of twenty-seven words with respect to a municipality’s obligation to the public:
Section 151. Public meeting
(1) Not less than two weeks before adopting its financial plan, the council shall give public notice and hold a public meeting in respect of the financial plan.

This Act, passed in 2017, has many gaps and ambiguities. It is in dire need of a thorough review and a serious overhaul to bring it in line with good governance best practices. The Municipal Government Act requires a more robust legistative framework if municipalities are to be truly orderly and viable.


More on this topic:

Watch

  1. City of Ottawa How your city budget works (3 minutes 50 seconds)
  2. City of Kamloops Basic intro to the City and Budgeting (1 minute)

read

  1. Increase participation in local government
  2. Community Engagement in Government
  3. Three crucial things to consider when planning the next budget consultation

For online written submissions, visit charlottetown.ca/budget.


P.E.I. Municipal Elections
Charlottetown Votes
Monday, November 7, 2022

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

Public invited to participate in City of Charlottetown 2022/2023 Pre-Budget Consultations

Posted on the City of Charlottetown’s Web site on Thursday, December 16:

Residents, stakeholders and local businesses are invited to have their say on the City of Charlottetown’s 2022/2023 Annual Capital Budget. Community members are invited to provide comments on what they would like to see reflected in the upcoming budget. The input will help to inform Council’s deliberation of the proposed budget, ahead of approving the final budget.

This year, written feedback is being accepted until 12 p.m. (noon) on Friday, January 14.


What is a capital budget? What is an operating budget?

Capital budget: The capital budget is used for long-term investments like infrastructure and facilities that are paid off over time. It plans for the funds the City needs to build and maintain its hard physical assets, which are intended to benefit citizens across most parts of the city.

Operating budget: The operating budget identifies the funds needed to provide all of the City’s day-to-day programs and services to its citizens. These costs return year after year and include items like staff wages, office supplies and utilities.

The estimates for City Capital Projects in last year’s Capital Budget totalled $31,565,250. The detailed breakdown by department can be a starting point for citizens who wish to submit their input, either to help them identify gaps they feel need to be addressed, or new opportunities that would improve or enhance their neighbourhood, their ward, and/or the city as whole. Another approach could be to suggest efficiencies and ways to reduce spending that still provide long-term benefits.

This is your chance to share what services and spending priorities are most important to you.


The City’s Finance, Audit and Tendering Committee has begun preparations for the annual budget process and will continue to discuss and deliberate the budget in the coming weeks. Following the Committee meetings and public input period, the budget will be brought forward for Council approval at the Special Meeting of Council that is currently scheduled for Monday, January 24, 2022.

For online written submissions, visit charlottetown.ca/budget.


Looking for inspiration? Check out some previous posts:

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

PUBLIC MEETING: October 26, 2021

Sherwood Crossing and 38 Palmers Lane

On Tuesday, October, 26, two properties will be subject to a public meeting – again.

1. Sherwood Crossing: Listed on the agenda as Corner of Towers Road and Mount Edward Road (PID # 390559, 390534, 390542).
This is a request for approval of the final architectural design drawings and site plan as per the Comprehensive Development Area (CDA) Zone provisions of the Zoning and Development Bylaw. The applicant has refined their building elevations for the proposed townhouses and are seeking input from the public on the building design before Council grants final approval. Council has previously approved the overall concept plan for this development and the only remaining Council approval at this time relates to the final design of the townhouses.

Much has been written about the controversy over the process surrounding the rezoning of the property — leading to an IRAC appeal in January — and the actual site and foundation permits approved by City Council on August 26, more than two months after APM Construction broke ground — leading to a second IRAC appeal in September.

The Planning Department has informed the appellants that “The public meeting on Tuesday night is to deal with some exterior design changes to the townhouse phase of this development only. The developer has all of the necessary approvals to proceed with the exception of the design change to the townhouses. Therefore, the only discussion on Tuesday night will relate to the change in design of the townhouse phase of this development.”

