Council debate turns into shouting match

Dave Stewart
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A heated debate erupted at city council Monday night over the proposed roundabout at the Charlottetown Airport.

Coun. Terry Bernard, chair of public works, was furious over comments made by three other councillors in a recent Guardian story.

Couns. Jason Coady, Danny Redmond and Mitchell Tweel publicly questioned the process over the fact that the city is spending $500,000, one-third of the cost, of building a roundabout at the Brackley Point Road-Sherwood Road intersection.

Council agreed by consensus in a committee of the whole meeting (not open to the public or media) but did not pass a public resolution.

During the December public meeting on Monday night, Coady and Bernard went toe to toe, often shouting at each other, over whether proper process was followed.

Bernard explained that the provincial government contacted the city and asked if it was ready to proceed with the roundabout project next year if the province and airport came in as equal funding partners.

The project will cost $1.5 million with the three partners footing an equal amount.

Mayor Clifford Lee brought the matter up during the committee of the whole meeting and the consensus was to proceed.

However, councillors like Coady, Redmond and Tweel felt $500,000 was better spent on developing the city’s new water source.

Coady took exception to Bernard accusing him of not understanding the process.

“You still didn’t pass a resolution to say that we are going to commit money from the taxpayers in 2013 for the project so you didn’t follow proper process,’’ Coady yelled at Bernard. “Don’t put it back on me.’’

When Bernard shot back that Coady didn’t understand the budget process, Coady interrupted him: “Oh, I understand how it works. You’ve got to understand how it works. As long as you get what you want and go out in public and say we’re going to have a roundabout everyone is happy but if we have $500,000 why don’t we sit around the table and discuss where we want to put it?

“We’ve already committed to it in the 2013 budget, Count. Bernard. We don’t have an option to say where we want that money to go.’’

Bernard then told Coady that it was Lee who brought it to committee of the whole and that the $500,000 is taxpayers money, not his.

“City council will say where it’s going to be spent and that was discussed in committee of the whole. You were there,’’ Bernard said to Coady. “You don’t like the results? Too bad. That’s how it works. The province wanted to know if we were in for 2013.’’

When Coady went to respond, Bernard continued, his voice rising: “Don’t accuse me that it’s my money. Don’t be saying it’s my project and I want to run out and announce it. The province made this happen. It’s the province that made the announcement, not me.’’

The announcement was made during a press conference at the airport. The city was represented by Lee and Deputy Mayor Stu MacFadyen, subbing for Bernard who was out of province.

While Redmond and Tweel said the announcement came as a surprise to council, Bernard said council was told in the committee of the whole meeting that the press conference was the province’s call, not the city’s.

The project was originally scheduled to go ahead in 2014 or 2015, pending federal infrastructure money moving in 2014. It is also ranked below the proposed Vogue Optical roundabout project.

The airport project is proceeding ahead of schedule because the money is there now whereas the Vogue Optical project still hinges on federal money, unless the businesses in the area want to jump is as an equal funding partner like the airport did in this case.

Bernard said doing the project next year will save the city at least $1 million of Build Canada funding.

Organizations: Charlottetown Airport

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Recent comments

  • voter
    December 12, 2012 - 17:45

    a small place like ch'town with an abundance of power hungry little napoleons trying to get their name in the minutes (or even better the front page of the guardian) for something as long as they are funded by the taxpayers --if they are concerned about traffic there let them volunteer as a traffic controller at the intersection --that would give them the public exposure they long for --

  • They must be right
    December 12, 2012 - 10:55

    Well, if they were shouting and saying the same thing over an over, they must be right. Eh?

  • ken
    December 12, 2012 - 08:21

    I think that would be the worst place for a set of traffic lights with the mentality of island drivers a roundabout is the only way to go.

  • Deb J.
    December 11, 2012 - 21:51

    I really think a traffic light would be enough. Are they really going to move graves? That should be a very serious issue. Is nothing sacred to this government?

  • ivan taylor
    December 11, 2012 - 21:43

    Sounds a lot like the tch plan b they are drowning in mud and red water today

  • See
    December 11, 2012 - 19:07

    This is what happens when proper procedures are not followed. Stay away from these provincial parasites

  • Mario
    December 11, 2012 - 19:02

    Thanks to the roundabout we no have no Jack frost...

  • just sayin
    December 11, 2012 - 17:22

    let cooler heads prevail.. we should be able to make do with a simple traffic light.. its time for some budgetary restraint at the municipal level.

  • an opinion
    December 11, 2012 - 16:47

    Coady and the other 2 are on the right track in my opinion. That roundabout seems a waste of money. It seems to an ordinary citizen like myself, that there may be a bully aspect and seniority complex to city council on more than 1 subject. Thats entirely my opinion and how it seems to me.

  • AD
    December 11, 2012 - 16:22

    A set of traffic lights that are sensored for traffic flow would be more than sufficient and about $450,000 cheaper! We aren't a major International airport here; we have one outbound gate and one inbound gate, period! Get a grip!

  • Edward Gregory
    December 11, 2012 - 15:42

    Unf*&^ing believable! $1.5 million dollars, regardless of whether it is shared or not! Put in a friggin' traffic light at a cost of $10,000 with sensors to detect airport traffic, and magically, the traffic will clear. Simple. Bunch of f*&^ing idiots!!! MY tax dollars being spent. Be accountable!!!!

  • Waste of Money
    December 11, 2012 - 15:33

    Having a roundabout at the airport is a waste of money. Just because somebody once in a while has to wait 30 seconds before being able to get out of the airport does not mean that $1.5 million has to be spent on a roundabout. I hope there will be instructions in the airport so that visitors know the proper rules to follow when they encounter the roundabout.

  • in quisitive landscaper
    December 11, 2012 - 15:13

    The cemetery will be moved..about 500 feet to the right..they will try to keep the plots the same as they are now..except some will be closer than they are now.....

  • Crazy
    December 11, 2012 - 14:54

    You are all acting like a bunch of children! Put up a set of lights and have it done with!

  • Inquisitive Islander
    December 11, 2012 - 14:02

    Was there an environmental assessment done for this project? What about the cemetery?

    • better not
      December 11, 2012 - 18:06

      This council is disgusting at best. Some if its members are getting into bullying mode just like the provincial government is doing. And cemetery wise, they better not go there. At least let the dead rest in peace, even if they erupt the taxpayers.

  • Joe Blow
    December 11, 2012 - 13:49

    Sounds to me that the province is just dictating what they want done and City council is forced to make it happen, by any means possible. Sounds like typical government....forcing people into making the wrong decisions without discussing all other possibilities. Once government starts forcing the city how and where it spends its money....thats when we have to say STOP. We don't need a roundabout at the airport as bad as we need good drinking water....PERIOD!!! A friend of a politician must own the land out by the airport and needs to get a huge patronage payout....that must be the reason the proper process was not carried out!

    • Jan
      December 11, 2012 - 20:12

      #1 - Who does Clifford Lea work for - the Province - enough said on being dictated to; #2 It's about time Mitch Tweel has someone else on Council (Mr. Coady) that will stick up for our taxpayer money on not be steam rolled; #3 Whole heartedly agree that our water resources is a lot more important than a round about. Have they not heard of long term planning?? Keep on Mr.(s) Tweel & Coady - you're on the right track. Now only if we had a Mayor with the same mindset.