Letters to the Editor
The Portland Press Herald
P.O. Box 66797
Falmouth, ME 04104
To The Editor:
As a summer resident of Chebeague Island for 33 years, I have
observed the gradual tightening of parking restrictions as the price of
admission through Cousins Island . It would be interesting to know how
many new houses have been built in proximity to the landing and how many
old ones bought at attractive prices, in those 33 years. The ferry has
been there forever . it would appear that the Cousins residents that
are making the most noise have not.
Bob Blanchard (as his daughter attests) started the parking lot more
to help the Chebeague people than for personal profit. Perhaps his
solicitation for his neighbors was wrong .. but he felt it was right.
His daughter, Nancy Blanchard, is the daughter of her father (as the
expression goes) and I can't help but believe that she is being
manipulated by the small group of vocals that have engendered this mess.
Although I don't know Ms. Blanchard personally, I have to believe that
she s an ambivalent bystander thrust into this situation by her
immediate neighbors. Remember, she
has to live there also, if only for part of the year.
The vitriolic tenor of the media covering this problem is
unfortunate, one-sided and misleading. The seizure by the State of the
Blanchard parking lot was the only recourse left after years of
bickering between an intractable Yarmouth and the State. As far as we
know, the Yarmouth Town Council has never been unified in its statements
to either MDOT, Cumberland or the press. Their only consistency has
been to append, "go ahead and do what needs to be done to assure access
and parking for the CTC, but let it be at your expense, but only with
our approval" to any of their communications. Their past actions
indicate that they would approve very little indeed and, in fact, would
create chaos. Commissioner Melrose had no choice but an eminent domain
seizure of the parking lot. In fact, after reading the Yarmouth Town
Council Resolution of November 18, 1999, it may be necessary for him to
exercise his powers again regarding the wharf and Wharf Road.
It must also be realized that that landing is the life-line of the
men, women and children living on Chebeague. Many of the inhabited
islands of Maine are essentially off-shore fishing villages, but
Chebeague, in addition to its fishing industry , has a well organized
community life . a library, church, hotel, a recreational center, golf
club, tennis club, yacht club, and a small but pleasant home for the
elderly of the Island.
Island children attend a central schoolhouse and older children
commute by ferry to a mainland school. The Island has well-organized
volunteer rescue and fire departments with state of the art equipment.
For a year-round populace of only 340 souls, that's pretty good.
Believe me, Chebeague Island is a microcosm of what the American
small town should be, island or no island. It saddens me to see a
neighboring island's hostile attack on her very means of access to home
and livelihood instead of standing side by side with Chebeague to solve
the problem. Whatever the State of Maine takes from Yarmouth, Yarmouth
Edward R. Rogers
18 Grandview Lane
Sharon, CT 06069