Jim Larkin Removes the Waterfront

Kudos to Editor Gary MacDougall for this column in yesterday’s Guardian about the new waterfront developments in Charlottetown.

Ironically, Jim Larkin, whose obscene Lobster on the Wharf expansion has removed the view of Charlottetown Harbour down Prince Street, received the Premier’s Award for Tourism in 2004. While there’s no doubt that Jim has done much good for the tourism industry on the Island, I’m afraid that this behemoth of an expansion makes it difficult to remember that.


DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on April 25, 2004 - 17:09 Permalink

Vancouver is a prime example of a very beautiful waterfront city, with a waterfront that cannot be seen, due to the number of behemoth buildings shielding the waterview. The city planners should be enacting legislation to prevent this from occurring here. We’ve already got a large hotel taking up a sizable chunk of waterfront viewing. Ironically, most of the windows within are on the dryland side, so even the hotel guests cannot see the water.
Of course, Larkin is not the only guilty party. The new wellness centre, resplendid with red paint and a large heart, is also guilty, as is the CADC’s aging Harboutside apartment and office complex.
Yes, the developments we have now are better than their predecessors — aging warehouses, railway maintenance buildings, and oil tanks, but it will be hard for the City to market a waterfront that no-one can see!

Erin's picture
Erin on April 25, 2004 - 18:40 Permalink

Another guilty party: the Capital Commission (“doing less with more”). They campaigned to have a U.S. reality TV show (Opening Soon, on Life Network) come to Charlottetown to film the rebuilding process (reality tv loves a natural disaster angle, and Hurricane Juan fits the bill). The episode will air in September, featuring lots of familiar local faces. I wonder if the television crew precipitated the more ambitious reconstruction (or added any funding to it)?

Jason's picture
Jason on April 25, 2004 - 20:53 Permalink

I used to be a proponent for a quaint, small Charlottetown when I first moved here in 1995. I thought that there are redeeming qualities about historic buildings and such….keeping things the way they are.

More and more now, I’m big on development. To say that Charlottetown landing should stay the way it is for the next 10-20 years is like putting on a set of blinds.

I too lived in Vancouver, and much rather prefer the route they took. Halifax took a cue and has been doing the same thing. Wouldn’t it be great if the waterfront was a viable year round meeting place (i.e.-market) instead of a quaint little spot we like to see for 3 months of the year.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on April 25, 2004 - 21:22 Permalink

I am always disgusted to find foil wrapped baked potato on the menu in Island restaurants. I am no food critic, but it just seems absurd to me to be served something of provincal pride wrapped and pre-heated in foil.(Especially when entertaining out-of-town guests) And management defend it when it is drawn to their attention. I was surprised to encounter it at a wharf restaurant in Ch`town. The market in that area is not driven by quality food, but location (on the water).
Some of these waterfront restaurants need a gimick like a view, because their food or prices won`t save them.

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on April 25, 2004 - 22:08 Permalink

For Jason: I’m not against development, but I don’t think waterfront is the best place to put it. Quaint can be
profitable, too. If you were at the Halifax waterfront for the Tall Ships, or the Buskers, or have been in old Quebec City, Gas Town, or old Montreal, you would see that there is a buck or two to be made in being quaint, too. Sure, Halifax has the Maritime Centre, and Toronto has its Harbourfront, but in general, the waterfront is a better place for tourism than for big business. We have University Avenue for those who want the Wal*Mart and McDonalds experience, and Dizzy Block for the banks and things. Let’s keep the waterfront for the boutiques and the restaurants.

Oh, and Wayne is right. Baked potatoes are not foil-wrapped. This turns them into steamed potatoes, which is not the same!

Mike's picture
Mike on April 25, 2004 - 22:49 Permalink

Big them big and tall, and build as many as we can fit in!

Jason's picture
Jason on April 26, 2004 - 00:27 Permalink

Oh I agree Derek. By no means did I insist that McDonalds set up shop on the waterfront. Both Vancouver and Halifax have “unique” shops and boutiques. The Lobster on the Wharf restaurant and Peake’s are not “Anne Shops”, nor are they Burger King. I think they should have the right to expand and develop the waterfront area.

