Recent goings-on at City Hall (Part 3)

Monday, 10 May: Regular Meeting of Council

Video recording available on the City’s YouTube channel


The application for this property involved three major variances: (1) Lot frontage reduced from 98 ft to 51 1/2 ft; (2) Flankage yard setback from nearly 20 ft to 10 ft; (3) Flankage yard setback for a balcony from nearly 16 ft to under 8 ft.

Planning staff recommended approval of the first two variances, and rejection of the balcony variance.

Flankage Yard means the Side Yard of a Corner Lot, and which Side Yard abuts a Street or proposed Street shown on an approved survey plan. Required Flankage Yard or minimum Flankage Yard means the minimum Side Yard required by this by-law where such Yard abuts a Street.

38:00 CAO Peter Kelly reads the 151 Upper Prince St. resolution involving three major variances. 
41:40 Coun. Greg Rivard questions the rejection of the setback for the balcony, saying it has value by offering outdoor living space. Mayor Brown asks whether he wants to make a friendly amendment.
42:08 Coun. Terry MacLeod bring up past application by the same developer and says: “Weʼve talked about this before, now we keep letting developers off the hook [like Tim Banks, maybe?] and making changes after weʼve approved them, so…”
43:50 Alex Forbes: “They have to adhere to the Zoning Bylaw…”
Back and forth between Coun. MacLeodʼs complaint and Coun. Rivardʼs issue with the balcony variance rejection.
49:55 Friendly amendment to approve the balcony variance moved by Coun. Rivard.
The vote in favour of the friendly amendment and the amended resolution is 8–1 (Coun. MacLeod opposed).
51:15 End of that application. Total time devoted to a balcony issue for a three-unit apartment building: thirteen minutes.

Compare that to the time spent on the 199 Grafton Street application with seven variances for a 84-unit apartment/parking complex: under six minutes.

Sir John A statue

1:35:45 CAO Peter Kelly read the resolution about the John A statue. Coun. Duffy expressed extreme concern about being seen to vote against John A MacDonald remaining on Queen Street (1:44).

1:46:10 Mayor Brown, speaking from the Chair, explained to Coun. Duffy: “And remember we were asked, or Coun. McCabe was asked, to get the three organizations supporting the recommendations. And all three do support them.” Mayor Brown seemed to have forgotten that the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils made the recommendations.

1:57:00 Objections and resistance by Councillors Ramsay (with motorcycle noise in the background), MacLeod, Ramsay, and Duffy clearly reveal they have failed to educate themselves about the repercussions of colonialism and the need to recognize and redress past wrongs to Indigenous peoples.

Excerpts from the CBC article posted on May 12:

The Epekwitk  Assembly of Councils said it had made five suggestions to the city to amend the art installation and “tell the true story of this individual and begin to address the trauma that its presence is continuing to perpetuate,” the statement said.

  1. Add another figure, such as an Indigenous child or elder.
  2. Fill in or seal off the empty space on the bench so it can’t be used for photo opportunities.
  3. Install signage so viewers 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’kmaw artist should be hired as a consultant.
  5. Complete the work as soon as reasonably possible.

Councillors raised several questions leading up to the vote, such as who will pay for the modifications, where the new signage and Indigenous statue will be placed and how the empty space on the bench will be filled in to discourage photo opportunities.

Some councillors asked whether the recommendations were negotiable. One suggestion raised during discussion was putting the new statue of the Indigenous figure in a different place.

Recommended reading for the Mayor and members of City Council: The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Reports, in particular The Survivors Speak and The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.

Posted: 15 May 2021 at 8:24 am | Updated 15 May 2021 at 9:06 pm

Related posts:

Recent goings-on at City Hall (Part 2)
The ongoing saga of Sir John A. statue

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.

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.