A sad day for nature

(Featured image taken on 10 JUNE, 2021, by Don R.)

Background

The first inkling the public received that a residential development was in the works for this area was in May 2019, through a CBC article whose source was likely Tim Banks: “Killam to buy 50% interest in Charlottetown Mall”.

Killam REIT’s first quarter report issued on 1 May 2019 stated: Killam is pleased to announce that it has agreed to purchase a 50% interest in the Charlottetown Mall, located in Charlottetown, PE, from RioCan REIT at a purchase price of $23.7 million for an all cash yield of 6.69%. This stabilized, grocery-anchored, enclosed mall is a 352,448 square foot retail complex and is the dominant shopping centre in Prince Edward Island. It is located on 32 acres in the heart of Prince Edward Island’s busiest retail node with future multi-family development opportunities of up to 300 units. The retail portion of the property will continue to be managed by RioCan after closing, with the future residential project being managed by Killam. This purchase will establish Killam’s second joint venture with RioCan REIT and the acquisition is expected to close on May 17, 2019.

Nothing more was heard about the development opportunity until August 2020, when a number of building blocks were already in place for the Planning Board to officially review APMʼs rezoning application for a field on the other side of the Confederation Trail.

What discussions took place between May 2019 and early 2020 to tempt Killam and/or Mr Banks to move those 300 units from the Mall (a built environment) across the Confederation Trail and onto a tree-filled green field (a natural environment)?

When development supersedes all else

APM President/CEO Tim Banks bears no respect for rules, regulations, or bylaws. With his Sherwood Crossing development under appeal before IRAC (P.E.Island Regulatory & Appeals Commission), and no development permit in hand, he has the temerity to send a bulldozer to rip up trees and clear the ground during full nesting season.

Why?

Aside from needlessly destroying shrubs and trees, how much wildlife was killed or injured on that day? People have seen hawks, chipmunks, snakes, and songbirds in this area.

Without a development permit, what right did Mr Banks have to send a bulldozer to clear a section of the land? Was it an act of defiance?

Will City officials order Mr Banks to remove his sign?

JUNE 8, 2021: Towers Road, north view (photo credit: Don R.)

8 June 2021 (Towers Road facing north)

Nature paved over

Written by Barbara Dylla, Charlottetown (published in The Guardian on 4 September 2020)

I have many concerns regarding APM MacLean’s proposed “North of Towers” development. One of them is the loss of the remaining natural areas within City boundaries. Greenfield land plays a critical role not only in conserving biodiversity and providing climate change mitigation benefits, but also has a positive effect on the fundamental quality of life in our communities.

It is no secret that natural habitat destruction and fragmentation are leading causes of biodiversity loss. Many urban jurisdictions have been using the green infrastructure concept, which is an interconnected network of natural areas that provides wildlife habitat, flood protection, cleaner air, and cleaner water.

Incidentally, does the public know that at least two new roads will bisect the Confederation Trail? While other cities upgrade the safety of their active transportation infrastructure, Charlottetown accepts proposals that degrade a marvelous multipurpose trail within its municipal boundaries.

I support denser mixed-used housing projects, but not at the expense of natural areas being needlessly paved over in favour of market-priced housing and automobility. Sustainable design practices incorporate more effective and efficient land use, along with alternative energy and energy conservation techniques. We have a valuable but limited ‘window of opportunity’ to design an urban environment that is optimized to deal with a warming world and committed to the betterment of the community. 

Why is the City not pushing to adopt more stringent, energy-efficient, and space-efficient building regulations that truly take Charlottetown into the 21st century and beyond?

Recent goings-on at City Hall (Part 2)

Monday, 10 May: Regular Meeting of Council

Video recording available on the City’s YouTube channel

Resolution: 199 Grafton Street

51:27 Introduction of the 199 Grafton St. resolution involving seven — many major — variances and exemptions. 
55:46 Reading of variances and exemptions completed. Comment “Do you need some water after that?” (speaker unknown), followed by general LAUGHTER 
55:51 “Could you repeat that [list]?” (speaker unknown). Followed by MORE LAUGHTER 
55:58 “Councillor Duffy do you want to speak to this?” (speaker unknown) 
“What more can be said??” (speaker unknown). Followed by EVEN MORE LAUGHTER. 

Resolution passed, with no discussion. It took more time to read the lengthy list of variances and exemptions … 

Neither the scale of this proposal nor the consequences of the requested variances are in any way laughing matters. The behaviour demonstrated by this council shows a complete disrespect for their elected office and the residents who put them there. 

Local media reports

CBC headline: “84-unit Grafton Street apartment passes first reading” followed by “Council voted 9-0 to proceed with the APM project”.
Two persons were interviewed for this article: APM president Tim Banks; and Planning Board Chair Mike Duffy.

Only a passing reference was made to the public meeting held in April, “where some residents expressed concerns over the height of the building as well as how it would fit in the historic area.”

As for The Guardian, no report was found in either online version (Web page or Saltwire edition).

Citizen Satisfaction Survey

Earlier in the meeting, the results of the Citizen Satisfaction Survey were presented. 

[Video 13:07] Planning Services (rezoning) had the worst performance rating (51%). Reasons provided in the survey from dissatisfied respondents: 

  • “The city works far too closely with developers to approve inappropriate development. I think the city needs a better development strategy that is holistic, rather than ad hoc.” 
  • “It depends on who you are and what you want to do. There’s too much favouritism.” 
  • “Inability or unwillingness to enforce their bylaws. They’re not holding people accountable to follow the bylaws” 
  • “More community involvement would be preferred.”

Related posts:

  • 30 April: Historic 500 Lot Area building standards and guidelines
  • 29 April: Update: 199 Grafton – Public meeting (April 27, 2021)
  • 26 April: Public Meeting 27 April: New building at 199 Grafton Street
  • 21 March: Will the 15 Haviland flawed approval process be repeated at 199 Grafton?

With contributions from Andrea Battison.