Charlottetown city council wants IRAC to back off

Dave Stewart
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Charlottetown City Hall

Charlottetown City Council is tired of the second-guessing and wants it to stop.

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) recently overturned council's decision to reject an application to rezone a piece of property off Kensington Road for a proposed condominium development.

At its monthly public meeting Monday night, council voted unanimously to ask the provincial government, through the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities, to amend the Planning Act so that IRAC can only uphold a council decision or return the matter back to council for further consideration.

Over the past 10 years, there have been more than 6,500 permits issued by Charlottetown's planning department.

In 20 of those cases, the matter was appealed to IRAC. In 10 of those 20 cases, hearings were actually held. In five of those cases, IRAC overruled council's decision. In the five other cases, the commission upheld council's decision.

Mayor Clifford Lee says when people elect a council they believe that council is going to make decisions for planning and development.

"To have another body come in and have the authority to (overrule) the elected bodies' decision, quite frankly, I think is wrong,'' Lee said following the council meeting. "I don't think the legislation should have ever been changed to allow IRAC to have that authority.''

Lee also serves as chairman of the city's intergovernmental affairs committee and has already met with the provincial government on the matter.

He says it was a good meeting, that the city's concerns will be taken under advisement but doesn't expect a quick resolution. It would, after all, require the legislature to sit and deal with it.

Lee says having to defend its decisions before the commission not only comes with a legal cost to the city but ties up staff.

"Sometimes it holds up development and sometimes it stops development from taking place altogether because, in this instance, this application has been with IRAC for a year and a half before they made the decision. I don't believe any development should be held up that long, regardless of what the decision is at the end of the day.''

Lee also dismisses any notion that council should consider that whatever decision is made on a resolution could be overturned by IRAC.

"What I think council needs to do and what council has done an admirable job of has been . . . basing decisions on the feedback council receives from the community. (Councillors) listen to the people who live in the community.

"That's who I am responsible to and that's who members of council are responsible to. We're the ones who have to go out there and get elected . . . the body that is accountable to the citizens of Charlottetown.''

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Kensington Road

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    January 12, 2016 - 13:10

    Lee is absolutely correct. If the government, if old wadey boy himself, is too arrogant to meet the wishes of the people, It is time for him to go. The City should take them to the courts, but wait, that costs money and the city is dependent upon the PEI gov for funds. Do we ask the Island for money to mount an attack on IRAC? Enough is enough. Retirement cloud for Liberal and Conservative party faithfuls. IRAC NEEDS TO GO.

  • Louann
    January 12, 2016 - 08:23

    If the city council would read the pertinent data presented to them instead wasting time asking questions , and do the job they are paid for, maybe they wouldn't have to be corrected and their decision overturned .lol

  • In my opinion
    January 12, 2016 - 08:19

    It's great to say the council works for the citizens of the City but those decisions are not made on sound judgement. Is that not why zoning & long term planning by neighborhood is in place? It should not be up to a private citizen(s) to push for or against a development when all the I's have been dotted & the T's have been crossed. Those plans should be good for all & then developers will know exactly how each property is zoned.

  • In my opinion
    January 12, 2016 - 08:19

    It's great to say the council works for the citizens of the City but those decisions are not made on sound judgement. Is that not why zoning & long term planning by neighborhood is in place? It should not be up to a private citizen(s) to push for or against a development when all the I's have been dotted & the T's have been crossed. Those plans should be good for all & then developers will know exactly how each property is zoned.

  • In my opinion
    January 12, 2016 - 08:18

    It's great to say the council works for the citizens of the City but those decisions are not made on sound judgement. Is that not why zoning & long term planning by neighborhood is in place? It should not be up to a private citizen(s) to push for or against a development when all the I's have been dotted & the T's have been crossed. Those plans should be good for all & then developers will know exactly how each property is zoned.

  • ISLANDER
    January 12, 2016 - 07:37

    Good for Mayor Clifford Lee to stand up to thos Government. IRAC should be disbanded. They are elected officials getting a position with great powers, point being, they are elected by who and what legal authority do they have. This is the first thing to explain. Municipal Councils are elected by the people who vote them is and and are to act in the best interest of the taxpayer. Councillors are sworn in to take an oath of office. This IRAC bunch are useless and should be dissolved immediatly

    • UPWESTER
      January 12, 2016 - 10:20

      IRAC officials are NOT ELECTED! They are appointed by the governments they support. The Liberals have stacked IRAC with faithful party hacks and that is the problem. None of them have any pertinent business accumen, they just happen to be Liberal insiders.

  • badbogey
    January 12, 2016 - 06:10

    Quit making stupid decisions hoping that irac will overturn it in the end anyway so you can save face with 3-4 voters

  • no thanks
    January 12, 2016 - 05:14

    irac --political appointees carrying out the wishes of the rich and the ruling provincial elite

  • Walt
    January 12, 2016 - 00:54

    Maybe if Council followed the recommendations of its own planning board they would not get slapped down by IRAC for making petty decisions.

  • JIM Engineer
    January 11, 2016 - 22:37

    Take away this power that this IRAC, HAS OVER OUR GREAT CITY . THE CITY HAS KNOWLEDGE ABLE PLANNERS . LET THEM DO THERE WORK. wHEN THE PROJECT THAT WAS MENTIONED IN THE ABOVE ARTICK IT IS COSTING THE DEVELOPER MONEY AND LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT FOR LOCAL TRADESPEOPLE, NOW THAT WE HAVE LOTS FROM fORT mAC

  • Joe Doe
    January 11, 2016 - 22:37

    IF CITY COUNCILWOULD START MAKING SENSIBLE DECISIONS IRAC WOULDN'T HAVE TO INTERVENE.WE WOULD STILL BE LOOKING AT AN EMPTY PARKING LOT BY MCKINNON'S LOBSTER IF IT WASN'T FOR IRAC.

  • Dave
    January 11, 2016 - 22:11

    So.... When Charlottetown City Council is over ruled it is a bad thing and shouldn't be allowed. But when Haper legislation was over ruled by the Supreme Court, that is a good thing. Gotcha !

  • don
    January 11, 2016 - 22:02

    IRAC has the power and they use it. right or wrong.