Road to Boughton Island is public, says P.E.I. transportation minister
'I want Islanders to know that public roads aren't to be blocked off'
The province's chief surveyor has done work to confirm that the Bruce Point Road is a public road, said P.E.I.'s new minister of transportation, Steven Myers.
The road became a source of controversy after nearby property owners put up a gate this winter.
It blocked the only road access to Boughton Island, a popular destination for locals.
A group organized a petition with more than 400 signatures asking for the gate to be removed.
Before the provincial election, Myers was involved in lobbying to have the gate opened after complaints from people in his district.
Myers said it's important to reaffirm that no one has the right to block public roads on Prince Edward Island.
"What we are doing now is working to determine the exact boundaries of that road and we'll reclaim it."
In February, officials with the provincial Department of Transportation were called into investigate after complaints from some Kings County residents.
Used for hundreds of years
The island is made up of more than 120 hectares of protected natural area off of P.E.I.'s southeastern shore. People used to live on Boughton Island and at its peak it was home to five lobster canneries, with a schoolhouse and post office.
Myers said residents in the area have been using the road to access the island and the beach for years.
"I want Islanders to know that public roads aren't to be blocked off. I think that's been widely understood here for over a hundred years on Prince Edward Island. So, I don't foresee us dealing with these as regular occurrences."
Myers said the resident who installed the gate has been informed of the results of the survey work and if the property owner doesn't remove the gate, the province will take it out.
Myers said he doesn't think the province will be adding any signage to indicate the intended use for the road as it has been on P.E.I. maps for a long time.
"It's a public road."
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With files from Nancy Russell