The 5 Charlottetown Mayoral candidates – Philip Brown, Kim Devine, Jamie Larkin, William MacFadden and Cecil Villard — all took part in a business debate Thursday night hosted by the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Charlottetown Inc.
The debate focused on a wide range of issues, including the lack of housing; whether the city needs its own development agency; balancing the city’s heritage with new development; infrastructure needs; and reducing the City’s $100-million debt.
Addressing the housing shortage was the first issue up for discussion.
Kim Devine says she would host a roundtable with developers, and look at streamlining the zoning and development bylaws. Jamie Larkin spoke of a Buy & Build approach, buying existing affordable housing units and protect them in a Housing Trust established with the province. Cecil Villard says the City must become engaged with province and private and non-profit sector in addressing the housing issue. Philip Brown says the time for talk is over, it’s time identify the stakeholders, tie into the national housing strategy and put shovels in the ground. William McFadden said action is needed, and the housing issue won’t be solved by politicians talking.
The candidates were asked what they believe is the top infrastructure priority for the City.
Philip Brown says the City needs to work with Stratford and Cornwall on its expanded wastewater treatment facility, and protecting the waterfront from climate change; Kim Devine says the infrastructure focus should be on maintaing what we already have, and pointed to the city’s agng underground pipes; Jamie Larkin says the top infrastructure priority is affordable housing; Cecil Villard spoke of the need for a fire hall in the West Royalty area and introducing Smart City technology; while William MacFadden said he would discuss it with folks with experience in such issues, like water.