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P.E.I. government reverses course on Greenwich development permit

GREENWICH, P.E.I. — In an obvious reversal of its earlier place, the P.E.I. authorities has granted developer Tim Banks a growth allow for lots situated a stone’s throw from the ecologically delicate P.E.I. Nationwide Park at Greenwich.

The allow may enable Banks to construct rental housing on lots close to a boardwalk pathway to a seaside inside the park. The province had initially denied Banks this allow final fall.

However Banks says the province has since reversed course once more, denying him a constructing allow for the property.

A constructing allow differs from a growth allow, as it’s meant to make sure the deliberate construction abides by constructing codes. Improvement permits are granted beneath the province’s Planning Act.

On high of this, the Environmental Coalition of P.E.I. has filed an enchantment of the province’s choice to grant Banks a growth allow for the lot. The group is questioning what prompted the Division of Housing, Land and Communities to reverse its preliminary denial of the event allow to Banks.

Within the midst of the complicated regulatory pile-up, Banks says he plans to construct on the property, which he has owned since 2005.

“I will develop them. After which in the event that they wish to come and purchase (them) as soon as they’re developed and knock the buildings down, they’ll go forward and try this,” Banks instructed SaltWire in an interview.

Tim Banks was granted a development permit in July for a property near a beach in P.E.I. National Park at Greenwich, which he has owned for nearly two decades. Banks says the P.E.I. government then denied him a building permit for the same property. - Contributed
Tim Banks was granted a growth allow in July for a property close to a seaside in P.E.I. Nationwide Park at Greenwich, which he has owned for almost twenty years. Banks says the P.E.I. authorities then denied him a constructing allow for a similar property. – Contributed

The property in query is situated close to the doorway to Greenwich Seashore, down Wild Rose Street north of the P.E.I. Nationwide Park interpretation centre.

It’s situated inside a proposed subdivision with a really prolonged and contentious historical past.

Within the early 2000s, there have been plans to construct a resort on the property. St. Peters Estates Ltd. had sought approval to construct a 150-room lodge, together with lots of of items of condominiums and an 18-hole golf course.

In the long run, the event by no means bought off the bottom and the realm stays an overgrown discipline. 

Lots of the heaps have been bought by Parks Canada in recent times however a handful, like these owned by Banks, stay in personal arms.

Banks stated the items he hopes to construct could be rented to college students on the UPEI Faculty of Local weather Change and Adaptation in close by St. Peters throughout the winter. He stated he hoped to lease out the items to shoppers of his Blackbush Resort in the summertime.

Water system

The province denied Banks’ growth allow in December 2022. A central water system for the property seems to have been the crux of the matter. 

A letter from the Division of Setting stated it had not acquired the suitable engineering plans for a central water system for the property. 

Developer Tim Banks may soon begin to build on this field, located right next to a beach access pathway within P.E.I. National Park at Greenwich. The province granted Banks a development permit in July, however, Banks says he has since been denied a building permit. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire
Developer Tim Banks might quickly start to construct on this discipline, situated proper subsequent to a seaside entry pathway inside P.E.I. Nationwide Park at Greenwich. The province granted Banks a growth allow in July, nevertheless, Banks says he has since been denied a constructing allow. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire

The letter additionally stated approval was not granted for an environmental administration plan.

Banks appealed the denial earlier than the Island Regulatory and Appeals Fee.

The province claimed in its response to Banks’ enchantment that, though a system was constructed for the subdivision, “no approval was granted for that system to be commissioned.”

Banks says he obtained proof by way of “a little bit of a civil go well with” that the water system was accredited in 2011. It’s now owned by Parks Canada.

“Below the event settlement that the province gave us, we gave them an endeavor (that) if the water system wasn’t working, that we would restore it and convey it as much as the required requirements,” Banks stated.

In an e-mail, Parks Canada confirmed the existence of “partially constructed water infrastructure” however stated it has “by no means been useful or serviceable as a water system.”

Swimmers visit a beach within P.E.I. National Park at Greenwich. A field near the entry to this beach may soon be the site of construction of rental properties on a lot owned by developer Tim Banks. - Stu Neatby/SaltWire
Swimmers go to a seaside inside P.E.I. Nationwide Park at Greenwich. A discipline close to the entry to this seaside might quickly be the positioning of development of rental properties on lots owned by developer Tim Banks. – Stu Neatby/SaltWire

After months of inactivity on the enchantment, the P.E.I. authorities granted a growth allow to Banks in July. 

Banks then withdrew his enchantment earlier than IRAC in mid-August.

“Then two weeks later the province issued me a constructing allow to construct my place. After which about three hours later revoked it,” Banks stated.

Banks believes the province denied him a constructing allow due to the enchantment filed by the Environmental Coalition of P.E.I.

SaltWire requested to talk to housing, land and communities minister Rob Lantz however was instructed the division wouldn’t converse on the topic because of the pending enchantment. The province didn’t affirm Banks’ declare that the water system had obtained approvals in 2011.

SaltWire additionally requested an interview with a consultant of the Environmental Coalition however was instructed nobody was out there. 

The assertion of enchantment filed with IRAC by the Coalition stated the group questioned whether or not the circumstances required by the province for the event, together with an operational water system, had been met. 

A map showing the lot owned by Tim Banks near the entrance to P.E.I. National Park at Greenwich. - Screenshot
A map displaying the lot owned by Tim Banks close to the doorway to P.E.I. Nationwide Park at Greenwich. – Screenshot

In an e-mail to SaltWire, a consultant of the group additionally stated they questioned: “Why this growth allow has been accredited after 18+ years of different growth allow requests within the subdivision have been denied.”

“In mild of present issues of many Islanders concerning land use coverage, ecosystem safety in rural subdivisions, and ‘working insurance policies’ inside the division (most notably Pt DeRoche), we query what prompted a change within the Authorities’s place,” learn an announcement attributed to the board of the Coalition.

Banks believes Parks Canada is “strong-arming” the province, with respect to the allowing snafus. 

He stated that, as a home-owner, he has a proper to make use of the water system, even whether it is owned by the federal company.

“I’ve a proper to construct. The province accredited the subdivision. I purchased the land. I paid them taxes. There’s not a court docket on this nation that is going to disclaim me the chance to construct a home on it,” Banks stated.

In its e-mail, Parks Canada stated it has been buying lots of the former St. Peters Estates heaps in an effort to shield P.E.I. Nationwide Park land.

“The land on the Greenwich peninsula is of excessive conservation and ecological worth. A number of species in danger both reside in or use the Greenwich peninsula for key life-cycle phases, together with the Piping Plover, Yellow-banded bumble bee and Little Brown Myotis (bat),” Parks Canada stated within the e-mail.

Stu Neatby is a political reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on X @stu_neatby.

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