The Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC) was founded in 1974. Its’ mandate was to contribute to the economic and social development of the Provincial Capital Area. The corporation came about because of the desire of the City of Charlottetown and surrounding municipal communities to plan systematically for development. That interest was the result of, to some extent, the existence of the Prince Edward Island Comprehensive Development Plan (The Plan). To understand CADC’s background one must start with the Development Plan.
The Plan was signed on March 7, 1969 by Jean Marchand, the Federal Minister of Forestry and Rural Development, and Alexander B. Campbell, the Premier of Prince Edward Island. The goals of the plan were “to increase income and employment opportunities as well as to raise the standard of living in P.E.I.”
The Plan contained several policies, strategies, initiatives, and programs dealing with nearly every aspect of the Provincial way of life. There was an emphasis on the exploitation of the primary sectors such as agriculture and fishing along with a movement for improved tourism facilities and educational opportunities. The development strategy and the resulting programs were to have a positive financial effect on the province. This was to be seen in the net provincial product of the Island and the income per capita of the province.
In the early days of “The Plan” there was recognition that a strategy was required to facilitate development for the two major municipalities of Charlottetown and Summerside. Accordingly a program was created and funds were set aside for that purpose.
The first application of that program for Charlottetown came with the creation of the Charlottetown Area Development Committee and the launch of a major study intended to define “the role of the Charlottetown Area as a tourist, conference, seminar and continuing education centre”. The study was to deal with the land and building uses and services. The consulting firm that was engaged for the work was Stevenson and Kellogg Ltd. Their report, since its publication in three volumes, has come to be known as the Stevenson and Kellogg report.
It proposed the creation of two new agencies as follows:
- An incorporated entity to be known as the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation which would focus initially on the waterfront and commercial core of the City and in a later phase on the broader development opportunities in the Capital Area.
- A new planning board established under the Provincial Planning Act with two representatives from each of the incorporated communities in the Charlottetown area. The Planning Board came to be known as the Charlottetown Area Regional Planning Board.
CADC was formed with its common shares held 75% by the Province, 15% by the City of Charlottetown and 10% by the Regional Planning Board. A Board of nine directors were appointed by the Shareholders and David A Darby was named as the first Chair of the Board.
CADC, as intended, launched first into the focus provided by the Stevenson and Kellogg report – that of waterfront and urban core renewal.
Significant objectives were established for that redevelopment including repopulation in the affected area, building on the heritage resource, protect access to the water, ensuring appropriate historic pedestrian (Great George Street) and commercial (Queen Street) connections between the waterfront and the urban core.
There was a time of detailed planning, land assembly, and public engagement and approvals of the plans. In the end several important projects emerged and were developed.
These include the following: To build on the heritage resource and establish the historic pedestrian connection CADC
- Worked closely with Heritage Canada and managed the sensitive process of renovating and redeveloping the Heartz O’Holloran Property on Great George Street.
- Purchased and extensively redeveloped and renovated properties at 90, 94, 98, and 100 Water Street.
- Developed and implemented the streetscape and historic lighting on Great George and Water Streets with underground electrical and installation of lantern style street lighting.
To create the first phase of waterfront renewal in a manner consistent with Stevenson and Kellogg, CADC planned and developed Harbourside. The mixed use complex includes the Sir Louis Henry Davies Law Courts Building, 91 residential units, 130 underground parking spaces, and substantial commercial and office space, all in seven restored and new buildings. Two of the restored buildings, the Carvell building and the Peake House added significantly to the corporation’s objective of building on the heritage resource. The Harbourside Complex continues to be owned and managed by CADC. The Peake House was sold to a private interest.
Bringing new life to the core of the city was a difficult challenge. Cities all around North America were losing the vitality of their core areas. Through a creative and dedicated group of private business persons in the area CADC was able to facilitate the development of Confederation Court Mall and the Queen Parkade. The Queen Parkade, built in 1979, was Charlottetown’s first parking garage and has a capacity for 338 cars. Additional parking garages were to follow – the Pownal Parkade in 1986 with a capacity for 460 cars and the Fitzroy Parkade in 2001 with a capacity for 508 vehicles. All three parking facilities are currently owned by the City of Charlottetown and managed by CADC.
The Confederation Court Mall was officially opened in 1979 – a major downtown infill project that offered significant retail and office space and new hope for the Centre of the City. Built and originally owned by a subsidiary of CADC, the Mall, as was originally planned, is now in private ownership. In 1982 a new commercial and office tower was developed and came to be known as the Royal Trust Tower after the first major ground floor tenant. The new building provided for the connection of the Confederation Court Mall and the Queen Parkade by pedway across Kent Street.
In the development of, and subsequent to, the first phase of waterfront renewal (Harbourside) CADC continued to assemble land along the waterfront as it became available for use in further development. The first result of the land availability came with the development and opening of the CP Hotel (the Delta) in 1982. The value of the land, assembled with public funds, was part of a package that saw a significant Federal and Provincial investment in the convention centre portion of the hotel complex.
The wharf and Marina project included the construction of a boardwalk, retail shops, and restaurant space. The development also included a commercial marina and boat slip. This development is owned and operated by CADC.
Confederation Landing Park was constructed and opened in 1995. It involved a complex process to decommission and acquire the former Texaco Tank Farm property and redevelop it as a Waterfront Park commemorating the 1864 Charlottetown Conference that led to the formation of Canada. Also in 1995 a new parking lot was constructed to provide 170 surface parking spaces on the waterfront.
Ongoing waterfront redevelopment proceeds in the area east of Prince Street. In 1996 CADC reconstructed the CN building known as the Brass Shop, an historic building which became a new Visitor Information Centre for Charlottetown. In that same year CADC renovated the old CN Station building, another historic property, into a modern office building presently occupied by the Workers Compensation Board of PEI. In 2001 CADC also created 134 additional parking spaces. The rail yard parking lot is currently owned and operated by CADC. Then in 2001 another historic CN building was renovated into a major interpretative centre for Charlottetown. Known as Founders Hall the development stands as a tourism attraction and a further witness to Charlottetown’s role as the Birthplace of Confederation. Founders Hall is owned and managed by CADC.
CADC continues its work on the Charlottetown Water front to this day. Many projects have been completed and there are many more as development continues to march eastward to the Hillsborough bridge area. Most recently CADC is working on the development of a new festival and events area at the foot of the bridge as well as an addition to the convention facilities at the Delta Hotel.