A new neighbourhood that could someday host thousands of new homes is in the works for Summerside, P.E.I.
The official plan for a re-imagined east-west housing corridor, formerly called the east-west connector, was presented to city councillors Tuesday night.
Promoters called it a growth- and development-focused project, opening 140 hectares of land with the potential of 2,000-plus new housing units to follow.
It would also improve traffic flow, augment the city's active transportation network, and enhance the delivery of emergency services, said Mayor Dan Kutcher.
"We're not road building; we're city building," he told the council meeting.
For more than two decades, people have been talking about the potential of a new east-west road to connect the eastern portion of the city and Summerside's commercial district. Better traffic flow was the big motivator at first.
However, Summerside is now in the midst of an unprecedented growth spurt that has brought a significant demand for new housing. The old east-west corridor idea took on a new role as a source of newly accessible building lots.
Summerside is about to begin issuing tenders for construction of phase one of the project, with the first 1.6 kilometres of roadway beginning on Water Street East and heading northward, with a short connection eastward to a subdivision.
The thoroughfare will then turn toward the west and eventually reach Rotary Park and continue up to Ryan Street.
'We're not road building; we're city building,' Summerside Mayor Dan Kutcher told his fellow members of council this week. (Laura Meader/CBC)
Work on the road project is set to begin later this fall and be completed in late fall of 2024.
"The overall vision is the creation of essentially a new neighbourhood and a corridor in our community," Kutcher said.
"I think if you just look around the city right now, you get a really good idea of how much need there is from a housing perspective — and how much interest there is from a development perspective."