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

Disturbing Facts About Killam/APM’s 
Sherwood Crossing Development

Failure to fully inform the public

On 26 August 2020, the City held a public meeting to present the Killam/APM North of Towers development, now known at Sherwood Crossing.

During that meeting, APM president Tim Banks presented a traffic impact study he had commissioned for the development. The 8 September 2020 Planning Board meeting package states (p.17/280): The City is also currently undergoing a traffic study for the whole area and that would include recommendations or proposals with regards to this future road access [Spencer Drive].

The resolution to approve the APM North of Towers rezoning application was subject to five conditions, the first of which was: That the Cityʼs Traffic Master Plan (TMP) confirm that the development does not conflict with the proposed site plan.

At 1:06:55 in the video recording of the 9 November City Council meeting, Counc. Duffy states: “I am led to believe all the last four bullets have been met and just waiting for this master plan to be presented which was presented here two weeks ago at Council.”

A traffic plan commissioned by the City involves public money, and means citizens have a right to see it. But, despite repeated requests from individuals to the Mayor and City Council that another public meeting was warranted to present the traffic study — given that the first public meeting failed to disclose all the relevant additional facts surrounding the Sherwood Crossing and future developments — the study was not made public until February 2021.

At the time of approving the rezoning resolution (first reading 9 November, second reading 14 December), the Council did not even have the final ‘draft TMP’, let alone the approved TMP and so the Council could not have satisfied itself that the requirements of Condition 1 had been met. 

On 4 January 2021, Sherwood resident Don Read filed a Request for Reconsideration with the City and, following procedure, simultaneously filed an appeal with IRAC. One of the grounds for appeal (LA21001 – Read v. City of Charlottetown) was: Failure to consult and inform public on City’s Master Traffic Plan with respect to Sherwood Crossing rezoning application (related to, and relies on, a land transfer from the development).

In fact, the TMP is still not approved. The draft TMP, with its misleading title West Royalty Commercial Area Traffic Master Plan, was only formally presented to Council on 22 February 2021, and the public received its first glimpse on 26 April during a presentation by the Public Works department.


NOTE: The IRAC hearing LA21001 – Read v. City of Charlottetown is being held today.

Published on CBC PEI, Tuesday, November 10: Proposed 300-unit Charlottetown housing development passes 1st reading
“If the development ends up not fitting the traffic master plan council will look at the project again.”

Published on The Guardian, Wednesday, November 18: Major housing development in Charlottetown passes first reading at council meeting
“The councillor [Duffy] said it was determined that the Sherwood Crossing project won’t have a negative impact on traffic flow in the area.”

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.

Recent goings-on at City Hall (Part 3)

Monday, 10 May: Regular Meeting of Council

Video recording available on the City’s YouTube channel

Resolution: 151 UPPER PRINCE STREET

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

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.

The value of natural assets

The value of nature in urban environments has been highlighted and emphasized over the past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nature of Cities is a Web site that contains a wide variety of essays written by people from around the world. For example:

  1. The Value of Green Urban Assets and the True Costs of Development: How a city’s under-appreciated green assets are quietly making oxygen, absorbing pollutants, sponging up storm water, and controlling erosion. They also enhance property values, supporting urban fisheries, agriculture and recreation, and providing animal habitats and pollinator corridors. 
  2. Putting Nature First: What cities need to do to put nature first in strategic urban agendas.

Biophilic Cities is a growing global community that aims to “build an understanding of the value and contribution of nature in cities to the lives of urban residents” and “acknowledges the importance of daily contact with nature as an element of a meaningful urban life, as well as the ethical responsibility that cities have to conserve global nature as shared habitat for non-human life and people”. The Web site includes resources, films, and even a COVID-19 Research section with a long reading list covering everything from food security to active travel to urban planning to biodiversity … and more!

I hope you enjoy exploring the links above and that they inspire you to be an advocate for the protection and preservation of nature and green spaces in our beautiful city.

Guest post: Historic 500 Lot Area building standards and guidelines

Submitted by Joan Cumming, a long-time Sydney Street resident who attended the 27 April Public Meeting for the 199 Grafton residential/parkade/commercial development proposal

At the public meeting on April 27, 2021, I quoted to you from the “Standards and Guidelines” section of the report by the Planning Partnership approved by Council a few years ago, highlighting their comments on large and taller buildings proposed for the historic 500 Lot Area


