Vision laid out for Charlottetown waterfront

Dave Stewart
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A copy of the comprehensive waterfront master plan presented in the City of Charlottetown Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012

Imagine a waterfront in Charlottetown with a beach, longer and wider boardwalk, cafes and kiosks.

That's a mere portion what things could look like 30 years from now according to a planning and design expert.

For the first time since the 1970s, the capital city is giving serious thought to a long-term plan for the waterfront and the plan is to strike the right balance between development and open green space.

Jill Robertson, with Dartmouth-based Ekistics Planning and Design, spent about an hour at a public meeting Tuesday night laying out some ambitious possibilities for the waterfront.


And there is plenty of interest in what is going to happen over the next three decades judging from the fact the main ballroom at the Charlottetown Hotel was packed.

Robertson said the guiding principles are to balance development and green space, ensure that residents feel connected to it and that the character and design of development makes sense.

She pointed out to any skeptics in the audience that ambitious change over 30 years is very possible. Three decades ago, Charlottetown's waterfront was essentially an industrial wasteland of railway cars and massive oil drums. That changed when the city decided to give the area a long-term makeover that has resulted in what exists today.

The vision going forward — remember these are all possibilities — includes 700 new residential units, 10,000 square feet of new commercial space, extending the boardwalk from Victoria Park right to the Hillsborough Bridge, widening the boardwalk to four metres and renaming it 'Victoria Passage'.

She also mentioned the possibility of having the city 'passively' acquiring private land to extend the boardwalk that would be done over the years.

The focus of Confederation Landing Park would change. It would feature more housing in the park area, no more parking lot but the new buildings would have outdoor cafes for food and drink.

Robertson said an emphasis should be put on green space, not whatever is left over acting as green space.

The old Queen's Wharf (the former Coast Guard building next to Delta Prince Edward) could serve as a second dock for cruise ships. Robertson emphasized that the bottom of Queen Street should remain open to allow residents to see the water.

Ekistics' plan calls for almost all parking along the waterfront to be located underground.

Next to Paoli's Wharf, there would be a beach with sand where families could build sand castles.

If and when the federal government divests the Queen Charlotte Armories land, Robertson said that area would be extremely important to the development plan with emphasis on green space.

Robertson said all this is estimated to cost $140 million over the next 30 years but will create jobs and get more people to the waterfront and that will help the economy.

Residents are invited to view the draft report on the City of Charlottetown's website at and provide input before Ekistics presents city council with the final report by Dec. 17.

Mayor Clifford Lee said council will either adopt it as presented, tinker with it or send it back to the drawing board.

If council accepts it, it could be adopted in the city's bylaws by spring.

The Guardian will have more on this story later this week.


Organizations: Charlottetown Hotel, Queen's, Coast Guard

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Victoria Park, Confederation Landing Park Queen Street

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Recent comments

  • Angry Islander
    November 28, 2012 - 21:37

    This is nothing but a left wing conspiracy stewed up by the Ghiz government! They took our jobs, our forests, and our fisheries. Don't let them take our beautiful city as well!

    November 28, 2012 - 21:36


  • John Getson
    November 28, 2012 - 12:35

    hmmm... Let's see propose to build up the downtown with a sand beach on waterfront that is not fit to swim in and routinely has "raw wastewater" flowing into it . Build 700 new residential units in a community where the vacancy rate is already double what it was even a couple of years ago and has an economy that encourages, if not requires, a fair number of people to leave the province in order to earn a living. Create a 2nd cruise ships dock and build 10,000 square feet of commercial space in an area that already shuts down a good majority of its businesses down for a significant portion of the year including the current cruise ship landings. Widen and extend a boardwalk that is already seriously underutilized and do it around a recently renovated military installation that the feds are in rush to get rid of.. And moving almost all of the downtown parking underground could not only solve the parking issues of the Holman Grand, ConFed Mall, etc but also justify the higher metered parking rates. To do it with an estimated cost of ONLY $140 million paid for over the next 30 years...Sure I guess it makes perfect sense to (politically) savvy Islanders... in light that we are in a period of record debt/deficits with interest rates that have nowhere to go but up, cut backs in both public and private sectors, high unemployment rates that strongly encourged population migration, etc

  • underground parking
    November 28, 2012 - 11:46

    So this consultant recommends to put underground parking (below sea level) along a waterfront that floods already and will only get worse with sea level rise ???? That was money well spent.

  • fromaway
    November 28, 2012 - 11:35

    I think that doing something with the water front is an amazing idea. There are so many Island businesses that depend on tourism dollars. Face it, sometimes to make money, you first have to spend it!

  • Yes beach
    November 28, 2012 - 09:23

    To "No Beach" I wouldn't swim there either, it would be pretty gross. However, a nice patch of sand for people to set up chairs, umbrellas, coolers, and enjoy the sun and the water - that would be great. Especially for people downtown without the transportation to get to Brackley, Cavendish, etc.

  • LA
    November 28, 2012 - 08:16

    They can forget about the Armoury property - it was just renovated to last another 50 years and it's not being divested anytime soon.

  • Sylvia
    November 28, 2012 - 07:55

    One question - where is the money supposed to be coming from for all this grand plan?

  • No beach
    November 28, 2012 - 06:41

    A beach!? Seriously?? So what... we can all go swimming in the sewage?? Shhhh don't tell the tourists!!

  • JohnW.A.Curtis
    November 28, 2012 - 05:39

    Another scam for government money

  • Joe Blow
    November 28, 2012 - 00:29

    Now this is a decent idea that the government should be spending money opposed to the Plan B mess!!! This waterfront development would take several years to finish which would create jobs, it is a development that would help create revenue from cruise ships and other imports/exports and it has an aspect of environmentally friendliness to it as well. Just think if the government had used the Plan B money to do something as smart as this, we'd really have something!! Plan B is not going to generate revenue, its not going to create any jobs and it is going to cost the province more to maintain another highway and it is going to cost much more to finish the project than the $20 million they predicted. This is an idea that I might be able to get behind.....but there is no way on earth I will ever support Plan B and I will never drive my car on the new highway either!!