PEI

Request for Angus Drive access road heading back to council... again

It was an emotional Tuesday night for some Charlottetown residents as the city's planning board sent a request for an access road back to council again.

'It just seems to be a vicious circle'

Charlottetown council previously rejected the request to create a new access road through the vacant lot in the middle of this picture, connecting Mel's Convenience Store to Angus Drive. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

It was an emotional Tuesday night for some Charlottetown residents as the city's planning board sent a request for an access road back to council again.

"It just seems to be a vicious circle," said Chris Grandjean who has lived on Angus Drive for the past 17 years. 

"I was pretty upset because I thought this was over and done with for at least another year but apparently it won't go away." 

The application to add a street just off St. Peters Road connecting Mel's Convenience Store to Angus Drive was previously denied

But after the province announced its rejection subsequently meant a future roundabout was also out of the picture, new information emerged and a reconsideration request hit the table. 

"All applications that are made are subject or have the benefit of a second look by council if in the opinion of the planning board there is evidence that maybe things weren't as clear, as flushed out," said Mike Duffy, the chair of the planning and heritage committee. 

'A second look'

For reconsideration to be enacted, Duffy said the applicant must meet at least one of three thresholds. 

Those include:

  • New material facts or evidence not available at the time of the initial order or decision have come to light.
  • A material change of circumstances has occurred since the initial order or decision.
  • A clear doubt as to the correctness of the order or decision in the first instance.

In this case, Duffy said the planning board found the application met two of the required criteria and voted six to one in favour of pushing the request forward to council. 

"It's kind of a second look to be fair to all people, both pro and con, on the issue and we're just exercising the authority that is in the bylaw," said Duffy.

'There's a lot of traffic that goes by Mel's in the run of a day,' says Coun. Mike Duffy, chair of planning and heritage for the City of Charlottetown, adding safety is the main concern of the project. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Coun. Julie McCabe represents the residents in the area. She was the sole person to vote against the request. 

"I'm stuck with my residents. I know there's a lot of concerns," she said.

"I feel that unfortunately when we're looking at the exact same application, I feel that it should stay status quo."

'I feel for the residents that are directly impacted in this area. I think we thought with the decision that was made a few weeks back,' says Coun. Julie McCabe. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

McCabe said while she can't speak on behalf of her residents she is hearing concerns about the potential increase in traffic and the possibility that rezoning the lot to make way for a street could eventually lead to future commercial development.

"Mel's is busy. It's a busy spot. There are safety issues and something definitely needs to be done to help with that," she said.

"But I feel like my residents don't want it to impact on their life."

'A lot of sleepless nights'

As for those residents, some feel strongly that although this road is small, it holds the power to change their lives drastically.

Sitting on physically distanced chairs inside city hall, a handful of people watched the planning boards vote on a television screen and left frustrated or even near tears.

'I'm not sure why we're on the same subject again after it's been declined,' says Chris Grandjean who has lived in the area for 17 years. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

"I've had a lot of sleepless nights and I just wonder what's going to happen in the future with property values and just the amount of business that's going to come," said Grandjean.

"Five o'clock in the morning you hear the truck backing up, the beep beep beep and it's just going to get more and more and more and if they open that road up onto Angus, it's just going to be hell."

'Starting all over'

It appears to have become quite a conundrum for the parties involved.

On one hand, the request has already been rejected by the city once after complaints from residents.

On the other, the province previously told CBC News that without that road, a roundabout would be unsafe. This would mean a new traffic plan that is less efficient, with no ability to make a left hand turn onto or off of Angus Drive.

The proposed access road across a vacant property would connect Mel's Convenience Store to Angus Drive. The province says without that road, a proposed roundabout is not safe. (CBC News Graphics)

So for now, city council is expected to vote on the reconsideration request Monday. 

"The second part of the recommendation is to ask council to hold another public meeting so basically we're starting all over again," said Duffy.

"Everybody can have a second look. Everybody can be exposed to the new information."

Residents like Grandjean, however, sigh at the thought of a redo.

"I dread the thought of having to go through all of this again," he said,

"If it happens to go through ... I don't know how we can stay there. I don't know. I think we'll have to leave. I can't see us staying."

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