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EDITORIAL: City not at 'phalt'

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown attempts to reason with a number of residents who live in the area of Sherwood Road. In June 2019, council approved a bylaw amendment that allows a second asphalt plant to be built in the city, namely the West Royalty Industrial Park and Sherwood Road. - SaltWire file photo
Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown attempts to reason with a number of residents who live in the area of Sherwood Road. At a special meeting recently, council gave second and final reading to a bylaw amendment that allows a second asphalt plant to be built in the city, namely the West Royalty Industrial Park and Sherwood Road. - Dave Stewart

Islanders are fed up with potholes and the generally poor condition of our roads.
But some people in Charlottetown – not all – are also opposed to a second asphalt plant in the city.
On Thursday, about 50 people demonstrated outside of city hall over council’s recent 5-4 rezoning decision to allow more asphalt plants in the city. Last week, another demonstration was held over the matter on Brackley Point Road.
Of course, the protester’s arguments don’t involve potholes.
At the heart of the issue is Chapman Brothers of Souris – a company that produces asphalt – and its plans to build an asphalt plant on Sherwood Road. The company already has an application to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) to purchase the15-acres of land to build the plant.
This would be the second asphalt plant in the area, and the second time Chapman Brothers and city residents have butted heads over the project. A year ago, about 150 people turned up for a public meeting to protest the plan. The company ultimately withdrew its application.
Residents have cited their concern over city council’s lack of public consultation and transparency. It’s the same familiar arguments also voiced over the city’s floating dock controversy at Victoria Park.
For businesses that chose to set up in or near the Sherwood Road industrial/commercial district, the concerns are over the increase in dust and truck traffic from a second asphalt plant in the area.
We can certainly sympathize with businesses, and residents have the right to protest and hold council accountable at the next election.
This is another example of discontent with city council. But ultimately, we elect representatives to vote and make decisions on our behalf. We certainly don’t want to have costly and time consuming referendums on every matter – including floating docks or bike lanes – that goes before council. Otherwise, why do we need elected representatives?
Let’s face it. Our Island is growing and we need to be less reliant on other provinces to export the material we need to fix our roads.
Also, we should expect that road crews will have quicker and cheaper access to paving material so the disrepair of our roads won’t be an ongoing issue. And, if trucks from the new asphalt plant chew up Sherwood Road, at least asphalt will be readily available to fix the damage.
Granted, another asphalt plant will be an eyesore and far from a green initiative. But we expect it will undergo an environmental assessment, and it isn’t going to be located in anyone’s back yard. It will create jobs and contribute to keeping our roads in better condition.   
We certainly can’t rely on YouTubers Island Boyz to fill all of our potholes with water, glue and crushed bags of Mr. Noodles.

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