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City abandons boardwalk plans after hearing concerns from residents

Neighbours Cathleen O’Grady, left, and Chris Lane walk the nearly 12-year-old yellow lab Calvin Lane along a section of the Charlottetown boardwalk Sunday.
Neighbours Cathleen O’Grady, left, and Chris Lane walk the nearly 12-year-old yellow lab Calvin Lane along a section of the Charlottetown boardwalk Sunday. - Mitch MacDonald

The City of Charlottetown has abandoned plans to connect the Victoria Park and culinary institute boardwalks.

The residents who live along West Street, where the boardwalk would be placed to connect the two, simply don’t want the structure running through their backyards.

“When the potential projects were announced in The Guardian (in January) the residents on West Street contacted city officials and I went down and met with a life-long resident myself on the street,’’ said Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chairman of the parks, recreation and leisure activities committee. “They did not want a boardwalk to expand across their water lots because they felt very strongly that it was an invasion of privacy.’’

After consultations, Tweel brought a recommendation to his committee explaining that residents were not in favour of the boardwalk being expanded.

That recommendation made it to the floor of council chambers at the regular public meeting on Monday night where a resolution read “that the expansion of the Victoria Park boardwalk to connect with the culinary boardwalk project be removed from the ICIP expression of interest list which was previously announced by resolution of council on Dec. 19’’.

The city has applied to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) for a number of projects and the boardwalk expansion was one of them. The boardwalk project included easements and the construction of a 0.35-kilometre boardwalk along the shoreline. Shoreline protection would have taken place along this section.

Tweel said it didn’t matter to the residents on West Street where the boardwalk was going to be placed, just that people would now be walking through their backyards.

“They felt quite strongly that it was an invasion of privacy, whether it was along the shoreline or into their lots. They were just not in favour.’’

Council unanimously supported abandoning the expansion project.

“I certainly respect their wishes. I gave them my word that this would be deleted from the list.’’

Tweel said the city will continue with its boardwalk replacement work down by the Irish monument in behind the culinary institute. The Victoria Park boardwalk has already been reinforced with three-inch marine lumber with drainage tiles underneath.

Tweel said he would still like to see the Victoria Park boardwalk expanded into the downtown but isn’t sure how that will happen now.

“It’s probably one of the best assets the city has in terms of creating that whole impetus to have people become more healthy, more fit, to get out and walk; it’s been fantastic. I want to build off that and we’re going to be exploring other opportunities and other options. I can’t give you specifics at this time but that’s what I’m working towards.’’

Dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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