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P.E.I. government says controversial gate blocks public road to Boughton Island

Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers said he expects a property owner to remove a fence she erected in November, allowing free access along Bruce Point Road to the beach and Boughton Island.
Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers said he expects a property owner to remove a fence she erected in November, allowing free access along Bruce Point Road to the beach and Boughton Island. - Jim Day
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The province has told a property owner she cannot use a fence to block the public’s access to a beach and to Boughton Island.

“Well, it’s a public road,’’ said Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers.

“She has to accept that. There’s no other option. We own the road as we always have.’’

Myers said his department’s chief surveyor did the work to confirm that the Bruce Point Road is, and always has been, a public road.

He said he expects the owner, who is an American citizen, to remove the fence.

“We haven’t given any order to remove the fence, but if such a time comes that we have to, then we will,’’ said Myers.

When the gate was erected in November, Launching resident Scott MacNeill used a Facebook posting to make people aware of what had happened.

As previously stated the gate on Bruce Point Road remains open for the public, thanks to everyone's help sharing the...

Posted by Scott MacNeill on Friday, March 15, 2019

Reaction was swift. Residents were livid.

MacNeill organized a petition that drew hundreds of signatures in support of re-opening the road.

He said the minister’s declaration Wednesday that Bruce Point Road is a public road is great news to the community.

“At the end of the day, it was just about gaining access to the road that has been used for 150 years,’’ said MacNeill.

Scott MacNeill.
Scott MacNeill.

The controversial gate had been opened recently, but passage was still hampered.

MacNeill has noted the property owner had made the road largely impassable by vehicles even with the gate open by placing rocks and top soil along the road.

Myers said work is being done to determine the exact boundaries of the road, and the province will reclaim it.

He said improvements will be made to the road.

“I want Islanders to know that public roads aren’t to be blocked off,’’ he said.

“I think that’s been widely understood for over a hundred years on Prince Edward Island. So, I don’t see us dealing with this as a regular occurrence.’’

Out of the uproar over the gate first being installed, the Boughton Island Historical Society was established to promote the history of the island, where more than 100 people once lived.

“Residents were upset,’’ said Myers.

“People have used it for hundreds of years there to access the beach, Boughton Island, clam digging, all sorts of things.’’

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