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The sub-heading in Gary Walker's guest opinion (Observations about Charlottetown from the North Shore: City council’s first role is not to facilitate development, but to protect its own citizens’ legal rights, Nov. 25.) is nothing short of prophetic – a harbinger of things to come.
Chanting the “housing crisis” mantra, City Hall has been emboldened to justify anything, anywhere, anytime with little regard for the human and environmental casualties left in its wake, adopting an almost adversarial approach to the public and their concerns.
Walker has pointed out some of the most egregious examples, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. There are over 2,000 housing units (6,000 people and their cars – more than twice the population of Montague) planned for the stretch of land between the bypass and Towers Road, linked with a new connector that will stream thousands of cars down Capital Drive, through a major retail area and the new developments, and ultimately onto one small Sherwood residential street. The impacts on the surrounding neighbourhood will be profound and life-altering, yet repeated requests from the residents to see the traffic master plan that contains these developments have gone unanswered as city council retreats behind closed-door sessions to discuss the study.
But not everybody is in the dark. According to a recent Guardian article (Closer to breaking ground, Nov. 18), Tim Banks has detailed knowledge of these larger plans as likely does every other business, developer and realtor that stands to profit from this major development. The current broad-brush approach to rezoning to enable essentially unfettered development, coupled with a lack of public transparency and accountability has left neighbourhoods across Charlottetown living in climate of fear and uncertainty, wondering what will come out from the shadows next.
Charlottetown is not bricks and mortar, it is a community of people who call this place home, who make this city what it is, and who care deeply and passionately about it. We have entrusted our future and our very wellbeing to our elected representatives. The trust has been broken. We implore city council to move in a positive direction to build a shared community vision with a commitment to citizen engagement, respect, values and, indeed, trust.