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UPDATE: P.E.I. government announces plans to reinstate Charlottetown Area Development Corporation

Premier Dennis King says he has made it a priority to reach out to both the opposition Liberal and Green parties in the lead-up to his government’s first speech from the throne.
Premier Dennis King announced Friday that the province is reinstating the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation. - Stu Neatby

Three municipalities — one voice.

That’s how Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown sums up the provincial government’s announcement Friday to reinstate the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC).

After it became a hot-button topic during last November’s municipal debates, Premier Dennis King decided to reverse former premier Wade MacLauchlan’s decision in 2016 to take control of CADC and the Summerside equivalent, the Summerside Regional Development Corporation (SRDC). In Summerside’s case, the province will continue to work with the city, businesses and organizations to determine the best option going forward for SRDC.

Since then, there has been no clear direction for the future of either entity.

“When the premier met with us in April in Cornwall, we . . . spoke in one unified voice that we wanted to have it reinstated,’’ Brown said, referring to a meeting between King, himself, Stratford Mayor Steve Ogden and Cornwall Mayor Minerva McCourt.

Ogden said Friday he was very happy with the decision.

Brown said King vowed to make the change, following up a promise he had made during the provincial election campaign earlier this year.

King said CADC has been “very important’’, both economically and socially, to the province in the past and reinstating the corporation “will allow us to work better together with our business communities’’.

Since 2016, CADC has existed as an interim board made up of three deputy ministers, CADC general manager Ron Waite and the chief administrative officers from Charlottetown and Stratford. The old board was made up of government and municipal representatives as well as industry and business leaders.

Following King’s announcement Friday, CADC will be comprised of a 10-person board with seven members from the province, two members from the capital city and one from Stratford. Cornwall town council has decided not to become part of the board now but discussions with them will continue.

Brown said it’s his understanding that the seven provincial seats will be filled by business people from the capital region. The two Charlottetown chairs will also be made up of business representatives and he expects the same to apply to Stratford’s seat.

“We’re trying to push the province to allow Cornwall to sit in as an observer.’’

Brown said the new board’s mandate will be to work in a socially, economically responsible fashion.

The Charlottetown mayor said he’ll also be pushing to have CADC operate as the Capital Area Development Corporation, rather than using the city’s name in the title.

Dawn Alan, CEO of Downtown Charlottetown Inc. (DCI), said CADC’s mandate will continue to be to leverage funds and collaborate with private sector, organizations and governments.

Brown said immediate priorities for CADC, in his opinion, will be issues such as affordable housing and lobbying the future federal government to return P.E.I. to one EI zone as opposed to the current dual-zone system.

Positions for the new board will be advertised through Engage P.E.I. by the end of October.

Since 1974, CADC has been a catalyst, developer and property manager for initiatives such as the P.E.I. Convention Centre, Confederation Landing Park, P.E.I. Biocommons Business Acceleration Centre, Abe Zakem House (affordable housing) and Workers Compensation Board office (former CN Railway ticket office).

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