By Sally H. Reed
Regarding the Plum Creek proposal, a lot of publicity has focused on the land protection part of the plan and not enough on the resort and residential development aspect.
We have been summer residents of Greenville for over 40 years and love the area. We want to preserve it, unchallenged by the ramifications of further encroachment by those who view resort life and expanded growth as a positive force in the area. As I read the proposal, for almost every justification the developers are setting forth as being pluses for their proposal, we see devastating consequences to land, lake, natural resources, God-granted beauty of the region, to local animal life whose habitats will be destroyed in the process.
We have seen over the years many attempts to bring economic development to this region — via the restoration attempts at Mount Kineo to the efforts to expand and enlarge the ski area at renamed Moose Mountain. Several people we know have been involved in such expansion efforts and all seem to have gone by the wayside in the long run. What more gorgeous resort was there than Mount Kineo? Even that had to eventually be razed due to lack of funds and tourist trade year round. Lifestyle changes have had their impacts over time.
More important than these things will be the consequences to local water supply, septic systems, and emergency fire and police protection that will be required by the proposed increase in population.
If you have driven to Bangor lately to experience the complexities that have resulted from the building of the additional mall on Stillwater Avenue, it will give pause for thought. Increased traffic has caused great difficulty for all who live, work and traverse this street, who must enter and exit driveways to get to jobs and homes. Access and commute times to reach destinations have increased significantly. The birds, beavers and other wildlife that lived there have been annihilated, causing great consternation among conservationists and Audubon Society members. The street is filled with quadruple the number of automobiles traversing daily and eventually the street had to be widened to accommodate the increase in traffic.
On the positive side, there may have been additional jobs at the retail stores, but many were only temporary, i.e., construction. Has the economic benefit been sufficient to counterbalance the negative consequences? One has to ask at what price? We have lost the peaceful small-town atmosphere that Bangor has always maintained.
This same degradation of quality of life is happening throughout the state at an alarming rate. Maine is fast becoming a bedroom community for those exiting larger cities of the Northeast where they have been grappling with land waste disposal site problems, water and air pollution problems for the past 35 years at increasing rates looking for a more subdued lifestyle. They now are proposing to bring all the same issues here, with no real way to deal with the consequences. The consequences are landing in the laps of the local residents who are hard-pressed to find the resources and know how to contend with the ramifications.
We love our state and the values it has imbued over many years of its existence. We are watching dramatic changes to the land and natural beauty we have come, I’m afraid, to take too much for granted. Before it’s too late to reverse the damage being perpetrated currently upon these lands, I behoove all in the Moosehead region to read between the lines of the Plum Creek proposal and think solidly upon the issues and consequences which surely will evolve when two new multistory resorts and 100 new lakeside cottage lots are actually built. The aftermath will be left to the town of Greenville and the local year-round residents to rectify.
Take to heart the concerns of those who have seen such “development” proposals in the past not work out — for the very reasons alluded to — and I don’t think the Plum Creek developers are going to stick around Greenville 12 months of the year to pay for all the consequences of their proposed activity. Who is going to? The locals who have lived in the area all their lives and can’t afford to pay for even the current budget items to provide basic public services in the community as it now stands. Thought must occur before, not after the fact, as we have learned from past mistakes in the name of progress.