Charlottetown council’s emergency shelter deferral ‘mind-boggling’, says minister


Charlottetown council’s vote to defer a choice on permitting a provincial emergency shelter — probably delaying when the shelter might be up and working — has left P.E.I.Housing Minister Matthew MacKay shocked and disillusioned.

“The mayor and the council knew precisely what wanted to be completed to get this via,” MacKay informed CBC News.

“I used to be caught very off guard,” he stated. “These are individuals’s lives. There’s individuals dwelling on the road proper now. It was -4 C after I left the home this morning. It’s getting chilly and we have to discover shelter for these people.”

Council voted Tuesday to ship a choice on whether or not to permit a variance for the emergency shelter again to the planning board. 

The proposal to arrange two 25-unit modular housing models at 68 Park St., close to the Hillsborough Bridge, to accommodate individuals at present dwelling in tents comes from the province. Those models are attributable to be delivered Nov. 1.

A tent encampment on the Charlottetown Event Grounds has been rising whereas the individuals there watch for different choices. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

But the proposal required a zoning variance from council, which was deferred on a 6-4 vote at Tuesday evening’s assembly, leaving the timeline to get the shelter operational up within the air.

Mayor assured an answer can be discovered

Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown stated council voted to defer the choice to provide residents within the Park Street space extra time to voice their ideas on the venture.

He stated enter from residents was delayed attributable to communications points attributable to post-tropical storm Fiona.

“Notices had been mailed out to the residents within the affected space, however the concern for the residents and other people in that space was that the strains had been down and there was no electrical energy. It was a disruptive time for them,” Brown informed Island Morning.

“So all they’re asking for is to ask [the] planning board, give us one other alternative and that is why the deferral was voted on.

“It’s only a moment of second sober thought to get extra data … We need to observe course of. Process is that we’ve got a zoning and growth bylaw.”

Brown insists there may be time to run via the deferral course of with out delaying the opening, and says gathering extra data will give the town the chance to get the shelter proper.

“We need to be extra accommodating to our marginalized inhabitants, and I feel, in the long run, we’ll come to a decision that can be satisfying for all,” he stated.

‘Completely blindsided’

The province has been in discussions with the town in regards to the shelter since August, stated MacKay. 

“The solely factor they needed to do was give us a vote on a variance final evening and so they selected to defer it. It’s simply mind-boggling that we’re even having this dialog,” stated MacKay.

We fully bought blindsided on this. I by no means dreamt in 1,000,000 years that metropolis council would vote this down.— P.E.I. Housing Minister Matthew MacKay

“We fully bought blindsided on this. I by no means dreamt in 1,000,000 years that metropolis council would vote this down.”

MacKay additionally took situation with the mayor’s competition that the town wanted extra details about how the shelter would work.

“I listened to the mayor on his interview this morning, the place he desires to succeed in out to Halifax and New Brunswick and others,” he stated.

“We’ve completed all that. They know we have completed all that.”

‘We need to be extra accommodating to our marginalized inhabitants,’ says Mayor Philip Brown. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

‘It’s pointless’

The province is now authorized choices to have the variance granted and contemplating potential back-up plans. 

MacKay stated he has not been in contact with Brown because the vote.

“It’s pointless. We’ve had quite a few discussions with the mayor on this.

“It’s bought to the purpose the place I’ve misplaced all religion fully with the mayor and the council. I am unable to consider a phrase that comes out of the mayor’s mouth,” he stated.

“The premier, he will get one story, I get one other story, the residents get one other story. I simply discover the connection — you possibly can’t work with them.”

MacKay stated the town’s behaviour is in sharp distinction with the City of Summerside, which he says offered an choice for 5 tons inside 48 hours following current dialogue about housing there.

Upcoming municipal elections

MacKay accused Charlottetown metropolis councillors of making an attempt to defer the choice till after municipal elections on Nov. 7.

“Some of those people are placing their careers forward of somebody’s life. It simply amazes me,” he stated.

“Being a pacesetter, being within the place I’m in, it’s a must to make robust selections. Some are widespread, some aren’t, however that is part of the job. But on the finish of the day these are individuals’s lives and also you should not be enjoying politics with individuals’s lives.”

 The encampment at the Charlottetown Event Grounds continues to grow.
‘You can simply think about waking up in a chilly tent this morning and what that should really feel like, and I’m going to do all the pieces I can to get this rectified,’ says MacKay. (Tony Davis/CBC)

It’s essential that the shelter be in Charlottetown, he stated, as a result of that’s the place the majority of the homeless inhabitants is — an estimated 113 — as in comparison with about 15 in Summerside.

‘All arms on deck’

He stated the province is not certain what its choices are but, however stated his division can be having broad-ranging conversations to discover a resolution.

“We’re going to be reaching out to church organizations, neighborhood halls, something, to anyone that may be capable of assist us out on this. I’m actually asking for all arms on deck on this,” he stated.

“You can simply think about waking up in a chilly tent this morning and what that should really feel like, and I’m going to do all the pieces I can to get this rectified.”

The shelter is a short-term resolution, stated MacKay, and a long-term resolution is required. When he took on the housing portfolio just a few months in the past he stated getting individuals into heat beds for the winter was a prime precedence for him.

Brown informed Island Morning he nonetheless believes, even with the deferral again to planning board, that the town can make a decision earlier than the municipal election.

Special assembly known as for Thursday

Late Wednesday afternoon, council known as a particular assembly for Thursday at 4:30 p.m. which can be open to the general public.

There are two motions on the agenda:

  • To rescind the movement from Tuesday evening to defer a choice on the shelter variation.
  • To vote to place via the mandatory zoning variation to permit the shelter to go forward.


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