FLOAT­ING DOCK GETS GO-AHEAD, BUT NO BOATS AL­LOWED

Char­lot­te­town coun­cil votes to run it as a pi­lot project with one change – noth­ing can be launched off it this year

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - DAVE STE­WART

The con­tro­ver­sial float­ing dock at Vic­to­ria Park re­ceived the green light from Char­lot­te­town city coun­cil on Mon­day.

But plans have changed from what was orig­i­nally in­tended — the dock will go in, but the pub­lic will not be per­mit­ted to launch any­thing off of it.

Last sum­mer, coun­cil passed a res­o­lu­tion in which peo­ple would be able to launch non-mo­tor­ized ves­sels, such as ca­noes and kayaks, off the dock.

How­ever, that re­sulted in a sig­nif­i­cant amount of op­po­si­tion. The city even­tu­ally sought a le­gal opin­ion, which led to a pub­lic meet­ing re­cently at the Rodd Char­lot­te­town that drew a crowd of about 150 res­i­dents.

Those op­posed to the plan cited park­ing con­cerns and sug­gested peo­ple would block the Vic­to­ria Park Road­way as they un­loaded their non-mo­tor­ized craft.

Those who sup­ported the plan said it would im­prove ac­ces­si­bil­ity by pro­vid­ing water­front ac­cess.

“There were a num­ber of con­cerns, and the bulk of those con­cerns sur­rounded the non­mo­tor­ized ves­sels so we thought, as a pi­lot project, why not try a com­pro­mise,’’ said Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chair­man of the parks and recre­ation com­mit­tee.

That com­pro­mise is the dock will be in­stalled, but noth­ing can be launched off it, at least for this sum­mer.

The dock res­o­lu­tion passed 6-4 with Coun­cil­lors Bob Do­iron, Kevin Ram­say, Mike Duffy and Terry Ma­cLeod op­posed to the idea.

The city pur­chased the $51,000 dock last year.

Tweel said this en­tire exercise has been to im­prove safety and the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the water­front.

“(Right now), peo­ple have to climb over those huge boul­ders and there is a risk of (peo­ple) be­ing in­jured.’’

After the vote, some­one on so­cial me­dia asked what the point is in hav­ing a dock if ves­sels can’t be launched off it.

Tweel re­sponded, point­ing to the suc­cess of the Art in the Open’s flotilla a few years ago.

“There was no launch­ing from that and peo­ple had a good ex­pe­ri­ence. Let’s try it,’’ Tweel said. “I think some­times you have to take things step by step.’’

Tweel said if some­thing goes wrong, the city will haul the dock out im­me­di­ately.

Mayor Philip Brown was both­ered by the fact the res­o­lu­tion wasn’t vet­ted first by the parks and recre­ation com­mit­tee be­fore it came to coun­cil. He tried to have the mat­ter de­ferred to the com­mit­tee could look at it when it meets June 20. How­ever, coun­cil didn’t sup­port the de­fer­ral.

“I was taken aback,’’ Brown said when the mat­ter came up. “There is a process here. It’s checks and bal­ances. There are rea­sons we have stand­ing com­mit­tees and ad­vi­sory com­mit­tees and then coun­cil has the fi­nal de­ci­sion.’’

For the record, the city’s so­lic­i­tor said she didn’t see a prob­lem with it com­ing to the floor for a vote.

Tweel was non-com­mit­tal when asked if non-mo­tor­ized craft will even­tu­ally be per­mit­ted to launch off the dock.

“Those are hy­po­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tions, and I don’t want to get into that right now,’’ Tweel said.

The Ward 4 coun­cil­lor said he’s hop­ing the dock can be in­stalled some­time this month.

DAVE STE­WART/THE GUARDIAN

Coun. Mitchell Tweel, left, chair­man of the parks and recre­ation com­mit­tee, said the float­ing dock will be in­stalled off Vic­to­ria Park some­time this month but not as orig­i­nally planned. For this sum­mer, noth­ing, in­clud­ing non-mo­tor­ized ves­sels, can be launched from the dock. Also shown is Coun. Terry Ma­cLeod.

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