Charlottetown looking at ways to improve city's east end

The City of Charlottetown is looking at how to develop the east end of the city, close to the waterfront.

The city is revisiting the Eastern Gateway development plan which was developed in 2011

About 40 people showed up to a public meeting to find out details of the Eastern Gateway Waterfront Master Plan. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The City of Charlottetown is looking at how to develop the east end of the city, close to the waterfront.

The city is revisiting a plan that was developed six years ago by consulting firm Urban Strategies. The plan, called the Eastern Gateway Waterfront Master Plan, focuses on the area bordered by Weymouth Street, Grafton Street, Kensington Road, Exhibition Drive, Riverside Drive, and Water Street.

While the plan was done in 2011 it was never developed into policy. Now, Urban Strategies has returned to Charlottetown to re-examine the plan, and work with the city to put it into policy. Managing partner George Dark led a public information session Wednesday evening where he outlined the main ideas in the plan.

'Aspirational vision'

Dark described the plan as an 'aspirational vision' for the city. He noted that Victoria Park in the west end, and the downtown core in the centre are very pedestrian friendly, and popular. He said the east end, which is more industrial, does not make the best use of space.

"This is the east side's chance to catch up with all that," said Dark. "So that if I'm walking down Water Street, I don't stop at the pharmacy any more and turn around because I just don't think I have any place to go, but I actually keep going."

George Dark said the plan is an 'aspirational vision' for the city. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Key components of the plan include creating more green space; creating bicycle paths; and realigning Water Street, which would allow for public waterfront access.

Dark noted that there are a number of industrial businesses in the area, and the plan is not "an attempt to make people go away."

Facilities like the Maritime Electric station and the sewage treatment plant have been built into the plan, along with ideas for what could happen if things change in years to come.

Positive feedback

About 40 people attended the public meeting to hear about the plan. Cassandra Goodwin said she thinks the plan is a "step in the right direction." She said she rarely goes to that area of the city. While she often walks along the waterfront, she usually turns back just past Cumberland Street.

Cassandra Goodwin said she was happy to see a focus on green space and bike paths in the plan. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

She said she would likely venture into the area more if aspects of the plan were implemented.

"I'm excited that there might be more focus on bike lanes, or safe places to bike. And also safer ways to access the bridge if you're walking or biking across the Hillsborough bridge. I think that's something really important to think about going forward," said Goodwin.

Next steps

Dark said over the next two months, his firm will do further consultation, and look at any updates that should be added to the plan.

The firm will then create a policy document to bring to council. Once accepted by council, it would become part of the official city plan, and would help to inform development decisions for years to come.

"I think the important thing now, whether it's one year or two years or five years is to get it into public policy, and that way you can actually use it to guide how this area can grow in the future," said Dark.