Airport roundabout 'good financial planning': Villard

Dave Stewart
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Charlottetown council divided over whether project went through due process before announcement

Charlottetown Coun. Cecil Villard

Charlottetown's finance chair says the roundabout at the airport represents good financial planning.

Cecil Villard came to public works chair Terry Bernard's defence Monday night during a debate over the process followed leading up to the province's announcement the project would go ahead in 2013.

"We had an opportunity to make a good decision, make some good financial planning,'' Villard said.

The finance chair also defends council making the decision during a committee of the whole meeting. That's where council meets without the public and media present.

"There have been multiple situations in which we've made financial decisions in committee of the whole and we have to make those decisions because these kinds of opportunities . . . develop. It's not that unusual for us to commit capital dollars in the next year. This was a great, sound financial deal for the city of Charlottetown.''

Villard said the city could spend $500,000 now, with the province and airport as equal financial partners, or wait until later and end up paying the entire $1.5-million cost itself.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel, one of three councillors speaking out against the roundabout, says his problem is that a resolution was never voted on during a public meeting.

"It's pretty hard to back off now. It puts the city in a very precarious situation. There was no formal resolution,'' Tweel said, adding that a "straw poll'' was taken in committee of the whole.

"Committee of the whole (meetings) are not council meetings where decisions are made. There was no decision made.''

Like Villard, Coun. David MacDonald said it was discussed and the majority of council agreed to proceed.

"We can make decisions behind closed doors,'' MacDonald said.

Villard said it's not unusual for council to make a decision behind closed doors.

"We've been doing it as long as I've been around so I'm not quite sure what's out of the ordinary to have this situation before us,'' the chair of finance said.

The airport agreed to come on as an equal funding partner as long as the project proceeded in 2013. The city had originally planned on waiting for federal infrastructure money to begin rolling in 2014 before moving ahead.

When the airport and province agreed to pay a combined $1 million, the city agreed to jump on board.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Michelle
    December 17, 2012 - 20:23

    The province of PE is millions of dollar is debt and they actually think that spending thousands of dollars more by adding another UNNECESSARY round about is a good idea. I think all the provincial signs for PEI should say PEI home of the round abouts.

  • OXFORD D
    December 13, 2012 - 11:56

    "We can make decisions behind closed doors,'' MacDonald said. Villard said it's not unusual for council to make a decision behind closed doors. .Transparency - The ability to see through councillors.

  • Regardless of this project's
    December 13, 2012 - 08:55

    Regardless of this project's merits or lack thereof, the old school argument that pavement has some type of god-given budgetary priority over other needs has to be deconstructed (pun intended). So too does the mega- fix syndrome, where a complicated expensive fix is better then a simpler significant adjustment. What is even more important is actually soliciting tax-payers input before, rather than after, spend and build decisions have been made. If these features of the decision making process are not heeded, Islanders are destined to be planb'd over and over again . . .

    • Time for some changes?
      December 13, 2012 - 16:01

      The immortality of deciding to spend tax-payer's money and ask permission later does have to stop. This wrong is amplified by the emergence of social media. Perhaps when actually participating in the decision making process was logistically difficult this wrong may have more understandable. However, in a situation where the internet and software can enable participation in the decision making process, we have to accommodate, encourage and grow democracy. Somewhat knowing Couns MacDonald and Villard, I think they may agree. However, now's the time to start doing something about it . . .

  • mra
    mra
    December 13, 2012 - 07:42

    sean have to agree with you, but these people don't want to a traffic light and have to say they got you that, now a roundabout wow "see what i did"

  • Are Islanders being planb'd again?
    December 13, 2012 - 06:22

    The old school argument that pavement has some type of god-given budgetary priority over other needs has to be deconstructed (pun intended). So too does the mega- fix syndrome, where a complicated expensive fix is better then a simpler significant adjustment. What is even more important is actually soliciting tax-payers input before, rather than after, spend and build decisions have been made. If these features of the decision making process are not heeded, Islanders are destined to be planb'd over and over again . . .

