Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wrong Again Miss Devine... try and help for a change

There could only be two theory's behind Miss Devine's response in the Guardian to the owners of Maid Marian's... the first is she went to Public Relations School (which she did) where she subscribed to the old political adage "that a great defence is a bullshit offence"... or the second is she is naive enough to believe her own response... and I really don't know which theory to subscribe too but I can tell you it's been my experience (and I’ve taken a pile of it) that most of the problems like the ones the Walker’s are having take root in City Hall... and if you ask the guy from Newfoundland who's building the new condo/spa on the waterfront, or if you ask the developers of the new condo at Richmond and Rochford who had to go back a few times to get there permit, or you ask the gentlemen whose trying to develop the apartments at Idlewheels Trailer Park, or you ask just about anyone who has tried to develop something in Charlottetown recently you'll get the “same type of feedback” from them about City Hall... and somewhere in the middle of it all will be Miss Devine... simply put the City has been dicking around with delays on Maid Marian's for far too long.... the owners just want to get back to business and they have to get their foundation walls up (not just their footings) and backfilled so they can pave before the paving plants close for the winter which is in the next few weeks... the alternate is trying to open their business without paving which inevitably ends up with the temporary gravel becoming muddy and opening up "slip and fall" liabilities, furthermore the mud gets tracked back into the restaurant, up the street, into customer's cars, etc... Miss Devine continues to Chair Planning “as she sees it” not as “it should be seen”.... maybe trying to help would be a nice change...
Maid Marian's owners frustrated by delays in rebuilding city diner
The Guardian
The owners of a popular city diner that burned to the ground last May are growing increasingly frustrated by what they say are unnecessary delays by city hall in their efforts to build a new restaurant. Peter and Wendy Walker, the owners of Maid Marian’s, received a green light from Charlottetown city councillors Oct. 14, but the next day they received a list of 10 more concerns by the city’s planning department further delaying their plans to replace the popular Sherwood diner. Wendy Walker says they had hoped to have the restaurant back in business by now. But with construction not even started, Walker said the earliest they may be reopened now is late February or early March 2010. “We were calling back and forth, to see what was going on, but there seemed to be one more hurdle after the other,” Walker told The Guardian. “Frustrating isn’t the word. People are wondering what we are doing wrong that we can’t get this place open. We’re losing staff. They are out looking for other jobs because they haven’t seen a hole in the ground yet. They are starting to wonder, ‘what is going on here’?” A spectacular fire destroyed Maid Marian’s and the attached Sherwood Drug Mart on May 20. The drug store is operating in a temporary location across the street while construction continues on an expanded Sherwood Medical Centre and Pharmacy. The pharmacy is expected to reopen in its new location in either late November or early December. But work has not even started on the new restaurant. The restaurant is being pushed back from its original location, which puts it partially on a residential property. That required rezoning, public consultation and approval by Charlottetown city council. Kim Devine, the councillor responsible for planning, said the delays have nothing to do with city hall. Devine said they now have an initial “footings permit”, which allows them to start construction, but the city is still waiting for a surveyor’s plan before a final building permit can be issued. “I don’t think there are delays,” said Devine. “We’re doing everything we can to keep the project going.” What the owners are going through, said Devine, is what every developer goes through when they are constructing a building of this size. “We’re certainly not doing anything to hold them up.” The delays have been particularly difficult for the 43 people who used to work at Maid Marian’s. Virginia Thompson of Harrington has worked at the diner in Charlottetown for 15 years. She’s still receiving employment insurance. Other former workers have taken seasonal or full-time jobs at other restaurants. “Nobody ever thought it was going to take this long,” said Thompson. “It’s been very stressful, very stressful. Every time you turn a new corner, it’s longer and longer and longer.” Thompson said she’s not only hearing concerns from her co-workers, but from Maid Marian’s customers. “Everybody is so disappointed it’s taking so long,” she said. “We have customers who are driving up to Summerside faithfully because it’s Maid Marian’s.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have an elderly relative who has resided at Idle Wheels for 20 years. She realizes she has to move but is not pleased with how things were handled by everyone involved.

Mr. MacEachern purchased the property many years ago and from that time reduced services to the park; grounds went unmowed, snow removal was limited at best etc. All in an attempt it was seen by residents, to make the park less liveable for them and to make it more of an eyesore for the community.

The application to IRAC and the hearing following Council's decision did not follow IRAC's own policy regarding Notice to the Public and fair representation to those effected to be represented and be heard.

What happened after that was a feeble attempt by IRAC to window dress the situation to make it appear the policies had been followed when in fact they should have started the process all over again.

This is not an attempt by Council or anyone to be obstructionist to development. However if you are going to do it, and have worked so long to put the proposal etc together, then your information should all be in place and things should be straightforward.

Mr. MacEachern was not lily white in this instance and through his lawyer and the assistance of the City's lawyer, the application almost passed through IRAC without Notice to anyone.

The old saying is if you never tell a lie then you have nothing to remember. If you are transparent in your dealings then things should go smoothly.

This further bolsters the argument that IRAC is a useless body that has employees who are uncertain of the rules and therefore can be manipulated and used.