A V I E W F R O M C H A R L O T T E T O W N , P R I N C E E D W A R D I S L A N D
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[Catherine emailed this letter to Counsellor Casey, chair of Town Planning, from Ottawa where she's preparing to be OofC'd. She's responding to the latest proposal for the site which was the subject of the Silent Balloon Protest in late March -- Peter]
Again we have been asked to take time to contemplate and make comment on a project that does not have all the "i’s" dotted and the "t’s" crossed. This time it is a proposed building that has been moved from the northeast corner of a site to the southwest corner. To placate us Mr. Doucette has reduced the height of the building by eleven feet -- eleven feet from a building, that if you follow Mr. Doucette’s figures given at the public meeting -- is still a massive structure, towering over Founders Hall.
In the new position, we will have almost all of the water vista at the foot of Prince Street blocked. Please WALK down Prince Street from Sydney and image the proposed building on its new site just to the east of the continually (it appears) expanding MacKinnons Lobster Pound.
Since the last public meeting public opinion seems to have confirmed a direction for this property -- people generally want it to remain an open space and for many reasons they are probably right; the breathing room necessary for Founders Hall, traffic concerns, the water-rising issue, the activity of the only remaining working waterfront in Charlottetown, etc. etc. All these issues deserve more consideration and discussion.
There is no question that we need more living accomodation in the downtown and although space may at first glance to be scarce, it is likely that we will soon have the oiltank site on Grafton to be opened for development. Likely Notre Dame will be available in the not too distant future. We have the former City Garage site available immediatly. So if a housing committee could be struck, I believe we could have our waterfront protected and the east end revitalized all at the same time.
If Mr. Doucette has addressed all the complicated aspects of this site and could still construct an apartment complex for a saleable price per unit to a scale that does not offend this important site , I will go to that meeting with a more positive attitude. in the meanwhile, I think all our precious time is being trifled with. There is no doubt in my mind that the beautiful restored machine shed will long outlive the tourist directed Founders Hall and someday we will be able to enjoy the extraordinary effect of those grand windows giving light to a great community space e.g. market/deli/agora for the benefit of our people who will "crowd" the east end.
I say challenge some of our great patrons to purchase the site in front of Founders hall - downzone it to a park; design it well and then let’s get on with populating the east end and do it just a bit further back from the water.
Written Wednesday, May 30, 2001 at 06:56 PM