(this letter to the editor appeared in the Portland Press Herald, November 12, 1999)
I wish to commend publicly the strong leadership of Commissioner John Melrose in the Maine Department of Transportation's use of eminent domain in the matter of the Blanchard parking lot on Cousins Island, making secure access to the rest of the state's highway system for the Chebeague Island public as well as workers traveling to the island from the mainland.
Viability of island communities along the coast depends on preventing any municipality from blocking access from any other.
I regret the media's implications that the Cousins Island dock was forced on an unsuspecting neighborhood by the Chebeague Transportation Company when a dock has been at that site for some 100 years.
I also regret that Commissioner Melrose and the Department of Transportation have been accusesd of favoring the "profits" of a private business over individual property owners when, in fact the Chebeague Transportation Co. is owned by stockholders, many of whom are Chebeague residents, and is expected to generate not "profit" but only enough income to sustain itself in providing safe, economical, reliable service for Chebeague.
That Commissioner Melrose and the Maine Department of Transportation, in the face of this false accusation, have taken the first step in maintaining through-access for the people of Chebeague is even more admirable.
I am confident that the commissioner will continue his good work in the matter of access to the wharf and Wharf Road.
Well done, Commissioner Melrose!
Jean L. Dyer