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Residents of Charlottetown waterfront apartment building feeling left out by city council

Arlene Mamye, left, and Louise Aalders lead an ad-hoc committee representing the residents of the 43-unit apartment building Renaissance Place, pictured in the background. They’re upset they haven’t been consulted about the proposed 99-unit apartment building that will be going up on the green space just behind them.
Arlene Mamye, left, and Louise Aalders lead an ad-hoc committee representing the residents of the 43-unit apartment building Renaissance Place, pictured in the background. They’re upset they haven’t been consulted about the proposed 99-unit apartment building that will be going up on the green space just behind them. - Dave Stewart
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Residents of an apartment building on the Charlottetown waterfront say they feel let down by city council.

They’re upset that they haven’t been consulted about a new $30-million, eight-storey apartment building that is expected to be built between their building and the waterfront on Haviland Street.

Arlene Mamye and Louise Aalders, who speak for an ad-hoc committee representing the residents of Renaissance Place, say they are not happy that the building can go up as-of-right (based on new rules brought in in 2012) and meaning it doesn’t require a public meeting or approval of council. Residents feel like they should be included in the process.

“I feel it’s been really disrespectful of us," Mamye told The Guardian. “Some people in this building have lived there for over 20 years, and it’s their home. We really feel it has been invaded."

The ad-hoc committee sent a news release to members of the media as well as to Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown and all members of council. The release lists a number of concerns they have related to environmental issues, traffic and how construction of the new building will impact them.

“It’s not just the residents of Renaissance Place (that this impacts)," Aalders. “It’s the people in the area on lower Water Street and people that use the boardwalk and enjoy the greenspace (between Renaissance Place and the boardwalk)."


JUST THE FACTS 

Following are details on the proposed 99-unit, eight-storey apartment building on Haviland Street in Charlottetown: 

  • The lot measures about 175 feet running north to south and 200 feet long running east to west with a 25-foot frontage on Haviland Street. 
  • The building has a footprint of about 165 feet by 124 feet. 
  • The building will include a green roof (7,800 square feet), public art space off the main entrance, increase to shoreline stabilization with a back-flow system, incorporation of two four-bedroom units and eight barrier-free units. 
  • The ground floor podium will be clad in stone or brick characteristic to the area and will be broken up with panels of glass. A large cornice will complete the grade level podium for an identifiable break between the upper floors. - The remaining seven floors will be predominantly curtain wall glazing with accents of high quality metal with no exposed fasteners.

Members of council and the developer, Pan American Properties, have said a number of times in the past that this proposed development will help address the serious issue of low vacancy in the city.

In a previous interview with The Guardian, Tim Banks, who owns Pan American Properties, said the 99-unit building will be energy-efficient, feature dual high-speed elevators, a gym, a gathering area, art gallery, a dog wash, bike racks and a bike storage area. Banks added that rent will likely be consistent with other waterfront properties.

“Like anything else that’s put on the market place, it opens up vacancy to make vacancy higher, reduces rent and makes things more competitive," Banks said. “Next year, I think the story will be how high the vacancy (rate) is."

Aalders said residents of Renaissance Place aren’t getting any co-operation from the city.

“They’ve pretty much washed their hands of it and said that it’s in the hands of planning board and design and if the developer meets all of the requirements then it wouldn’t have to face a vote of city council," Aalders said.

Mamye said someone should have at least reached out to them and explained the impact construction will have.

“Nobody seems to have any empathy for the seniors living in the building there and what they’re losing," Mayme said, pointing to the water view.

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