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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Confederation Bridge too far, say Prince Edward Islanders
7 August 1998
Financial Times


Source : http://www.pbase.com/senglot

New link will bring the world and its money and maybe all its perils to a small Canadian community, reports Scott Morrison.

For years, Prince Edward Island has been known for its red beaches, its potato farms and - particularly among Japanese tourists - as the home of the literary character Anne of Green Gables.

Lately, though, visitors have also been drawn to the tiny province by Confederation Bridge, an imposing yet graceful 8-mile span linking the island to the mainland.

The opening of the C$1bn ($680m) bridge last spring has become a milestone of sorts for the island, an occasion only slightly less momentous than the province's union with Canada in 1873. But the bridge has also been the source of much controversy in the island. Supporters emphasise its importance to the province's economic future, while opponents argue it puts the island's cultural fabric at risk.

Most residents are ambivalent about "the link", both hopeful that the bridge will improve their lives, and wary about what the future could bring.

John Hopkins, a local film-maker, says the bridge should bolster the economy, but complains that the island has been overrun by thousands of motorists who clog the narrow roads.

"We are now proud owners of the world's largest drive-through," he says.

Provincial leaders and business groups say the bridge will play a key role in transforming the island's economy by further integrating it with markets in the US and the rest of Canada. Wes MacAleer, the province's former minister for economic development and tourism, believes improved transport links will draw new businesses to the 2,200 sq m island.

The province already boasts a nascent aerospace industry and officials hope companies looking to set up call centres will be drawn by the island's fibre optic network. Agricultural producers, once dependent on a fleet of slow ferries, can now quickly move their goods across the Northumberland Strait to more distant markets, on which the island's future is increasingly dependent.

The bridge has had an immediate impact on tourism, the second largest component of the province's C$2.7bn economy. Last year, more than 1.2m people visited the island of 135,000 residents, a 30% rise from the previous year.

Revenues jumped even higher: local officials say tourists and visitors pumped C$263m into the local economy, a 63% increase over the year before.

The province and local businessmen have invested C$7m to build Gateway Village, a shopping centre in the south of the island, while new restaurants and other tourist sites have opened to serve the new visitors. Three new golf courses are also on the way, adding to the 15 already in operation.

Mr MacAleer says his island needs additional investment to develop more theatres and restaurants as well as expanding its eco-tourism infrastructure.

While overall retail sales rose 8% last year, Raegh Ellis, a director at Charlottetown's chamber of commerce, says some retailers have lost sales to larger outlet stores in New Brunswick. He argues, however, that local stores are learning to become more competitive.

"We're one of the 'have not' provinces and anything that will help us carry our own weight is great."

But there is an edge to the new tourist wave that some islanders do not like. Worries about the bridge prompted a 40% vote against the project in a provincial plebiscite a decade ago. Sceptics argue that many of the visitors last year drove over for the day from Canada's Atlantic provinces. and could eventually frighten away long-term vacationers seeking the peace and quiet for which the island is famous. Mr Hopkins says the province is at risk of becoming another Coney Island, the gaudy New York beach and amusement park.

Other residents have worried that the bridge will bring criminal activity to an island so peaceful that its only drug-related shooting was accidentally self-inflicted.

A further fear is that new investment on the island could squeeze out farmers and drive up real estate prices.

The worst predictions have so far failed to come true. For many residents, the main difference from the days before the bridge was built is that they can now drive to malls in New Brunswick for a quick shopping trip. Islanders can also now dine with friends and relatives across the strait, an unthinkable feat when they had to wait hours to board a ferry. Others even cross the bridge to stock up on canned beer, which is prohibited in the island because of recycling laws.

Indeed, for all the complaints, the bridge is hardly likely to be dismantled. As a result, most islanders are beginning to overcome their doubts about the structure and to take advantage, little by little, of the conveniences it provides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Why are you posting an 11 year old article?
It's a very important bridge, and I intend to keep bringing more recent news and photos about it, and hope it'll spur discussions.

As the bridge has been open for some time, I need to bring a reasonably detailed intro article about this bridge. Hence, I had to dig quite deep into the archives to find such a piece.
 

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Well, I have always loved this bridge, masterful engineering, elegant design, and superb location. Go to the official website and look at their web-cam, its amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Positive early signs for tourism industry in Prince Edward Island
28 June 2009
The Canadian Press

CHARLOTTETOWN _ Prince Edward Island's tourism could be in line for a banner season despite a global economic recession that has put a storm cloud over the industry across Canada.

The latest figures suggest traffic on the Confederation Bridge is up eight per cent, the number of passengers using the Charlottetown Airport is up five per cent, and bookings at Island golf courses is up 13 per cent.

The number of people picking the Island as a convention destination has ballooned by 54 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Island is playing host to 10,000 athletes, coaches, spectators and volunteers during the Canada Games in August.

The province's tourism minister, Valerie Docherty, says inquiries are up significantly in Quebec, with the number of hits on the Island's French language web site up 165 per cent.

Docherty says she's cautiously optimistic, but says the ultimate success of the upcoming season might come down to the weather.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Only post bridges that are proposed or currently under construction

Thanks
This is not a construction and developments section.
 
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