Residents of Charlottetown just love to get out and socialize

Public meeting tells city council just how much they love it

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on February 20, 2016

Charlottetown residents like to walk in the downtown and made that known at a recent town hall meeting called Inspired City - Meet and Speak. Ramona Doyle, sustainability officer with the City of Charlottetown, says the directional walk signs throughout the city is just one way the city is trying to make the downtown more pedestrian friendly. Residents at the meeting would like to see even more emphasis put on pedestrian friendly areas.

©Guardian photo

People in Charlottetown have a vision for the future and it includes getting outside more and spending time together.

The City of Charlottetown hosted Inspired City - Meet and Speak at the Delta Prince Edward hotel and P.E.I. Convention Centre earlier this month.

More than 200 people turned out to the afternoon open house-style workshop that involved groups of people sitting around tables, talking about where they want the city to go. It's all part of developing a new integrated community sustainability plan.

This is the next phase of the journey.

What is abundantly clear is there is a real passion among Charlottetownians for socializing.

They want more pedestrian-friendly areas in the downtown.

They love the Farm Day in the City, where lower Queen Street is turned into one big farmers' market.

One woman pointed out that it is outgrowing its present location and that maybe it makes more sense to move it to the Charlottetown Event Grounds which, she said, is underutilized.

Another woman said she's been to cities that literally shut down certain streets after 5 p.m. to create a more pedestrian-friendly experience while not annoying retailers.

People talked about having more events at Victoria Park, perhaps creating a concert series that took place every Sunday. We're not talking major rock concerts but local talent, similar to the outdoor music every summer at Peakes Quay.

They want to see more public art in the downtown, with many speaking passionately about ensuring that municipal and province governments remain committed to festivals such as Art in the Open.

They'd love to hear more street music and see more public boxes containing books for people to share.

There was also some talk about doing a better job of reaching out to immigrants and embracing the city's diversity.

The event event brought together people from all sorts of groups, far too many to mention, but just about every age group was represented. Fusion Charlottetown was there, while both UPEI and Holland College were also well represented.

"It's time to open up to the public to see what the city is doing and what it could do better,'' said Island musician and writer Todd MacLean, who hosted the workshop.

Ramona Doyle, the sustainability officer, said it was time to reach out to the community to find out where the priorities need to be.

"This is what we were hoping for, interesting conversations with people from different backgrounds,'' Doyle said.

She said she was hearing much the same message at the tables, that people want more reasons to gather together.

"People want to get out and be with each other and talk about inspiring things; to be in a place that makes them feel good and excited about where they live.''

It's what The Guardian was hearing, too. People want to look out their windows and see a community.

"They want to love where they live . . . a social place where people can gather.''

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart