Holland College remains very interested in using the Charlottetown Event Grounds but is backing off talk of actually owning the 3.5-acre property.
Sandy MacDonald, president of the college, had an informal meeting with city council last week and will be making a more formal presentation, complete with drawings, in the coming weeks.
“They asked us if we felt we should own the land and our response was, no, we’d rather not own it, we’d rather someone else own it and manage it and us use it like we do with most other fields,’’ MacDonald said.
Despite previous stories that had the college in talks to buy the land from the province, MacDonald says “we never wanted to own the land because we’re not in the land-owning business.’’
“There’s a lot of liability to owning things and that’s why the only things we really own are our school-related buildings. We much prefer somebody else own it.’’
-Holland College president Sandy MacDonald
The Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC) owns the event grounds but it’s important to keep in mind that the provincial government owns 83 per cent of CADC while the City of Charlottetown has a 15 per cent stake in it. Stratford has a two per cent stake in the site. Eastlink Centre manages the event grounds.
The confusing part right now is the future of CADC. The former Wade MacLauchlan government essentially reduced the corporation to an interim board and the current government hasn’t made any decisions as to its future.
“What we’d like to do, the way we use other fields, is somebody owns them and we apply and get some time (on) them or we lease them. That’s how we typically do it. We’d be thrilled if the city, for example, were to own the land and we were to get access to it for our students.’’
MacDonald said that seemed to surprise council during their meeting. Mayor Philip Brown has been cautious about purchasing the property because it would be an expensive undertaking.
The college simply wants to use the property as a sports field for things like intramural activity. MacDonald reiterated that they have no intention of building on the property or turning it into a parking lot.
But Eastlink Centre would still like to have the site available for potential concerts. While it’s been years since a major concert was held on the site, the city is looking to develop a plan to make changes that would enable the event grounds to host small- and medium-sized shows that currently tend to go to Confederation Landing Park.
MacDonald said if the only way the college can use the property is by owning it, he will have to take the matter to his board of governors.
“Owning it is a big step,’’ he said. “There’s a lot of liability to owning things and that’s why the only things we really own are our school-related buildings. We much prefer somebody else own it.’’