NNEPRA reports May ridership missed FY2017 target by 5%, due to loss of approximately 2,500 riders because of weekend curtailments and heat restrictions. May ridership was only 261 passengers below May of last year. FY2017 YTD ridership is 9% ahead of target. When the June numbers come in, FY2017 promises to be a very successful year.
Wayne Davis Provides the 'Real Story' Behind the Brunswick West 'BLF Open House' Complaints
When Consigli Construction Company offered a public tour of the Brunswick Layover Facility last week, one Brunswick West attendee threw a fit and left...and that's just the beginning of the story. The 'rest of the story' is from Chairman Wayne Davis, who was one of the invited guests. Here is his letter to the Times Record.
"TrainRiders/Northeast has, with mounting exasperation, read diatribes (many of them based on inaccurate assumptions and information) in this newspaper against the Brunswick Layover Facility and passenger rail in general. More recently (Private MLF Meeting Hijacked, 12/17/2015), these spurious attacks started to target TrainRiders itself. In that letter, Sandy Buckles indicates that she organized a tour of the layover site with Consigli Construction and intended it to be a private event attended only by certain select neighbors, and not by the public in general. If so, this was not communicated to others. Apparently, one of the initial invitees was a town councilor. That councilor announced the date, place and time of the tour at a Town Council meeting attended by the press and many members of the general public without indicating that it was private in any way, shape or form. Additionally, on 12/9/2015, we received an email from Consigli inviting us to attend the tour. Attached to that email was one which Consigli had sent to the neighbors a week earlier in which its Director of Operations said, "We know we will have others attending already so this is just meant to ensure that we have as many people in attendance who are immediate neighbors," indicating that the tour was for more than just immediate neighbors of the site.
Several members of TrainRiders as well as members of All Aboard Brunswick appeared for the tour on the morning of 12/12/2015 hoping for an informative meeting but only to first be faced with Ms. Buckles who firmly and insistently demanded the departure of all persons who were not immediate neighbors of the site. This was the first time that any of us had been informed that the tour had ever been intended as a private event. When we refused to leave, Ms. Buckles stormed off the site and did not participate in the tour. This was unfortunate because Consigli had gone out of their way to provide 4-5 staff members who explained what they were doing at the site and accompanied the tour to answer questions, in a successful effort to make the construction process transparent.
Ms. Buckles, who has attended many of the meetings and hearing which have dealt with the layover facility, certainly knows that its construction is a matter of substantial public interest. Clearly, many members of the public honestly view the project in a completely different light than she does. Such a difference in views, however, does not mean that her opponents plotted to hijack the tour, particularly since none of us knew that it was anything other than a public event. In fact, it proved to be an extremely informative and effective outreach by Consigli to keep the public, including those neighbors who did not leave with Ms. Buckles, up-to-date as to what is happening at the site, something Ms. Buckles would know if she could bring herself to rub elbows with those who do not agree with her. In doing this in a safe manner on an active construction site, Consigli has gone above and beyond what anyone, including Ms. Buckles, could expect."
Video of the Brunswick Layover Facility
What did the Brunswick Layover Facility look like as 2015 was drawinig to a close? Inquiring minds wanted to know. Since the 'public tour' was now history, the next best way to view the progress-to-date was from the air. Consigli and NNEPRA gave Maine HDTV approval to fly over the yard. The flight was coordinated with the Brunswick Executive Airport and the Brunswick Police Department. You'll be impressed with the work to date.
What better way to end 2015 than to celebrate the end of the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition's regulatory and legal opposition to the Brunswick Layover Facility. Congratulations to NNEPRA for their perseverance - Happy New Year!