The mayors of Amherst and Cumberland County are asking Premier Stephen MacNeil to stop the permanent closure of Highway 104’s Exit 1A, a move they say is having a serious negative impact on businesses along Highway 2/Laplanche Street and downtown Amherst.
The request was contained in a letter sent to the premier on Dec. 16. 2020.
In it the mayors say they understand the need to have a COVID-19 checkpoint at the border in order to monitor traffic entering Nova Scotia from New Brunswick, and note the initial checkpoint was conducted on the incoming weigh scales, where motorists had the opportunity to head back onto the Trans-Canada Highway or take Route 2/Laplanche Street into the town of Amherst.
However, the mayors say the province’s recent decision to move the checkpoint directly onto Highway 104 from its previous location at the incoming weigh scales has left them frustrated.
They said they are frustrated because they offered the department a solution that would have seen Exit 1A reopened and the checkpoint established at the site of a former tourist bureau located on Highway 2 in Fort Lawrence.
Using that site would not only be safe, the mayors said, but would allow motorists to choose if they wish to continue on the Highway 104 or travel along Highway 2/Laplanche Street into downtown Amherst.
“We heard indirectly through our MLA that our idea has been rejected and the exit will unfortunately remain closed,” the mayors wrote the premier. “Obviously, we are unhappy with this decision but we're also disappointed that we were not informed by the decision makers and given an explanation of the rationale for the decision.”
“We bring this to your attention, one, to express our displeasure on how this whole border checkpoint issue played out and, two, we are hopeful that it is not too late to request another look at this issue to see if there might be a change of heart … that includes a reopening of Exit 1A into Amherst.”
To read the letter, click on the link: 20201216 Mayors Premier MacNeil