Salty’s was a great addition to the Halifax waterfront, and quite a large addition. I say kudos to Mr. Larkin.

Marcus's picture
Marcus on April 26, 2004 - 17:10 Permalink

Jim has a good restaurant and lobster pound — it’s been located there for decades now and he’s been a very successful entrepreneur in developing it since the 70’s. He’s also had a bit of luck in this location with the old Texaco tank farm & rail yards being removed in the past decade and replaced by a multi-million dollar waterfront redevelopment literally at the doorstep of MacKinnons.

This whole issue goes far beyond the current controversy of waterfront development, P.E.I.’s economic development, or the structural aesthetics and sight lines along Prince Street.

My case in point:

If you go inside MacKinnon’s Lobster Pound and look down on the wall on your right-hand side beside the cash register, you’ll notice about knee-high a small drawing with a few blue waves (about 6 cm x 2 cm). This was the maximum height that the storm surge of 21 January 2000 reached in their building. You’ll find other little momentoes inside the Delta Prince Edward’s parking garage (only it will be far over your head as this is below sea level), and in various shops at Peakes Quay.

In recent months I’ve been amazed at how shortsighted the development policies of City of Charlottetown, CADC/ Capital Commission, Provincial Government, etc. have been with respect to allowing development of the coastal zone. I’ve come to the conclusion that the majority of people in these offices are mere lay-people with no scientific understanding of the issues involved with sea-level rise (SLR) and crustal subsidence in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, nor the long-term implications for property-damage in continuing to approve building structures in these areas.

I’ve read from cover to cover (500+ pages, several times now) the report which came out of the 21-Jan-2000 storm: McCulloch, M.M., Forbes, D.L., Shaw, R.W., and the CCAF A041 Scientific Team. 2002. Coastal impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on Prince Edward Island. (Forbes, D.L. and Shaw, R.W., editors). Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 4261, xxxiv + 62 p. and 11 supporting documents (1 CD-ROM).

Also, I’ve read a report from the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness (OCIPEP), an agency of DND, entitled Consequence analysis of storm surge in the Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island area. which details some of the mitigation and planning requirements that Charlottetown will need.

I’ve also read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s

marcus's picture
marcus on April 26, 2004 - 17:11 Permalink

I’ve also read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s

Libertia's picture
Libertia on April 26, 2004 - 20:39 Permalink

Rumour has it that the big red building with the heart on it is already shifting because the land there is reclaimed and quite unstable.
I was in Havana and even the Cubans have a better attitude toward waterfront development than we do (even if the water at the front is horrendously polluted). At least you can go for a nice long stroll or see the water as you drive by it.

Maybe Founders Hall could offer an interpretation of the waterfront so we wouldn’t actually have to see the real thing!

Norman's picture
Norman on May 24, 2004 - 19:01 Permalink

The problems at the waterfront all stems from the same old P.E.I. thinking. The political powers in charge are trying to build on the waters edge and leave it alone at the same time.DUH! The buddy buddy system is still in effect also. Anyway you look at it some damage to our water view has already happened and god only knows how bad it will look when those in charge mess around with it for another 10 — 20 years. Nothing stops them you know the only hope we have is that after the total destruction it will somehow be still tolerable.

William's picture
William on July 13, 2005 - 15:06 Permalink

First off… How else are you going to do a baked potato in a restaurant environment? baking it with out tinfoil dries it out and not everyone likes that either. I really don’t think you know much about the restaurant business if you think you are going to get a potato any other way. And if you live here then you should know that we can not support a high class restaurant in charlottetown. Look how well Manhatten’s did. PEI restaurants do not make enough to cator to your whims.

Secondly, it has been proven by both Environent Canada and international scientists that the flood potential on PEI is not a risk… it is a ticking clock. and no form of development or land reclaim is going to stop it when it starts. We are at sea level and we are made out of red clay and sand stone…. if the water rises the tides will corrode the island like a knife through butter.