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EDITORIAL: A waterfront to be proud of

Conner Reid and Lisa Gale, co-owners of the Peakes Quay Marina, are in the midst of creating the Island’s first floating food court. They also poured about $1 million into creating a whole new dock for the marina.
Conner Reid and Lisa Gale are co-owners of the Peake's Quay Marina. - Dave Stewart

For many Islanders, this is the only Peake’s Wharf we know. Its appearance today is the one we take for granted.

But that wasn’t always the case.

The wharf’s evolution took another step forward recently with news that several businesses were joining Caron Prins (The Queen of Fries) and the Chip Shack on the floating dock. Peakes Quay Marina co-owners Conner Reid and Lisa Gale have invested $1 million into the marina docks.

As a result, Nimrods’, Zax’s Burgers and Shakes, the Sugar Shack and Boathouse Brews have come on board to create the Island’s first floating food court.

This development builds on other ventures in the area – Peake’s Quay Restaurant and Bar and the shops below and nearby, including Cows Ice Cream.

Locals and visitors can take a stroll around Confederation Landing Park at 1 Prince St. and revisit history or take a selfie with a statue of William Henry Pope, one of P.E.I.'s Fathers of Confederation.

As we venture toward the Charlottetown Port Authority, we come across places like Founders Hall, condominiums, Steamers Boathouse and the 1876 CN Brass Shop (another home for Receiver Coffee).

Rewind to more than 30 years ago and you would have seen an industrial wasteland with warehouses and the Texaco tank farm – not a place for tourists and families to take a stroll.

Then around the late 1980s and early 1990s, things began to change and millions started flowing in to redevelop the area, including creating Confederation Landing Park with a $1.7-million investment.

All that remains of the area before the facelift is old photographs, written accounts and the memories of longtime residents.

The Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC) website is rich with information, including old photos, about the redevelopment projects they spearheaded.

Les Parsons, who retired recently with the Charlottetown Port Authority, spent 20 years with CADC. In an interview with The Guardian, he explained that the projects needed to appeal to locals as well as tourists. Without the former, you’re unlikely going to attract the latter.

With all the municipal election talk about the future of the CADC, it’s fair to say that none of this revitalization would have been possible without the collective vision of the organization and its partners.

It must be a pleasure for the people behind the scenes that made the redevelopment a possibility to see how the area has evolved while preserving history.

For the new floating food court, yes, the businesses will pack up once the summer winds down and the season ends. But they’ll be back next year for tourists and locals – same time, same place.

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