Extension makes sense on wharf RFPs

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Province, city must work together to make correct decision on property

It makes sense that an extension has been granted for proposals on developing the Queen’s Wharf property on the Charlottetown waterfront. The prime location has already attracted interest from at least 10 bidders after the province issued an RFP on the former home of the Canadian Coast Guard. Due to growing interest and requests for an extension to better develop a bid package, the province moved the RFP deadline because it takes time to conform to various city bylaws and whatever is decided, it must be done right.

P.E.I. heritage guru Catherine Hennessey is still fuming over some developments that took place recently along the waterfront which block water views looking down streets and others which squat on prime locations. Some went ahead without permits and escaped sanction, some proceeded with the city’s blessing and others went ahead after forcing the city’s hand with appeals to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.

Waterfront development was often done piecemeal over the years without a general overall plan or long-term vision of what the future of the waterfront should look like is the historic capital city.

Probably nothing would please Ms. Hennessey more than to see a provincial museum built in conformity with the area of the Queen’s Wharf.  It didn’t happen for 2014 but maybe it could for the 2017 celebration of the nation’s 150th birthday. The city has spent a lot of money recently on plans and planners for the waterfront and will insist on a compatible plan from the province before anything goes ahead.

The province acquired the waterfront property to build the P.E.I. Convention Centre. The centre has proven to be a smart decision with conventions, meetings and guests swelling in number, especially in this 150th anniversary year.

Now phase two of a long-range plan for the property is being considered as the province tests the market to see what the private sector will suggest. The government has already cleared one hurdle by reaching an agreement with First Nations who have to be consulted with the disposal of surplus Crown land.

What the province must do is keep the city fully involved so the right decision is made for that property and the proposal selected is the right one for this location. Too many mistakes and pratfalls have already occurred with other prime waterfront properties in the past.

 

A winning script

 

Every year one asks how can they improve on this, and every year the Gold Cup and Saucer manages to provide even bigger thrills than the year before. With a driver aboard from the last province to enter Confederation in this 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, a successful Old Home Week was capped off Saturday night with 55th running of the $75,000 Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer.

The final produced a thrilling stretch duel between two horses not expected to be there at the end with Bigtown Hero having too much speed at the finish line in a Canadian and track record-tying 1:50.4.

Most observers said it was one of the largest crowds for the final in years, which would have to put the attendance at over 15,000 and likely closer to 20,000. Youth had a large part to play in the race as 27-year-old trainer Rene Allard had three of his horses in the final field.

As Lee Drake, a spokesman for Red Shores Racetrack and Casino said, it was best field ever assembled for the cup and it came down to an exciting finish.

The track couldn’t have written a better script.

Organizations: Canadian Coast Guard, P.E.I. Convention Centre, First Nations Sobeys

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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