Who is watching out for Marquette’s interests?

The city commission of the city of Marquette has long known that the Eagle Mine owners wanted to haul ore from the mine to Marquette County Road 550 and Sugar Loaf to Wright Street and west through Marquette Township to U.S 41 and west to Humboldt for processing.

I wrote the commissioners and the city manager on Oct. 3, hopefully making them well aware of the potential problems to city residents. I also urged them to protect residents from heavy truck traffic by banning trucks, mining or logging, from using city streets for a shortcut. The city has been very protective of new condos on Lakeshore Boulevard, north with a 5-ton weight limit.

It is telling that “rich richies” are under the protection of our commissioners but not residents of Sugar Loaf, Wright Street, and other streets within Marquette. McClellan Avenue is next.

Had the commission enough concern for the inconvenience of 100-plus mining trucks entering Wright Street and U.S. 41, a now very busy corridor fronting Super One, Walmart, Building Supply, Gordon Food Service, Lowes, Smith Construction, Menards, Gander Mountain, North Star Academy and others, they would adopt the ordinance that they had ready for adoption some months ago.

This corridor will soon be a funnel for traffic to a new theater, recreational complex and a proposed water slide-type facility along with a hotel. A quart of mud will not fit into a pint bottle. All of this added traffic will not fit in U.S. 41 and very few access roads to the area.

An agreement with Lundin Mining is only good if it protects the least of us, not the most of us.

My position is that any large truck not delivering its cargo within Marquette or generating cargo within our city cannot and should not use Marquette city streets as a shortcut to U.S. 41. Lundin has the need, the potential profits and the ability to pay for a direct route to Humbolt long ago.

The probability is that the so-called temporary route announced to travel Marquette streets will not be temporary. Statements are, the mine is also temporary. If so, is Lundin going to be disposed to build a new route when they are only mining for a few years?

There is no new money in the hands of our city or the affected townships with which to build a bypass road, even if identified as to location. Therefore, Marquette and part of Marquette Township are the stuckees.

Strange that our city adopted an ordinance that forbade Blondeau Trucking from hauling on Marquette streets. Two subsequent court cases upheld the city position. Why not for logging trucks or mining trucks?

It sounds like three commissioners had a cozy tete-a-tete with Lundin but forgot who they were representing. They owed allegiance to Marquette citizens.

I urge residents of Sugar Loaf, Wright Street and McClellan Avenue to join me in protest to our commission. McClellan more than likely will be a designated a truck route at a later time.

Some six to eight months ago, I met with Commissioner Michael Coyne about this problem. He assured me that mining trucks would not travel Marquette city streets. I later talked to Commissioner Fred Stonehouse and he also reassured me that mining trucks would not travel Marquette Streets. So much for their steadfast consideration of Marquette residents’ concerns.

There is much more could be said about this trucking and now we have the location, the contested tax payments and the potentially much higher costs of services at DukeLifepoint-owned hospital as time goes on. Will the new committee protect Marquette’s interests? I doubt that they will.

Finally, why do four commissioners opt out of participating in these discussions? Their vote is equal to the three committee members, no matter how senior.

Seeking land as announced and abandoning the current hospital is a bad choice. What happens to the hospital we have? Landfilling it in is preposterous and bad for the landfill. The relatively old portion of the hospital can be torn down and additions plus the relatively new portion can be joined. The city has agreed long ago that MGH could go south to Park Street and west to Seventh Street.

We, people of Marquette, at one time had two hospitals and now we may have none.

Who now is standing up for the city of Marquette as the best location for the Duke LifePoint hospital?

Editor’s note: Don Potvin is a former member of the Marquette City Commission and Marquette County Board of Commissioners.