© Guardian photo
The province is looking to move its government garage in Charlottetown to Brackley. The city is interested in developing an arena on the site.
The province has purchased a parcel of land in Brackley and wants to meet with area residents to discuss building a new government garage there.
Transportation Minister Robert Vessey says the plans are still preliminary, but his department is taking the proposal to a public meeting next week.
“Government has identified an area that we’re interested in and it’s on the borderline of the city, in Brackley,” Vessey said.
“It’s no secret the city of Charlottetown would like to develop the area around the entrance from the Hillsboro Bridge to the city, and the old government garage is not very efficient, we’ve outgrown it.”
Vessey said his department would like to combine two current yards used by Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal into one with a more modern building.
The parcel of land recently purchased in Brackley is adjacent to a parcel already owned by government. This, along with its close proximity to the city makes it an ideal location for a new garage.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee said although the garage is not likely to move for a few years, this opens the door for preliminary talks to begin on the city’s redevelopment hopes for the current garage location.
“When you come into Charlottetown over the Hillsboro Bridge, it’s not probably the most attractive welcome to the city that you see and there may be an opportunity here for the city of Charlottetown and the province of P.E.I. to move both of our agendas forward.”
Two years ago, the city presented an Eastern Gateway Waterfront Master Plan that included as its centerpiece a brand new multi-use arena and entertainment facility in place of the current garage.
Officials hope this facility would replace the aging Civic Centre. But with a $40-million price tag, the plan has remained a pipe dream.
Lee stressed the city is likely still years away from taking any concrete steps to move ahead with any redevelopment plans.
But if and when that time does arrive, Lee says he believes the costs should not be shouldered by the taxpayers of Charlottetown.
“There are other partners here, there’s the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, there’s Atlantic Lottery, the Horseman’s Association, so all of those groups would, in my view, come together at some point down the road and have a discussion of what is it we’d like to see in that area,” Lee said.
But this would still be a long way off, he added.
In the meantime, the province will gauge input from Brackley area residents on moving the garage to their community.
“It’s something we’re looking at doing over the next several years, it would be a phase-in, and this is the first step,” Vessey said.
The meeting is scheduled to take place Feb. 26 at 7p.m. in the Brackley Commons.