The good citizens of Mount Pleasant are in a quandary over a proposed change to the highway pattern in and around their community. Specifically transportation planners have hatched a plan to build a by- pass around Mount Pleasant. Conversations are underway to discuss the proposal and seek input. A model of the new configuration is in the foyer of City Hall. This adds to the citizen engagement piece.
Emotions are running high for good reason. A transportation reorganization of this magnitude will change lives.
The issue of highways by- passing communities is not new or diminishing; a direct result of economic development. A famous example is Route 128, constructed around the greater Boston area in the 1960s. One unexpected result was the relocation of enterprises along the route, many of which were founded by scientists and entrepreneurs from Harvard and MIT.
Mount Pleasant has no immunity to the outcomes of the proposed changes. Citizens throughout are voicing real concern with letters to the editor, social media and a string of forums. For example owners of the Tours Sur Les Bonbon, Celine and Rene Langlois are very worried about the decline of tourist traffic past their specialty candy store and the resulting threat to business.
For three generations the Albert’s have operated a large automotive service centre facility on the main artery through Mount Pleasant. Rita Albert is certain the change will be the beginning of the end. On the outskirts the owners of the Evergreen Motel fear the same outcome as do Pat and Sean O’Brien. They own the Grow All Garden Centre at the intersection of regional highway 228 and the main highway.
Locating the new road generates an equal amount of controversy. New land has to be acquired from the agricultural inventory. A largely pastoral setting will be changed forever. Rural residences will lose some quality of life and perhaps be displaced. And of course the whole process is very expensive.
Impact studies are underway. The findings will be published in a future edition of the Observer.