A step back
New overhead power lines on Water Street go against decades of beautification work, says city resident
A Charlottetown man is upset about the power lines that were recently erected overhead Water Street.
Ray Brow said the overhead wires go against decades of beautification work on the downtown street, specifically the burying of electrical wires.
From Queen Street to the Hillsborough Bridge along Water Street, only one area — the corner of Prince and Water streets — still had overhead power lines, until the newly erected power pole and power lines.
“In a nutshell… there’s been a movement along Water Street to remove the overhead wires,“said Brow.
During the 1990s, the City of Charlottetown invested in beautifying Water Street in many ways other than burying power lines, such as building boardwalks, erecting street lanterns and landscaping projects.
“Lo and behold, there’s new wiring going in over Water Street as we speak. It goes against the movement that’s been in place for almost two decades,” said Brow. “We’re backsliding.“Brow said the choice to use overhead wires to power the new business is an inexpensive method, rather than the more costly, visually appealing alternative of burying them.
“We don’t want to go back to where we were. Water Street is a superb artery into the city. It’s a historic street; it’s something we should be proud of.” Ray Brow
Maritime Electric spokeswoman Kim Griffin said it’s not up to Maritime Electric whether the power lines get erected overhead or put underground.
“That’s not something we can just do unless our customer pays us to do that.”
The newly erected power lines are three-phase service, which needed to go overhead, as one-phase service wasn’t strong enough for that location, said Griffin.
“The reason that Maritime Electric is there is because we needed to service a customer. We had to make sure we had the type of equipment that would properly and safely service that customer.”
Maritime Electric is supportive and respectful of the work the heritage committee has done in terms of urban beautification, said Griffin.
“I think it’s important that people realize that, because we have great respect for what the city has done.”
Brow has contacted local authorities but has come up short in finding any explanation as to whether the lines will be put underground.
“Why is someone allowing this to happen? The key to this is to stop this one so there’s no more,” he said. “We don’t want to go back to where we were. Water Street is a superb artery into the city. It’s a historic street; it’s something we should be proud of.”
Paul Johnston, manager of infrastructure and asset management for the Charlottetown’s department of public works, said there has been no burying of overhead lines on Water Street in the last five years.
Most of the major beautification work, including putting power lines underground, happened in the mid-1990s during the construction of Water Street Parkway, said Johnston.