A city resident is not happy with Summerside's proposal for a roundabout at the Pope Road and Central Street intersection.
Art Gerrard lives on the Pope Road Connector, a twisty section of street that connects Granville and Central streets.
In early August, Gerrard received a letter from the city with plans for the new intersection and an offer to buy the land it will need.
The offer was $2 per square foot for what they take from his front yard and $4 per square foot for a triangle-shaped piece of land from his lot next door. The letter said the prices were based on 2018 sales of nearby properties on Pope Road.
Gerrard, who has been wanting changes to the streets for decades, wrote back to the city on Aug. 25, to say he did not agree to the sale.
“After 30 years and they come up with a ridiculous plan like that, that’s wasting taxpayers’ money. I don’t see it.
“A straight road is what they need,” he said. “That’s what people want. They want Pope Road re-aligned.”
Gerrard has a 2010 map of the area showing an option where the Pope Road Connector is straightened out so Pope Road and Central Street cross at right angles.
“I don’t know what year it was, but whenever they started talking about re-alignment of Pope Road, they offered me $125,000 ... to put my hat on and walk off the property. My house was worth $150,000 back then.”
Gerrard said he’ll give up his property, three lots in all, for the improvements – for a fair price, which these days is assessed between $575,000 and $625,000.
“Nobody is arguing about it going straight through, and that’s the proper way to go. The city won’t pay the money,” said Gerrard. “They’re not kicking us off, progress is progress. But you gotta pay for it.”
The land prices aren’t his biggest issue with the roundabout, though.
Gerrard sees several safety issues with the plan for a roundabout, in particular that Robinson Avenue currently meets the connector on a turn and that won’t change with the new plans. Also on the turn is the entrance to a seniors’ residence
“All of the driveways here are going to be in a danger (area),” said Gerrard. “Driveways on a turn and a seniors’ unit – it’s not good.”
Coun. Barb Ramsay’s ward is one of three that meet at the intersection. She said the city hasn’t decided on plans.
“Nothing has been presented to council yet for decision,” said Ramsay. “We’ve been looking at it for a long time and we did have a study done, so now we’re just waiting to make the final plans. It’ll be nice for people to know what that is, but as of now, there’s no final plan made yet.”
Coun. Justin Doiron said council was presented with a few options for the intersection and directed the technical services department to go ahead with the roundabout.
“It will impact the people in the area the least, while greatly improving the intersection,” said Doiron.
Plans include a sidewalk through the intersection and along Pope Road all the way to the County Fair Mall, said Doiron. Additionally, residential driveways as well as Robinson Avenue will be squared off.
Aaron MacDonald, the city’s director of technical services, told The Guardian by email that the city will have a design ready to be considered with other projects for the 2021 construction season.
“The final timeframe for construction will depend on all other capital projects being considered,” he wrote.
Alison Jenkins is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government, working in Prince County.