A Cavendish business will be able to build a disputed wooden walkway after the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission recently ruled in its favour after the Resort Municipality voted against allowing it.
In an April 8 decision, IRAC allowed an appeal from Wood Wheeler Inc. and required the municipality to grant a variance that will give the business permission to build a wooden walkway instead of using some other material.
The issue ended up before the commission for a hearing on March 6 after the municipality denied Michael Wheeler’s request for a variance to allow him to build the walkway for the 2012 tourist season.
Wheeler said he wanted to build a barrier-free walkway in front of a building that houses several businesses, including the P.E.I. Dirt Shirt Factory.
The walkway wasn’t compliant with the municipality’s bylaw and required a variance because it would have been too close to the road.
In its decision, the commission agreed with Wheeler that a gravel walkway was inappropriate for wheelchairs, strollers and other devices used to help with personal mobility.
The commission also found that while a boardwalk would be considered a structure under the municipality’s bylaw, a wooden walkway wouldn’t expand the building’s development.
As part of his submissions, Wheeler filed a quote from a construction company that showed the cost of a wooden walkway would be half the price of one made of concrete.
In its decision, the commission said it considered whether the extra costs associated with a concrete walkway would be a compelling reason to justify granting a variance.
IRAC found it was a compelling reason.
The commission also said a boardwalk type of walkway would be preferable in appearance to concrete because it would be in keeping with the “visual character” of Cavendish.