Tim Banks: one of P.E.I.’s most successful, and controversial, entrepreneurs

Posted on January 02, 2024 | By Desiree Anstey | 1 Comment

A proud Islander who overcame childhood adversity to become a ground-breaking entrepreneur

Tim Banks (Submitted photo)

 

Before Tim Banks turned 16, he had all the hallmarks of a rough childhood: alcoholic father… held back in school… quitting school… threatened with jail time. Belittled by other students, he repeated Grade 5 because he had undiagnosed dyslexia, now recognized as a learning disability.

“To get through school, I had to look at words and memorize them because I could not figure out their structure or morphology. But it was a unique situation because my math skills were on the other level. I was doing Grade 10 math when I couldn’t do Grade 3 reading,” reflects Banks.

Today, however, he’s one of Atlantic Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs. He’s also one of P.E.I.’s most controversial corporate catalysts for change. On social media, he fearlessly calls things out as he sees them, even accusing local politicians of being “uninformed and uninvolved” regarding the province’s housing crisis.

Banks said he has proposed many affordable downtown housing units. But he is often challenged by what he describes as “NIMBY” groups (“Not in my backyard”)—folks who label his development plans as “undesirable” because they don’t meet a certain height or heritage look for Charlottetown’s city core.

Developers are pressured to build out instead of up, he said, which causes a strain on the economy and natural resources. “When cities spread further out and build new communities, patterns of quality-of-life change with less access to opportunities and productivity.” He points to Halifax as an example worth following for its preservation of downtown architectural heritage while building up. On a larger scale, he looks to cities such as Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal where downtown density is both designed and desired.

Opposition to his development plans has often made headlines in the province. Still, Banks said he won’t be “bullied into a corner” and will continue to speak out against regulations he believes sever the relationship between government and the citizens it’s supposed to serve.

 

Blackbush Beach Resort bears a striking resemblance to Zita Cobb’s award-winning Fogo Island Inn. It’s scheduled to open later this year. (Photo courtesy Blackbush Beach Resort)

 

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One response to “Tim Banks: one of P.E.I.’s most successful, and controversial, entrepreneurs”

  1. lol, this is full of appeals to his ego and bereft of journalistic objectivity. Most would describe him as the bully, NOT the bullied. You can write about business without giving a full-throated defence of him and writing off environmentalists and other detractors with cheap stereotypes.

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