Charlottetown looking for plan to protect waterfront

Dave Stewart
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Waves crash onto the rocks protecting the Charlottetown boardwalk

The capital city is looking for a long-term plan to protect its waterfront from damaging storms like Arthur.

Ron Waite, general manager of the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, is currently trying to pull together a small group of people to do just that.

“We’ve been asked to see if we can come up with a longer-term plan as to what might be done in order to better protect the waterfront,’’ says Waite.

Tropical storm Arthur lashed the waterfront on Saturday, July 5, knocking down trees and power lines while also hitting the Charlottetown Yacht Club with the kind of damage it hasn’t seen since tropical storm Juan in September 2003.

When the wind direction switched to the west, it left boats at the yacht club more vulnerable. That has reignited talk of whether a breakwater would be a good idea.

However, depending on how it is constructed, that could cost anywhere from $3 million to $10 million.

The money is not Waite’s only concern.

“The area around the Charlottetown Yacht Club is really only part of the solution that we need to be looking at. We have to look at the whole waterfront.’’

He means from Paoli’s Wharf (adjacent to the Queen Charlotte Armouries) down to and including the Charlottetown Harbour Authority berth.

“Confederation Landing Park, for example, is an area that’s exposed to erosion. As these storms hammer the shoreline it becomes that much more of an issue. The area from Paoli’s Wharf to Confederation Landing Park is the area we think is most susceptible to damage.’’

Waite said there are also landowner issues at play. Not all of the property along the waterfront is public land so agreement from those landowners would be necessary and that’s one of the issues that tends to scare off the federal government when it comes to money.

Waite would like to have representatives at the table from the province’s Office of Public Safety, along with different stakeholders and levels of government.

Les Parsons, chairman of the harbour authority, said it’s a tough problem to solve.

“That might be a useful discussion,’’ Parsons said, referring to CADC’s plan, “but I guess at the end of the day we’re all kind of left to our own devices in dealing with what we’ve got. We can’t control Mother Nature.’’

Asking government for money when the city needs a new water source and is in the process of finishing a project that prevents effluent from seeping into the harbour makes it even tougher, he said.

The harbour authority’s breakwater sustained damage in Arthur but they’re not sure how much it will cost to fix.

“It becomes an insurance claim and it’s the first time in my time here that we’ve had to put a claim through in anything.’’

Parsons said most of the infrastructure in place to protect the harbour authority’s marina has withstood some good blows over the last few years.

“Is that a good record or a bad record? Part of me says that’s not bad.’’

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Charlottetown Area Development, Charlottetown Yacht Club, Charlottetown Harbour Authority Office of Public Safety

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Confederation Landing Park

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  • PROGRESS GOING BACKWARDS?
    July 14, 2014 - 18:14

    One of the dangers of buying by the water, plus the erosion factored in. Heavy buildings crammed in on low lying land by water does not seem the best idea to me but I am no architect. Soon our province will resemble every where Canada, no public views to the water and a mass of ugly buildings. Ahhhhhhh PROGRESS? KA..........CHING.

  • PROGRESS GOING BACKWARDS?
    July 14, 2014 - 18:14

    One of the dangers of buying by the water, plus the erosion factored in. Heavy buildings crammed in on low lying land by water does not seem the best idea to me but I am no architect. Soon our province will resemble every where Canada, no public views to the water and a mass of ugly buildings. Ahhhhhhh PROGRESS? KA..........CHING.

  • George Coles
    July 14, 2014 - 18:01

    Sooo.... the cadc wants to use all that parkade revenue to build breakwaters to protect the blue blood wannabes and their rich friends at teh yacht club. The same cadc that can't even automate the ticket payment for parking. If you had an ounce of credibility left, we'd consider this. But because it's cadc and their boondoggles (Founders Hall anyone?), I say ''no''. Let the erosion happen unhindered.

  • mh
    July 14, 2014 - 14:38

    Umm... WATER Street in Charlottetown is the original shoreline. Everything south of that is infill. Nature is just taking back what was once hers'. Let the suckers who bought land south of Water Street deal with it. They should not be allowed to get any assistance from the taxpayer to save them from their shoddy investment practices and poor research capabilities. This goes for the condo owners at Paoli's Wharf, Madden's and ONI as well as the marinas, CYC and anything else down there. You bought it and you really do own it now. Good luck.

  • adam
    July 14, 2014 - 14:00

    @reality. Is that not how it always goes, - the risk the wealthy takes, is recoverable on the back of the poor. It was well known from the beginning, that Paoli Wharf was at risk from the sea/erosion. When City Council eagerly accommodated the developer, nobody objected to this eye sore being planned, assuming that it would never be allowed due to the tiny piece of land. But to the surprise of all it was not only approved but allowed to be build half way out in the water. So if it falls in it would not create a great sorrow for those, who sees it as an ugly monument to City Council stupidity.

  • edward
    July 14, 2014 - 09:36

    So the City is looking after the wealthy and leisure class again. Or do we really know from where this expensive idea has sprung. Les Parsons seem to have a realistic view of this. If I remember right, the liberal appointed chair of the Board of CADC is an avid yachtsman. Maybe it is 'down time' for CADC, they need a new 'project' to justify their existence . However this has come about, all the talk about protecting 'the whole waterfront' is just a front (pardon the pun) for protecting the interest of the yacht club, nothing more nothing less. If indeed it was to protect that whole stretch of waterfront, it would be a mammoth project, that would be cost prohibitive and ugly to boot. But let CADC carry on, since they have nothing else to do, but let's, us the taxpayers, be ready squelch this before we are robbed blind, - again (see the Hillsborough "Commons").

  • reality
    July 14, 2014 - 07:44

    now that the well- to -do have invaded the CONDO FRONT they want taxpayers to protect their investment !!!

  • don
    July 14, 2014 - 07:39

    Ron. what mother nature owns man can not stop her from taking it back. no mater what you DO. good luck but you know you can not win.