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Charlottetown city council gives floating dock the green light

Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chairman of the parks and recreation committee, said the floating dock will be installed off Victoria Park sometime this month but not as originally planned. At least for this summer, nothing, including non-motorized vessels, can be launched from the dock. Dave Stewart/The Guardian
Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chairman of the parks and recreation committee, said the floating dock will be installed off Victoria Park sometime this month but not as originally planned. At least for this summer, nothing, including non-motorized vessels, can be launched from the dock. Dave Stewart/The Guardian - Dave Stewart
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The controversial floating dock at Victoria Park received the green light from Charlottetown city council on Monday.

But plans have changed from what was originally intended — the dock will go in but the public will not be permitted to launch anything off it.

Last summer, council passed a resolution in which people would be able to launch non-motorized vessels, such as canoes and kayaks, off the dock.

However, that resulted in a significant amount of opposition. The city eventually sought a legal opinion, which led to a public meeting recently at the Rodd Charlottetown that drew a crowd of about 150 residents.

Those opposed to the plan cited parking concerns and suggested people would block the Victoria Park Roadway as they unloaded their non-motorized craft.

Those who supported the plan said it would improve accessibility by providing waterfront access.

“There were a number of concerns and the bulk of those concerns surrounded the non-motorized vessels so we thought, as a pilot project, why not try a compromise,’’ said Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chairman of the parks and recreation committee.

That compromise is the dock will be installed but nothing can be launched off it, at least for this summer.

The dock resolution passed 6-4 with Councillors Bob Doiron, Kevin Ramsay, Mike Duffy and Terry MacLeod opposed to the idea.

The city purchased the $51,000 dock last year.

Tweel said this entire exercise has been to improve safety and the accessibility of the waterfront.

“(Right now), people have to climb over those huge boulders and there is a risk of (people) being injured.’’

After the vote, someone on social media asked what the point is in having a dock if vessels can’t be launched off it.

Tweel responded, pointing to the success of the Art in the Open’s floatilla a few years ago.

“There was no launching from that and people had a good experience. Let’s try it,’’ Tweel said. “I think sometimes you have to take things step by step.’’

Tweel said if something goes wrong, the city will haul the dock out immediately.

Mayor Philip Brown was bothered by the fact the resolution wasn’t vetted first by the parks and recreation committee before it came to council. He tried to have the matter deferred to the committee could look at it when it meets June 20. However, council didn’t support the deferral.

“I was taken aback,’’ Brown said when the matter came up. “There is a process here. It’s checks and balances. There are reasons we have standing committees and advisory committees and then council has the final decision.’’

For the record, the city’s solicitor said she didn’t see a problem with it coming to the floor for a vote.

Tweel was non-committal when asked if non-motorized craft will eventually be permitted to launch off the dock.

“Those are hypothetical situations and I don’t want to get into that right now,’’ Tweel said.

The Ward 4 councillor said he’s hoping the dock can be installed sometime this month.

Dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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