Site plan for proposed new government garage on Brackley Point Road.
See proposed environment impact statement as a PDF HERE
Brackley doubles much-needed tax base; city overcomes hurdle blocking new arena
Residents of Brackley deserve a hearty round of applause. The community appears ready to welcome the provincial government garage with open arms, or in this case, open doors. Such a facility might have gotten a frosty reception elsewhere on P.E.I. but the usual NIMBY (not in my backyard) mentality was absent in Brackley last week at an open house where the public got a chance to look over plans for the project and talk to officials with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
There have been a few delays and hiccups along the way but it appears to be a win-win situation here. Moving the government garage to Brackley will double the community’s tax base, while Charlottetown is looking forward to the opportunities that will open up as part of an exciting Eastern Gateway project.
The busy stretch along Riverside Drive and the arterial bypass is no longer a suitable location for all the machinery and congestion near the Hillsborough Bridge. The province has purchased some 80 acres of property for the project, much of it located well off the Brackley Point Road in an industrial area of the community not far from the airport roundabout, which is more central and accessible for the province’s needs. The extra room in Brackley will allow the Department of Transportation to combine the now-separate garage and school bus depot into one more efficient facility.
There was a positive environmental assessment done for the new site. And with a generally affirmative feedback from the open house, it’s likely that Environment Minister Janice Sherry will quickly sign off on the project. Residents had some concerns but there was general support for the project, which could take up to five years to complete.
Brackley Community Council operates on a shoestring budget now and this added tax revenue would allow the community to start offering some services to its approximately 350 residents. Those are now limited to the opportunities at the popular Brackley Commons just past the airport.
The project would include an administration building, maintenance garage and materials storage, sand and salt storage, brine station, bridge yard and component storage, culvert storage, sign yard, road and site preparation materials storage, heavy equipment storage and school bus parking and storage.
And who knows, maybe residents are confident that they will be the first ones plowed out during snowstorms.
The City of Charlottetown is helping out its neighbour by supplying water and sewer services. Oddly, Brackley council views the projected extra garage traffic in Brackley as a good thing. The depot will slow traffic down heading into Charlottetown where motorists now have a tendency to speed through the community.
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee is a big supporter of the move. He has long been concerned that people coming into the city over the Hillsborough Bridge are greeted by the industrial eyesore of the school bus lot and government garage.
The city’s Eastern Gateway Waterfront Master Plan includes a centerpiece 5,000-plus seat, multi-use arena and entertainment facility in place of the current garage. This would replace the aging Civic Centre which has been an engineering and spectator disaster since it was built for the 1991 Canada Winter Games some 25 years ago.
A $40-million price tag has halted any immediate plans to proceed on an arena, but each year’s delay means a more expensive project for the future. The mayor is hopeful that a group of partners will share the cost so the arena and entertainment complex can proceed.
Such a facility is sorely needed for both the city and province.