PEI

'It's really disheartening': Some residents weigh in on plans for controversial new road

Some Charlottetown residents expressed concerns during a public meeting Tuesday night over a proposal for a controversial new road planned just off St. Peters Road, connecting Mel's Convenience Store to Angus Drive.

'It's inevitable that changes do have to be made. This is a growing community.'

'With all this extra traffic that's coming in off this proposed entrance and exit, I'm going to have even more hard time getting out of my driveway,' says Chris Grandjean. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

Some Charlottetown residents expressed concerns during a public meeting Tuesday night over a plan for a controversial new road.

The public meeting was to discuss a proposal to add a street just off St. Peters Road that would connect Mel's Convenience Store to Angus Drive.

It would involve rezoning lots and changing the future land use map to village centre commercial.

"It's really disheartening to feel like your home is going to be drastically changed," Laura Morgan, who lives on Angus Drive, said during the meeting. 

"We deserve to feel like our needs are being met."

'It just takes away'

Six members of the community stood and each shared their input on the project with city councillors, provincial engineers, Mel's management and others.

Some, like Patty Good who have lived in the area for 48 years, pointed to problems such as a potential increase in traffic. 

"Right now, we are connected to a residential area. I don't want to be connected to a commercial area. I don't want to have the St. Peters highway traffic going by my door," she said. 

"We have a nice private little spot ... now I'm going to have a constant flow of traffic. It just takes away so many different levels in our home." 

'I totally disagree with what's going on,' says Patty Good who has lived in the area for nearly half a century. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

Others said they want the lots to remain residential and are worried by rezoning them, Mel's could be looking to expand — something attempted back in 2015. 

"They want to have that whole corner as a Mel's, what I call, superstore," said Chris Grandjaen who has lived in the area for 17 years. 

"Once he gets the go-ahead with the rezoning ... there's no doubt in my mind." 

'Changes do have to be made'

But the business owner assured the public that wasn't the case at the moment. Dan MacIsaac said the proposal is motivated by a roundabout the province is expected to install at Angus Road, St. Peters Road and Hanmac Drive during the summer of 2021. 

"We're trying to accommodate what the community would like to see and the services that they have supported," MacIsaac said during the meeting. 

"But the end of the day, it's inevitable that changes do have to be made. This is a growing community."

The proposed access road across a vacant property would connect Mel's Convenience Store to Angus Drive and some traffic back to St. Peters Road by a new roundabout to be built this summer. (CBC News Graphics)

Still, some remained skeptical.

"Us as a community have nothing against any business growing. We just don't want to see them grow and creep into our residential area," said Patty Good. 

Randy Good agreed. 

"Proof is in the pudding," he said. "We were here many years ago. The community stepped together and there's a lot of people too now that are younger in the community, they're stepping up."

'Community came together'

Coun. Julie McCabe represents those in Ward 9 and also sits on the city's planning and heritage board.

"I think it's it's always challenging when there's change in a community. It can be scary and it's overwhelming," she said. 

"But tonight, what I saw was a lot of our community came together and supported each other and their concerns. And I think that's what sometimes these things do, is bring communities together and it gives them a chance to have their voices heard." 

Moving forward, McCabe said the proposal will return to the planning board to vote and make a recommendation. Then the application will move to city council for a decision. 

Patty Good said her fingers are crossed that people are listening. 

"We're hoping that our voice is loud enough and that the council can put themselves in our shoes and see that us as a community have fought long and hard," she said.    

"This isn't just our first fight at this. We've had many fights with this over extended time and we were very excited each time that it came in our favour to say, 'OK, the little guy won.'"

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