Charlottetown mayor defends ditch infilling

Dave Stewart
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Gary Craswell welcomes Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee to the Hillsborough Rotary Club luncheon in Charlottetown.

The City of Charlottetown will be retiring $280,000 from the water and sewer utility’s debt this year.

That piece of news came from Mayor Clifford Lee in his luncheon address to the Hillsborough Rotary Club in Charlottetown on Thursday.

It was the one peek Lee gave rotarians into the capital city’s budget which will be delivered by administrative services chairman Cecil Villard in a week’s time.

To put that figure in context, Lee said the city is short $900,000 on its share of a new water source for the city. Retiring $280,000 worth of debt from the utility will allow the city to borrow up to $3 million without impacting the bottom line. The city only needs $1 million to complete its share of the project.

Combine that with money from the federal and provincial governments and another $3 million the city has set up in a reserve account and the financial plan for the project in Miltonvale starts to come together.

Lee said the remaining cost of the project will come in around $12 million.

The mayor also fired back at his critics who argue the city should be taking the $2 million or so it spends on ditch infilling each year and use it to pay for projects like the new water source and completing the sanitary and storm water separation project.

The city has spent roughly $16 million on ditch infilling. Lee said people need to realize what the city is doing is actually creating a storm management system in the amalgamated areas of the city, neighbourhoods like Sherwood, Parkdale, East and West Royalty and Winsloe.

“There’s no storm management system in (those areas),’’ Lee said, referring to the pre-amalgamation days before 1995. “I told people they were going to have pay the same tax rate (as those in old Charlottetown) and that’s because we’re going to give you the same level of service.’’

After Lee’s address, one Rotarian asked the mayor how serious the fox problem has become. Lee said it’s getting out of control, mainly because people are feeding the wild animals.

Lee was also asked about the status of a provincial museum. The mayor essentially said the project is in limbo after the province backed off any plans to proceed with such a project.

The rest of Lee’s speech was a series of highlights from the past year.

The mayor talked about the 69 cruise ships that came into port in 2013, bringing 93,000 passengers and over 41,000 crew members, resulting in an economic impact of $10.4 million.

In business news, he mentioned the outsourcing call centre, Atelka, expanding and creating 200 new jobs in the city and the long-awaited redevelopment of the Kays Building.

Lee also highlighted the fact the planning department issued permits with an estimated construction cost of $95.8 million, while residential construction accounted for $24.92 million, commercial/industrial was $50.49 million, institutional constructed amounted to $18.97 million and signage, demolition, etc., rounded out the total with $1.42 million.

Organizations: Hillsborough Rotary Club

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Parkdale, East Royalty

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  • don
    March 21, 2014 - 09:36

    when my basement fills up with water that use to stay in the ditch's who is going to pay for the clean up? maybe i'll send a bill to the around-about mayor and he can pay the bill. or maybe a law suit. depending on the damage.

  • Cathy Corrigan
    March 21, 2014 - 08:18

    It's a sad comment on leadership! But city residents don't seem to mind.just saying