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EDITORIAL: Red Shores’ gate causing a stir

A passerby climbs the hill to go around the new gate in front of Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown last Friday. The arena and Red Shores teamed up to erect the gate to block pedestrians and traffic from accessing the Red Shores’ shipping and receiving area. It was recently identified as a safety and liability issue.
Jim Day/The Guardian

Donald Trump’s border wall isn’t the only divide that’s causing a stir.

For many Charlottetown residents, the same can be said for the new gate that was put up between Red Shores and the front of the Eastlink Centre.

Since the chain-link gate was put in place about a month ago, anyone wanting to go to the Eastlink Centre from that main parking lot will either have to walk on the unpaved path along Kensington Road, or cross the street in two places.

Dave McGrath, general manager of the Eastlink Centre, told The Guardian this week that plans are being worked on for improved lighting in front of the arena as well as new crosswalks, crosswalk lights and most important, a sidewalk on the arena side of the road.

In the meantime, it’s a dangerous situation for the flocks of people, including families and children, who are being rerouted around the gate to and from basketball or hockey games, especially at night as vehicles are leaving the main parking lot.

It’s easy to picture people also walking on the shoulder or trying to climb the gate.

Clearly a new sidewalk is needed, and in fact, should have already been constructed in anticipation of this.

It’s a unique set up for sure – to have to cross Red Shores’ property to access the Eastlink Centre from the main parking lot. The sides have shared this space for decades, so it’s interesting that this issue has popped up now.

It would have made more sense to keep the gate open for the rest of the winter on game days until a new sidewalk could be built once the warmer weather arrives. It would also make sense to schedule shipments to Red Shores’ around game days to account for the risk of pedestrians being struck by vehicles.

Of course, the lots on Park Street are still an option to enter the Eastlink Centre from another direction. And, over time, people will adapt to being rerouted around the gate.

But what is also interesting is how business community events and trade shows will respond.

For these events, the Red Shores/Eastlink Centre parking lot is the preferred option and fills up quickly with vehicles. As well, the corridor that is now cut off is the main route for swarms of vendors and participants to access the Eastlink Centre.

What impression will being rerouted around that corridor leave with the business and trade show folks? Perhaps they start looking at other venue options the next time – ones that are more convenient and safer to access.

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