Media Release: Stratford Council Response to Recent IRAC Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Stratford Council Response to Recent IRAC Decision

The Town of Stratford has received a written decision from the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) on the appeal by Marshall MacPherson Ltd. for a proposed development of three 12 unit condominium buildings (36 units in total) to be located on Shakespeare Drive. Upon review of the decision, it remains the position of Stratford Town Council that the concerns leading to the denial of the application earlier this year adequately justify the decision of the elected municipal body.

In late 2015, Marshall MacPherson Ltd. made a request to develop a parcel of land on Shakespeare Drive and build 36 condominium units. After a lengthy discussion and review by Stratford Council members, the application was denied with Councillors Griffin, Ogden and MacLean voting in favor of the development, Councillors Cooper, Clow and MacDonald voting against and Mayor Dunphy breaking the tie by voting against the development. There were a number of reasons for the decision which include: the flow of storm water downstream from the development including the possible effect upon neighbours and the watershed area, concerns over traffic volume and visibility near a curvy section of Shakespeare Drive, and consistency with the priorities identified by and comments received from residents within the Town.

The main issue for councillors voting against the motion was in the area of storm water management. The property itself has a steep elevation which would increase the speed of water exiting the developed property. A watershed management plan for the area was completed in 2002 and has not been updated since. With the effects of climate change, it was felt that this watershed management plan should be updated to ensure properties downstream from the development would not be negatively affected.

In recent years, Stratford has had a number of areas in the Town where developments have negatively impacted neighboring properties causing water to flood their basements after large rainfalls. One such area is Dale Drive where two apartment buildings were constructed less than ten years ago with a storm water plan approved by the Province. To this day, these water issues still plague area residents.

A recent residential development, Southside Greens, at the corner of Stratford and Kinlock Roads used a collaborative process for storm water management involving the developer, the Town and the Stratford and Area Watershed Improvement Group. As part of the storm water management plan, the developer constructed 3 retention ponds to collect storm water from the property. This solution is working very well and serves as an example of how a developer can work with the Town to ensure a development does not negatively impact neighbors.

Mayor David Dunphy stated “Council is in the best position to represent the residents on such matters. Council members are elected and accountable to the residents of the Town and, as such, ought to have the discretion and the ability to consider and weigh resident concerns when reaching decisions on such matters.”

IRAC has been delegated, by the Province of PEI, the authority to “substitute” their own decision for that of an elected municipal council. The Federation of PEI Municipalities, supported by the Town of Stratford, passed a resolution in April 2016 requesting that the Province of PEI amend the Planning Act to allow IRAC the ability to ensure that proper procedures are followed when councils make decisions, but not allow it to “substitute” their own decision in place of the decision of a Council, which is duly-elected by the residents of a municipality.

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For more information please contact:

Wendy Watts, Community Engagement Coordinator
Town of Stratford
T: (902) 569-6921
E: wwatts@townofstratford.ca

Media Release: Stratford Council Response to Recent IRAC Decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Stratford Council Response to Recent IRAC Decision

The Town of Stratford has received a written decision from the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) on the appeal by Marshall MacPherson Ltd. for a proposed development of three 12 unit condominium buildings (36 units in total) to be located on Shakespeare Drive. Upon review of the decision, it remains the position of Stratford Town Council that the concerns leading to the denial of the application earlier this year adequately justify the decision of the elected municipal body.

In late 2015, Marshall MacPherson Ltd. made a request to develop a parcel of land on Shakespeare Drive and build 36 condominium units. After a lengthy discussion and review by Stratford Council members, the application was denied with Councillors Griffin, Ogden and MacLean voting in favor of the development, Councillors Cooper, Clow and MacDonald voting against and Mayor Dunphy breaking the tie by voting against the development. There were a number of reasons for the decision which include: the flow of storm water downstream from the development including the possible effect upon neighbours and the watershed area, concerns over traffic volume and visibility near a curvy section of Shakespeare Drive, and consistency with the priorities identified by and comments received from residents within the Town.

The main issue for councillors voting against the motion was in the area of storm water management. The property itself has a steep elevation which would increase the speed of water exiting the developed property. A watershed management plan for the area was completed in 2002 and has not been updated since. With the effects of climate change, it was felt that this watershed management plan should be updated to ensure properties downstream from the development would not be negatively affected.

In recent years, Stratford has had a number of areas in the Town where developments have negatively impacted neighboring properties causing water to flood their basements after large rainfalls. One such area is Dale Drive where two apartment buildings were constructed less than ten years ago with a storm water plan approved by the Province. To this day, these water issues still plague area residents.

A recent residential development, Southside Greens, at the corner of Stratford and Kinlock Roads used a collaborative process for storm water management involving the developer, the Town and the Stratford and Area Watershed Improvement Group. As part of the storm water management plan, the developer constructed 3 retention ponds to collect storm water from the property. This solution is working very well and serves as an example of how a developer can work with the Town to ensure a development does not negatively impact neighbors.

Mayor David Dunphy stated “Council is in the best position to represent the residents on such matters. Council members are elected and accountable to the residents of the Town and, as such, ought to have the discretion and the ability to consider and weigh resident concerns when reaching decisions on such matters.”

IRAC has been delegated, by the Province of PEI, the authority to “substitute” their own decision for that of an elected municipal council. The Federation of PEI Municipalities, supported by the Town of Stratford, passed a resolution in April 2016 requesting that the Province of PEI amend the Planning Act to allow IRAC the ability to ensure that proper procedures are followed when councils make decisions, but not allow it to “substitute” their own decision in place of the decision of a Council, which is duly-elected by the residents of a municipality.

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For more information please contact:

Wendy Watts, Community Engagement Coordinator
Town of Stratford
T: (902) 569-6921
E: wwatts@townofstratford.ca

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