Larger & Taller Buildings Have the Greatest Civic Responsibilities

The 500 Lot Area has a long history of large and tall buildings. Historic buildings, such as St. Dunstan’s Basilica or the Rodd Charlottetown Hotel, exhibit architectural grandeur that corresponds to their scale and civic importance. The way they are situate on their sites, the expressed massing, material quality, and design detail, all work in concert to enhance their stature while positively contributing to their context. By contrast, more contemporary large-scaled developments, such as the Delta Prince Edward, exhibit far lesser care for their context or design quality. Consequently, by virtue of their scale, they sit prominently and distractingly in the streetscape, constantly reinforcing the perception of large-scale being synonymous with bad design.The Standard & Guidelines recognize that large-scaled buildings are, and will continue to be, part of the urban fabric of the 500 Lot Area. However, these developments should be directed only to where they already exist and can be accommodated, and subject to stringent conditions and performance standards. Appropriate setbacks and massing are especially important to ensuring that these building do not overwhelm and adversely impact streetscapes and adjacent properties with respect to matters such as sky view, wind, and shadows. Given their visual prominence, these buildings should be held to the highest design standards, exhibiting landmark architectural qualities. Furthermore, these development rights ought to be privileged through a bonus afforded only in exchange for public benefits such as heritage protection, community amenities, or public realm improvements.


The development currently under review is nowhere near compliant with these recommendations nor is it a structure of civic importance like the majority of past and present tall buildings in the city.

I would like to have spent more time reminding those present of what dire straits Charlottetown has been in since last spring with COVID-19 restrictions keeping visitors away, devastating the local economy, and showing us just how deeply dependent we are on attracting tourists. 

Why do visitors come to our city?  Firstly, because of its signature place in the history of this country, but once here they are totally surprised and captivated by the uniqueness and charm of the place.  I know, because I have been hosting them for over 30 years and have enjoyed taking them on walking tours for the last twenty.  I know what they love, admire, and wished they had in their part of the world — the built evidence of our history lining the streets.  These streetscapes should be preserved at all costs — in fact, any resident who owns a “designated heritage property” is subjected to restrictions by City bylaws if they want to make improvements or changes to it. 

Why is it not the same for big-building developers?  Anyone building “infill” in the 500 Lot Area should be obliged to adhere to the bylaws but instead, the reverse seems to be the case because approval of zoning changes and variances seem to be the norm rather than the exception.  This encourages developers to dictate what they want to City Council and to push the limits to get the optimum benefit out of empty space, sometimes to the detriment of those living nearby, often regardless of the negative impact on a streetscape, and showing no respect for the City’s efforts at heritage preservation.

What should be required of such projects is that they be in harmony with what is already there, not something which is distracting.  The Planning Partnership study does not promote the concept of “modern” being a desirable or appealing contrast with the historic gems I mentioned like City Hall and the three churches on Prince Street!  None of my guests or walkers on my tours has ever raved about the glass and metal structures that have appeared in the city core in the last few years but rather mention how these ruin the character of an otherwise attractive street.  To keep travellers interested in coming here, returning for longer stays, and encouraging others to do the same, Charlottetown has to remain an icon with a high standard of integrating the old with the new

This proposal fails miserably to do that and should be sent back to the drawing board.

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.

PUBLIC MEETING 27 April: New building at 199 Grafton Street

On April 18, a concerned resident wrote:

I found a notice taped to the side my community mailbox on Prince Street about this Public Meeting yesterday.

It took a lot of effort to find this notice on the City’s website – not in News and Events and barely visible at the bottom of the small square for April 27 on the meeting calendar due to other postings for that date.

This is a big building and has potential to set trends downtown yet again.  Going for many height and setback variances.  When you read the Planning Board meeting, the only rationale I could see (so far) that he [developer] is giving for the extra bonus height is … ‘housing’ (on top of a parkade which was the main selling point in his news release).

If you want to read exactly what is written on the lime green notice, it is now available under Upcoming Events on the City’s home page.

To quote/paraphrase Dave Meslin: “The City of Charlottetown clearly doesn’t want you involved with the planning process, otherwise their ads would look something like this [below], with all the information laid out clearly. As long as the city’s putting out notices like [above] to try to get people engaged, then of course people aren’t going to be engaged. But that’s not apathy; that’s intentional exclusion.” 

A clear, comprehensible, and inviting public meeting notice.

Following Meslins example, homeowners created their own sign in an attempt to inform neighbouring residents, many of whom are tenants.

A clear, comprehensible, and inviting public meeting notice.

If a homeowner can provide such a clear, comprehensible, and inviting public meeting notice, why cant the Planning Department?


The full meeting package (49 pages) contains APMʼs Site Specific Exemption application with drawings and images, the letter sent to property owners located within 100 metres of the subject property, and copies of the public notices (posters and newspaper ad). A separate folder contains letters received until today, with likely more added after the public meeting.

If you decide to see and hear what the plans are for 199 Grafton, tune in on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be streamed live at www.charlottetown.ca/video