IRAC appellant #1 informed the Planning Department that “There should be no meeting and no further decisions or resolutions made in respect of this Development until the IRAC decisions on the appeals are delivered. To proceed in any other way is not in the public interest and makes a mockery of the planning appeals process.”

While IRAC appellant #2 noted that “It is unacceptable for City Council to limit public input at this public meeting.”

2. 38 Palmers Lane: City Council has once again decided to entertain consideration of a multi-unit project on this site:
The proposal is to construct two (2) townhouse dwellings consisting of a four (4) unit building and an eight (8) unit building on the property. The four (4)-unit townhouse is proposed to front on Palmers Lane and parking for this townhouse will be located at the rear of the building. The second townhouse building would be a stacked townhouse dwelling and is proposed to be constructed behind the four (4) unit townhouse.

City Council should already clearly know residents’ position on 38 Palmers Lane. Following a close vote by City Council in September 2019 to approve the rezoning — despite the Planning Department’s recommendation to reject it, a citizen filed an appeal with IRAC on behalf of sixteen neighbours.

The Commission is concerned with the argument advanced by the City – and, to a lesser extent, by the Developer – that the “housing crisis” is, in and of itself, a sound planning principle or an overriding principle in this case. When coupled with the Cityʼs plea for deference to Council, this argument ignores, or at least minimizes, the body of planning law that has developed in this province and requires adherence to sound planning principles.

IRAC Order LA20-04

In October 2020, IRAC overturned the rezoning approval, much to the residents’ relief (Order LA20-04). The 2019 proposal had been for 18 units. The current proposal is for 12 units.


The Public Meeting package contains all the details, plans, and images for the three projects to be discussed.

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 by phone at 902-629-4158. Anyone who
wants to observe the meeting without commenting can watch it at www.charlottetown.ca/video.


More on the topic:

Read the posts published in October on the Future of Charlottetown FB page.

Don’t have a FB account? Read the post in full in the Citizens Alliance newsletters: October 8, October 20, and October 24.

Posted: Oct 25, 2021, 10:31 AM AT | Last Updated: Oct 25, 2021, 6:30 PM AT

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

Please note that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of New Charlottetown Project as a whole.

Municipal elections: November 7, 2022

Mark the date: The next PEI municipal elections are on Monday, November 7, 2022.

Itʼs not too early to consider the issues affecting citizens, nor is it too early to encourage and support candidates who believe they can make a difference on City Council.

In this era of climate crisis and the profound repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on our society, it is crucial that progressive, positive, skilled and enlightened individuals — who see themselves as champions of change — seriously contemplate running for councillor in their ward.

The importance of local government

A healthy municipal democracy begins with the participation of its citizens. It is their chance to influence the future of their community.

Local government is the government closest to the people and has a direct influence on citizensʼ daily lives.

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

Local government plans and pays for local services such as public transit, recreation and activities, provides water, organizes police and fire services, establishes zoning regulations, and so much more. These are functions that directly affect citizens every day and in every part of their lives.

Our Mayor and City Council are failing both in their collective ability to fulfill their functions effectively and in meeting the expectations of the citizens.

As citizens of the City of Charlottetown, we must demand stronger municipal governance that will deliver better outcomes for public expenditures and improved efficiency in service delivery.

Do we want a more transparent, inclusive, responsive and responsible City Council?

Then let us raise our voices, connect with each other, and be instrumental in inspiring and encouraging progressive and civil society leaders from all walks of life to consider running for mayor or councillor.


More on this topic:

Elections PEI refers readers to Section 33 of the the Municipal Government Act (MGA): Division 3 – Qualification of Candidates.

33. Qualifications of candidates
(1) A person may be nominated as a candidate and elected to a council of a municipality only if
(a) the person is qualified in accordance with clauses 31(2)(a) and (b) to vote in the municipal election;
(b) the person has been ordinarily resident in the municipality for a period of at least six months before election day; and
(c) the person is not disqualified by reason of
(i) being a judge of the provincial court, the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal,
(i.1) being a member of a council of another municipality,
(ii) being a Member of Parliament or a member of the Legislative Assembly,
(iii) being a current employee who has not obtained a leave of absence in accordance with section 34 in order to be nominated as a candidate, or
(iv) another provision of this Act.

