As board members of the Margaree Area Development Association (MADA), we are writing to you in regard to the deplorable state of the highway that runs through Middle River, Victoria County. It is a constant topic of conversation for those who travel this road and we feel it is important that you hear firsthand from those who deal with its present and ongoing state of disrepair.
This matter was discussed at our recent MADA meeting and we felt it incumbent to bring to your attention the significant time it is taking to get this section of highway repaired and the toll it takes on people and vehicles as they drive through the area. For residents from the Margarees north, this is the main route of travel to Sydney for medical appointments, business, and shopping. In addition, commercial trucks use this route daily as the transport link to northern Inverness County – and to the west side of the island generally.
While we recognize that many highways in the province take a beating each winter and that potholes and torn pavement are an unfortunate reality, we feel that it is important to point out that this highway is not some backwoods road in rural Cape Breton. This highway is part of the world famous, much-promoted Cabot Trail – and a destination we invite our tourists to come and enjoy in all its magnificence! While the photos in tourism brochures often capture the coastal grandeur of mountains and shoreline, Middle River is part of the Cabot Trail circular route that tourists travel each summer and fall – bringing pride to our province and revenue to our coffers.
What motorists are presently experiencing as they drive this section of the trail is not a world-class highway – simply put, it is an embarrassment. Indeed, while driving on this section can be a hazard to vehicle and passengers, anyone on a motorcycle or a bicycle is placed in significant danger. Those towing recreational vehicles, and there are many who do, have been known to turn around when they encounter the road conditions on this part of the Cabot Trail. In fact, residents who can afford the time and added expense are travelling Route 395 through Lake Ainslie to then head for Sydney, simply to avoid the wear and tear on their vehicles.
Again, we are talking about the Cabot Trail here – an iconic piece of highway infrastructure that needs to be given the priority it merits as one of Nova Scotia’s top tourist experiences. In discussion with the local engineer, we do know that he has to work within a budget but surely there are discretionary funds available for a project as important as this!
We invite you to travel, as we do, through Middle River this spring. We guarantee that you will agree with this assessment that the highway work must move quickly to deal with issues of safety, comfort and convenience for those who live here year round – and for those who will be arriving shortly to travel our roads as visitors.
For Nova Scotia, the Cabot Trail earns us high praise. We want assurance that our government will make this area a top priority for road work this year.
Eileen Coady, Bernadette MacLeod, Maria Coady,
Sharon Burchell, John Stinson, Mary MacNeil, Janet Gillis,
Bruce Miller, Oisin Curran, Eddie Phillips, Erica Jacquard