We feel obliged to respond to the column “North End Road Paving” that appeared in the 1 March 2016 ‘Abaconian’ because it completely misrepresents the facts concerning the proposed improvements to the North End road in Hope Town.
As is often the case when a new project is proposed, a strident minority in opposition dominates public meetings and attracts the most media attention. That is the situation here. Ironically, much of this opposition comes from people who do not live on the North End and who use the road only for recreation. The reality is that there are 47 homes at the end of Elbow Cay north of the boat basin whose owners and renters must drive on this road. This is also true for emergency responders and the local business people who service these homes.
After the Government’s proposal became public, a survey was conducted of those who live up here. This survey found that 79% are strongly in favor of permanently repairing the road. All but one of the business people whose vehicles are being damaged by the road are in favor of a permanent repair. Some now levy a surcharge for coming to the North End. Ninety- nine persons responding to a survey circulated to the entire island in 2013 wrote in favor of fixing the road. Many took time to cite specific examples of problems they had encountered, including one broken ankle, one case of broken ribs, and numerous bike and golf cart accidents, broken wheels and punctured tires.
Thus, this is not “the one lane road . . . lightly traveled . . . with a slow-paced charm with hedges, flowers and trees” as described – fancifully we think – in the ‘Abaconian’ article. In fact, the road is a mess of pot holes, jagged rocks, and deep puddles running a mile through mostly scraggily underbrush, and it is in constant use. While it may be romantic to yearn for the old days when there were few homes north of town and folks carried their groceries up from Vernon’s in wheelbarrows, times have changed. Because of the condition of the road many of us go less frequently to the restaurants or events in town, renters have asked to be moved out of North End properties, and real estate agents have lost sales.
Residents who live north of the settlement contribute a significant amount of money to the community in property taxes and VAT and need a road to drive on safely.
We don’t necessarily advocate that the road be paved with asphalt; any permanent solution would be welcomed. We trust that the Town Council and Central Government will have the wisdom to assure that the needs of the majority who depend upon this road are met and will not be misled by the small vocal minority that received so much attention from the ‘Abaconian.’
-Linda and Doug Behrendt, Peggy Brawley, Beth and Tim Cook, Ann and Paul Gooding , Davis Guthrie, Ruth and Tom Harkin, Margy and Doug Hyde, Joan and Rocky Keith, Janet and Bob Knaus, Susan Maxman and Rolf Sauer, Sunny and Don Meinhold, Jan and Eddie Metcalf, Jill and Chris Prewitt, Nancy Wessel.