Proper process not followed with convention centre: Coun. Tweel

Dave Stewart
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Coun. Rob Lantz says CADC was under pressure to get construction underway

Architect's rendering of the Prince Edward Island convention centre planned for lower Queen Street in Charlottetown. - Submitted photo

Questions are being asked about how the $17.5-million convention centre project in Charlottetown was allowed to begin without a permit from the city.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel brought the matter up at a public meeting of city council, explaining why he’s raising the subject almost two years after construction began.

The councillor said he has been hearing things “throughout the community.’’ He asked Coun. Rob Lantz, chair of the planning committee, if all the procedures and processes were followed with the project and if there were any issues.

The answer was no.

Lantz said the project was well under construction before a building permit was ever issued.

“How can that possibly happen?’’ Tweel asked. “A major venue being constructed in the city of Charlottetown being built without a permit with the staff that we have. Where is the communication breakdown?’’

The project is slated to wrap up in 2014. When it’s finished, it will double the Delta Prince Edward hotel’s convention space.

Lantz told Tweel this is not the first time a project has started in the capital city before the permit was issued. Permits allow developers to proceed with work.

Tweel was told the city was in constant communication with the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (the developer). The convention centre is a design-build project, meaning not all the design and plans were finished up front.

“We were not at the stage where we were able to issue a building permit until well after it was under construction,’’ Lantz said. “However, we had some difficulty communicating with CADC and getting the information we needed.

“I can tell you and anyone on planning board can tell you the last time they visited prior to them actually getting their building permit, I made it extremely clear to them that I was

very unhappy about the entire way the process unfolded.’’

Lantz said he thinks the project has been driven, from the beginning, by the provincial government.

“CADC was under the gun to have the project on schedule to be completed for 2014,’’ the chair of planning said, noting the initial permits for things like excavation and the foundation took place at the appropriate times.

Lantz said there were still questions about the design of the structure itself and answers weren’t forthcoming after work began.

Tweel then suggested the city should have stepped in with a stop-work order.

Lantz said the planning department can recommend such an order be issued but it wasn’t considered in this case.

“All along the way, it wasn’t an ideal process. It just took some time to receive some of the information we needed but there was never any deviation from the plans that we always had.’’

Lantz said the final design ended up being almost exactly what CADC indicated it would be during the initial news conference to announce the project.

“I don’t think a stop-work order was appropriate in this case.’’

Organizations: Charlottetown Area Development, Delta Prince Edward hotel

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Robot Gizz
    February 25, 2013 - 17:30

    Listen,Listen, ez-up on poor Ronnie hes got permits for four way intersections to worry about getting approved !Besides its winter, time to have some fun in the sun south of the border while lil Gizzy jonts around the world to shake the winter blaes!All this will get sorted out sooner or later.It just takes more money to make it right the second time !!

  • W.Wilkins
    February 25, 2013 - 15:39

    The Potato Republic of Prince Edward Island? Let's face it folks, we're beyond fodder for satire. The common Islander is being planb'd at every turn and systemic incompetency renders transparency moot. I mean, do we want to really see how things are working? Do we really want to know who's controlling the decision making process? What may save us is intelligent conversation about who we are and what we want to become. However, even that's being undermined by corporatism, toxic partisan politics, greed and apathy. We're in trouble. And, if we make up the facts and the rules as we go, and we don't even start playing by the rules we've agreed upon for each other? Our beautiful little Island is going to sink in its own shit.

    • Bill Kays
      Bill Kays
      February 26, 2013 - 19:35

      You are absolutely right.

  • Rita J
    February 25, 2013 - 15:32

    If I built a shed without the correct permit I could be forced to tear it down. Where is this government going?!

  • Lantz and tim banks best friends
    February 25, 2013 - 15:11

    APM is paid millions in management fees for all construction by the Ghiz team, which includes CADC (patronage appointees). These guys can do what ever they want even when they seldom know what they are doing. Vote for inexperience, vote Liberal patronage and parasites. funny eh?

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 25, 2013 - 14:45

    The reason they were permitted to start construction is because the CADC is only there to help out those that have. Only when your drinking buddies make the decisions does this make sense. It does nothing for the poor of the city except to make matters worse for the poor. It was set up with a promise of bringing good things to the city but in reality was just a guise to facilitate government monies to flow into "APPROVED" projects. The projects that do get approved stink of patronage.Both corporations, CADC and ACOA should be dissolved and then investigated for potential conflicts of interest that we all know occur on a daily basis with both these WEALTH SUCKING CORPORATE VAMPIRES, feeding of the taxpayers of this city, province and country. What kind of environmental mess is lurking on the waterfront also?

  • John W.A.Curtis
    February 25, 2013 - 13:55

    The convention center will lose money and those who profit from it won't pay. disband both the CRDC and SRDC

  • sick of it all
    February 25, 2013 - 13:41

    pei corruption at is best .... private sector work would have been stopped .. this island is pathetic only the elite can get away with this bs

  • alleyoops
    February 25, 2013 - 13:29

    I started a house back a few years ago without a permit. I had applied but it was taking some time for just an ordinary house. I started to build and was in court 3 times with the city before I finally got the permit. Guess it all depend on who is asking for the piece of paper.

  • voter
    February 25, 2013 - 13:18

    lantz understands that rules are just for those who choose to follow - he certainly would get baby barn permits done ,but everything costing more than that will have a olitical string attached - a real politician and the wealthy don't follow rules --rules are just for the little guy ---same as traffic rules , etc etc etc -- --

  • local wag
    February 25, 2013 - 13:08

    there's a surprise.... the flooding convention centre that requires infilling the harbour didn't have a permit next you'll be telling me that the holman grand hotel was built without a permit either and that the waterfront parking lot, i mean event site, built on contaminated land didn't have a permit either ????? welcome to robert ghiz's island

  • The Real Challenge is
    February 25, 2013 - 12:54

    .......figuring out what drives the endless "development' screw ups on PEI.... Poor planning? Incompetent management? Built in corruption pay offs? Political make work for patronage bosses and sons of 'leading' families? I guess it is any or all of these for this one. In this case Lantz is defending failure on the foundation which had huge cost and delay implications as part of the plan all aong. Not a permititng issue. Pretty bizarre stuff. I thought there was a law suit in play on that question. Thanks Guardian. What is the latest on the Homburg screw up BTW? And oh yeah where are the quotes from provincial offiials on this one?Lantz blames them but the story has no snappy retorts from the Ghiz hot shots. What gives here? We never hear from Robert any more unless he is in London or Egypt or Toronto somewhere. Time for some media to settle that young fellow down for some answers.

  • intobed
    February 25, 2013 - 12:50

    Think about this. CADC is run by a political hack, who was appointed to this position. The same person was responsible for the wrong sized bollards being installed when the cruise ship wharf was updated. The bollards had to be removed, and new ones installed at a cost of millions. The same person is responsible for the oil tank farm being paved over, instead of being cleaned and fixed properly. Who knows just what mistakes were made with the convention center, and how long it will be before major repairs are needed.

  • SAP
    February 25, 2013 - 12:23

    As long as they weren't trying to build a shed without a permit. That would be TERRIBLE.

  • SayNoMore
    February 25, 2013 - 11:16

    If the Provincial Government was behind it, then it's bound to be a greedy grab of one kind or another. And not the least bit surprising that it would be done without the proper checks and balances in place. Mr. Ghiz and his pals seems to be on a serious power trip.

  • tim tonkin
    February 25, 2013 - 11:01

    It seems like Mr Tweel is the only one on council that thinks regulations are in place for a reason and rules are there other than to be broken.