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The Guardian                                                                                                   Wednesday,  December 6, 2006
by Nigel Armstrong

APM Brownstone Proposal Given High Praise by Some at Meeting

Proposed project for south side of Water Street in Charlottetown welcomed by business representatives; opponents question height and loss of waterfront

Tim Banks got a warm reception from most of the audience during a public meeting to discuss his Charlottetown waterfront townhouse concept.

The meeting was hosted by Charlottetown City Council as Banks seeks a change to a concept plan so he can build three townhouse-condominium complexes on the south side of Water Street.

Stan MacPherson, chair of the Charlottetown Harbour Authority, told the meeting that the land use to be public land controlled by Transport Canada.  But the authority now owns it and needs to have paying customers on the vacant land in order to finance other working parts of the port.

The city had a concept plan that would have seen six, two-storey residential complexes over the entire area.

Can’t be done, said Banks.  Half of the area in question is contaminated with chemical or oil leaks from the former rail yard and oil storage tanks.  The only land that makes economic sense to develop is the land along the edge of Water Street.  Banks wants to put up three, three-storey buildings there.

“What will you call Water Street when you can’t see the water anymore?” asked Anne Thurlow.

“We will get back to you,” said Mayor Clifford Lee who chaired the meeting.

Joel Ives of Century 21 had high praise for the project, as did MacPherson, Sean Casey as a member to the Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, Peter Hyndman as a member of Downtown Charlottetown Inc., and Scott McEwen, an interested citizen and land valuator.

Other people at the meeting said the development looked boring, like a train or that it would reflect traffic noise making for an unbearable sound for nearby residents.

It was too much for Catherine Hennessey, who was near tears when she briefly spoke at the meeting to say the city had stooped to spot development for its valuable land.

“We are losing our vistas,” she said.  “We are losing our waterfront.  I am almost in despair.”

Malcolm Lodge lives across the road from the proposed development.  He said the design reminded him of row houses in the slums of Liverpool, in the United Kingdom.  Lodge said high-end townhouses are needed in Charlottetown but not on the proposed location.  He suggested the Canada Lands holdings around Charlottetown.

Much attention was paid to the actual height of the building, with Hennessey, Lodge and others saying it really is four storeys but because of the way the bylaws are written Banks is able to call it a three-storey height. 

“There is going to be some kind of development on that waterfront someday,” said Mannie Kays.  “The way I see it, anything over two storeys, the view is blocked anyway.  I would sooner see an apartment or condominium than offices or other buildings down there.”

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