I have been re-reading and thinking about Doug MacArthur’s article, (Concern for our city, Sept. 11), and share his concern for the future of Charlottetown. I support the establishment of a citizens' forum before any waterfront construction irrevocably changes our city.
I am an Islander who has lived abroad for many years and, since 2014, live on the Island. I feel extremely lucky to be here.
For 20 years I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the U.S., a city of 85,000 people. It was founded by Native Americans and Mexicans and almost everything is built in the adobe style. In the mid-1940s it was a sleepy town full of artists, attracted by the unique architecture and the light. The city fathers decided to preserve the unified adobe look and instituted strict height and building style codes which remain in effect to today.
Because of the presence of this inspired vision, Santa Fe is a tourist mecca attracting millions of people every year. Businesses flourish and the few businesses that do require larger buildings locate on the outskirts of the city. The building codes preserve the “look and feel” of the city. They focus on what was unique and saved it for future generations.
Charlottetown is also a unique city, not only in the beauty of its historic architecture and the simplicity of its small homes, but also because of its location on a magnificent harbour. If the two large buildings approved for the waterfront move ahead, we will lose the glory of our city. We will lose the charm that attracts tourism and the historic beauty that defines us. These two buildings will live long as a monument to bad judgment.
I am well aware of the shortage of housing. I am also aware that low-density housing alone is not going to answer this pressing need. However, we are an intelligent, imaginative, creative people and surely we can work together to create a better solution in housing than the out-of-scale, out-of-place, proposed buildings on Haviland and lower Prince Street.
I beg of you Mayor Brown and Council: take a new, courageous, and creative look at the uniqueness of Charlottetown, and how best to preserve it. Please pause, consult with your constituents, and together, let's create a plan that satisfies the need for housing and honours the beauty of our city.