Top News

Three Rivers puts back Montague waterfront study until clearer picture provided

Coun. Alan Munro, left, and Coun. David McGrath listen to a presentation during Monday’s Three Rivers council meeting at Kings Playhouse. Council will be weighing all the area’s needs and priorities before making any major decisions.
Coun. Alan Munro, left, and Coun. David McGrath listen to a presentation during Monday’s Three Rivers council meeting at Kings Playhouse. Council will be weighing all the area’s needs and priorities before making any major decisions. - Mitch MacDonald

THREE RIVERS, P.E.I. - Members of the Three Rivers council still have to wrap their heads around all the issues facing the large municipality before making any hard financial decisions.

That was one reason given by council for putting off a vote during Monday’s council meeting at Kings Playhouse on whether to approve a $30,000 study on the Montague waterfront.

Fallen leaves add a splash of colour around the eye-catching wood carvings of musicians overlooking the Montague River earlier this year. The Three Rivers council put off a vote during Monday’s council meeting at Kings Playhouse on whether to approve a $30,000 study on the Montague waterfront.
Fallen leaves add a splash of colour around the eye-catching wood carvings of musicians overlooking the Montague River earlier this year. The Three Rivers council put off a vote during Monday’s council meeting at Kings Playhouse on whether to approve a $30,000 study on the Montague waterfront.

Councillors found themselves at odds debating the motion, with the two present councillors from Montague defending the need for a study, which would determine whether a walking bridge is possible through surveying, geotechnical, bathysphere and environmental work.

Three Rivers CAO Andy Daggett, who served in the same role with the former Montague council, noted the previous council had budgeted money for the study and approved it during one of its final meetings.

However, council was dissolved a few days later as amalgamation became official.

“Even though it was authorized work… I didn’t know If I could spend the money council told me I could spend, so we were stuck,” said Daggett, adding that the project had been on Montague’s agenda for more than 10 years. “This is to find out if it’s even possible.”

The majority of councillors were hesitant of the motion, which was the only one of the night that involved spending a large sum of money.

Both Coun. Gerard Holland and Coun. Alan Munro said they were not opposed to the study but wanted to hold off until council had a better idea of priority issues for the whole region. For example, one of the area’s priority issues identified later in the meeting was the poor water pressure that has been affecting Georgetown residents for the last year.

Holland said the waterfront motion was not a “crisis situation”.

“We should put it off for a few weeks to see what kinds of problems we’re going to have,” said Holland.

Munro said a $30,000 study was frivolous spending for a new council.

“There are other things pressing,” he said.

Coun. Debbie Johnston, who was on the Montague waterfront development committee, said the walking bridge would be part of a bigger project that would include federal funding. The study would help provide info for the overall project, which includes new seating, terracing, a replacement for one side of the boardwalk and dredging.

“The committee has been working on this project for some time, and I’d hate to see it all go down the tube because of $30,000,” said Johnston.

Coun. John MacFarlane, said the study would help secure future funding for the project.

“For the big picture, they require this group to come in and do this study,” he said.

When a vote was called, it was clear that Johnston and MacFarlane would be the only two voting for the motion.

However, Coun. Cody Jenkins suggested rescinding the motion and discussing it further once more details were shared. He said none of the details of the bigger waterfront project had been shared with council.

Holland agreed.

“There is a bigger picture here, but we need to get our heads around it,” he said.

Johnston agreed to provide more information and discuss the project further during council’s January meeting.

“We need to come together and put all our needs in before we start refusing one need that has been on the table for a long time.”

- Coun. Debbie Johnston

“We need to come together and put all our needs in before we start refusing one need that has been on the table for a long time.”

The debate also put into question on whether agreements made in the amalgamation mediation process will be honoured by the new council.

During the exchange, Daggett noted part of the mediation process included that money from former communities already budgeted towards certain projects would stay in those areas.

Mayor Ed MacAulay said that was his understanding as well.


Twitter.com/Mitch_PEI

Recent Stories