    • geronimo
      December 14, 2012 - 15:39

      Exactly. The simplest fix is to leave it as it is with stop signs for Sherwood Rd and the airport. There is not enough vehicle traffic to warrant spending $1.5 million of our tax money (municipal, provincial, airport/federal). This is just a vanity project for Robert Vessey and Doug Newson and Terry Bernard. It's probably the whining cab and bus companies who go out twice a day to pick people up at that airport in the summer and can't turn left back into town because of the beach traffic. Keep the 2 stop signs. Unless Vessey, Newson & Bernard want to take out a $1.5 million mortgage in their names to pay for it.

  • Joe Blow
    December 12, 2012 - 20:24

    Building another round about and spending $1.5 million is not what I consider good financial planning. Spending a fraction of that money to put in traffic lights is a much better decision. Any idiot can see that....but for some reason....the government and rich business people are trying to make us believe that it is better to spend $1.5 million as opposed to $100,000 at the most for traffic lights.....give your heads a shake. PEI DOES NOT HAVE THE MONEY TO BE WASTING ON ANOTHER ROUNDABOUT!!! Slow down, pay attention, leave your cell phones alone and follow the rules of the road and everybody will be fine. If people took responsibility for their actions while driving...we wouldn't have any accidents. And for the people who were in accidents because they didn't proceed safely....they get what they deserve!!!

  • SG
    December 12, 2012 - 18:05

    I agree with BILL the Airport Intersection Project is Very Important. It's a miracle no one has lost their life yet at that intersection. I hope there won't be any fatalities before the Project is finished.

  • vick
    December 12, 2012 - 17:47

    What the heck do the three stoogies know (tweel-Redmond-coady) about money spending? They have never come up with a great ideal for the city in all those yrs redmond and Tweel have elected? Complained about the roundabout on mt edward rd for months leading up to construction...dont here anyone whinning now!

  • LIFE goes on
    December 12, 2012 - 16:16

    This is common sense ..visitors fly into PEI..and do not have to deal with an intersection that is tricky at best(if your sober..this island seems to be getting quite a reputation)......this is agood move the dramatics in counsel are strictly personal or politics and were geting sick of that......folks stop the DRAMATICS..the electorate are not stupid,no matter how loud you talk.......let's get on with our city business...there is money coming for the water situation..........plse cut the dramatic's !

  • johnny cash
    December 12, 2012 - 16:09

    Traffic lights work wonders, roundabouts are a politicians dream as they can throw money to all the good buddies. Use the lights from the vogue intersection when you goooooo aroooound and roooound. What a waste.

  • Chet
    December 12, 2012 - 15:58

    The spirit of the back room side deal is getting stronger and stronger. I am used to citizens being ignored. And the non-government and non- cabinet members in the legislature, sure. But for a municipal budgetary action this one seemed unusually aggressive. Promises were made on this one. Somewhere. And a while ago.

  • johnthames
    December 12, 2012 - 15:37

    Villard wouldn't know good financial planning if he fell over it.

  • don
    December 12, 2012 - 14:59

    what about the water plant? what about your fresh water? it seems the only time you talk about those 2 will be when you have NO fresh water or the feds gives you a big fine. but theses dumb roundabouts is all you talk about. so when you have NO fresh water DO NOT WHINE. but start buying water for the city. your priority's are all screwed up.

  • sean
    December 12, 2012 - 14:34

    The airport does need something for the intersection at brackley point road but did they weigh the cost against getting a controlled intersection with lights probably not and it probably would be cheaper to throw a set of lights or a 4 way stop up then ripping and tearing at a road. Use the extra money to draw people to the island to generate revenue for the city with different events.

  • bill
    December 12, 2012 - 13:14

    People need to understand how important it is to do something at the airport intersection, It is very dangerous having said that you have people new to the island travling etc and just lucky no one has been seriously hurt there yet. I drive that way every day going home and last night almost got t-boned a car was coming out beside a transfer truck and i stopped right before they entered the intersection. Get er done. can't wait to get it built.