'Muddy and rutty' Prince County road causing local businesses problems

A business owner in Fernwood, P.E.I., says a bad road is costing her business.

Carrie Caunce runs the Briarcliffe Inn, a bed and breakfast on Salutation Cove Road. She said when the clay road gets wet, it becomes what she describes as a mud pit.

Caunce has owned the inn for the last five years and said she would like to operate it year-round, but the road has made that difficult. 

"We don't always like to have people come and stay with us if they have to struggle getting to our location," she said.

Caunce said she often hears from guests about the road. 

It's got big holes in it and it's muddy and rutty. — Ranald MacFarlane, business owner

"When they … come up the road, the road is always the first thing that they mention in terms of 'Oh you know my cousin will never get up this road, she drives a Mini. Or gee we're going to need a truck, or can we park at the bottom of the road and you come and pick us up?'" she said.

"So it just seems to have gotten worse in the five years since we've been here."

'Hard on our vehicles'

Caunce isn't the only business owner having issues.

Ranald MacFarlane owns a dairy farm on the road and said his son's school bus driver sometimes refuses to come down the road because of the conditions. 

"It's got big holes in it and it's muddy and rutty. You have to go slow and it's hard on our vehicles," he said.

Isabella Zavarise/CBC

MacFarlane said delivery trucks also struggle to navigate it.

"My tanker guy does not like the road. He has to come in the first gear. When the road is muddy it gets very puddled, it's very rutty, it's an aggravation and those tankers can't take a lot of abuse," he said.

"He's going to bust a spring, he's going to bust an airbag on the tankers or something."

Salutation Cove Road is gravelled a few times a year, but MacFarlane and Caunce would like to see the province do more regular maintenance.

Ranald MacFarlane

Caunce said they're not asking for it to be paved, just for it to be made more suitable to drive on. 

"I know that there's a lot of other roads similar to ours, but for whatever reason they don't seem to be quite as bad as this one," she said. 

"I think it just needs to be recognized that it would be nice to have the businesses that are local and rural — supported."

The province did not respond to requests for comment before publication Friday.

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