LAUNCHING, P.E.I. - A controversial gate blocking access on the road to Boughton Island has been opened – but passage is still hampered.
A property owner caused outrage by installing a locked gate in February.
Launching resident Scott MacNeill rallied the troops through social media and organized a petition with other local residents in support of re-opening the road. Close to 500 signatures were gathered in under two weeks.
Transportation officials were able to convince the family that owns the property to open the gate.
A spokeswoman informed The Guardian that the transportation department is in talks with the property owner, and other users of the road and hope to do some additional surveying work in early May to confirm boundaries of the properties in the area.
MacNeill believes the property owner was reluctant to open the gate, and he is not optimistic about the gate remaining open.
“Obviously, they’re just biding time until they close it again … there won’t be the same uproar from the public,’’ he said.
“The landlord did open the gate after some public pressure but just to shut us up.’’
To assure permanent access, MacNeil says the ultimate goal is to have the government expropriate the road if it has to.
It is not possible to drive past the gate to the beach because of alterations the owners made to the road with rocks and top soil to stop people from driving down, said MacNeil.
Out of the uproar over the gate first being installed, the Boughton Island Historical Society has been established to promote the history of the island, where more than 100 people once lived.
“I didn’t realize how important it was until I started doing this … It’s a really important part of the community,’’ said MacNeil.
Efforts The Guardian made to reach the property owners have not yet been returned.