Residency limitation
(2) A person who meets the requirements of subsection (1) shall be nominated only in the municipality in which the person resides.

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

Ten Commandments for Changing the World

Written by Angela Bischoff and Tooker Gomberg for The Citizenʼs Handbook

Changing the world is a blast. Itʼs all the more achievable if you have some basic skills, and lots of chutzpah. With apologies to Moses, and God, here are our top Ten Commandments For Changing the World. Try them out on your issue. Have fun!

But first, some inspiration from Noam Chomsky: “If you go to one demonstration and then go home, thatʼs something, but the people in power can live with that. What they canʼt live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.”

1. You Gotta Believe
Have hope, passion and confidence that valuable change can and does happen because individuals take bold initiative.

2. Challenge Authority
Donʼt be afraid to question authority. Authority should be earned, not appointed. The “experts” are often proven wrong, they used to believe that the earth was flat! You don’t have to be an expert to have a valuable opinion or to speak out on an issue.

3. Know the System
The system perpetuates itself. Use the tools you have; the telephone is the most underrated. The Internet can be of great value for research as well. Learn how decisions are made. How is the bureaucracy structured? Who are the key players? What do they look like? Where do they eat lunch? Go there and talk with them. Get to know their executive assistants. Attend public meetings.

4. Take Action
Do something, anything is better than nothing. Bounce your idea around with friends, and then act. Start small, but think big. Organize public events. Distribute handbills. Involve youth. Itʼs easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact rather than to ask for permission. Just do it! Be flexible. Roll with the punches and allow yourself to change tactics mid-stream. Think laterally. Don’t get hung-up on money matters; some of the best actions have no budget.

5. Use the media
Letters to the Editor of your local newspaper are read by thousands. Stage a dramatic event and invite the media; they love an event that gives them an interesting angle or good photo. Bypass the mainstream media with email and the world wide web to get the word out about your issue and to network.

6. Build Alliances
Seek out your common allies such as other community associations, seniors, youth groups, labour, businesses, etc. and work with them to establish support. The system wins through Divide and Conquer, so do the opposite! Network ideas, expertise and issues through email lists. Celebrate your successes with others.

7. Apply Constant Pressure
Persevere; it drives those in power crazy. Be as creative as possible in getting your perspective heard. Use the media, phone your politicians, send letters and faxes with graphics and images. Be concise. Bend the Administrationʼs ear when you attend public meetings. Take notes. Ask specific questions, and give a deadline for when you expect a response. Stay in their faces.

8. Teach Alternatives
Propose and articulate intelligent alternatives to the status quo. Inspire people with well thought-out, attractive visions of how things can be better. Use actual examples, whatʼs been tried, where and how it works. Do your homework, get the word out, create visual representations. Be positive and hopeful.

9. Learn From your Mistrakes
Youʼre going to make mistakes; we all do. Critique — in a positive way — yourself, the movement, and the opposition. What works, and why? What isnʼt working? What do people really enjoy doing, and do more of that.

10. Take Care of Yourself and Each Other
Maintain balance. Eat well and get regular exercise. Avoid burn-out by delegating tasks, sharing responsibility, and maintaining an open process. Be sensitive to your comrades. Have fun. As much as possible, surround yourself with others (both at work and at play) who share your vision so you can build camaraderie, solidarity and support. Enjoy yourself, and nourish your sense of humour. Remember: you’re not alone!

So there you have it. Tools for the Evolution. You can easily join the millions of people around the world working towards ecological health and sustainability just by doing something. With genuine effort, and some luck, a sustainable future may be assured for us and the planet. Go forth and agitate. 

If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that’s something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can’t live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time.

Noam Chomsky

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.

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.

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