March 22, 2002
(Works, Services and Transportation)
(Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs)
Changes to Labrador transportation services announced
Major changes are on the way for transportation services along the Labrador coast. Ernest McLean, Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, and Percy Barrett, Minister of Works, Services and Transportation, made the announcement today in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in conjunction with Cartwright L�Anse au Clair MHA Yvonne Jones and Torngat Mountains MHA Wally Andersen.
"The completion of the Trans Labrador Highway from Red Bay to Cartwright in the fall of 2002 will forever change the way we do business along the coast of Labrador," said Minister McLean. "To reflect government�s policy of providing marine service only to communities that are not connected by road, we have decided to reconfigure the Labrador coastal marine service, beginning in the 2003 season."
Under the reconfiguration, the southernmost marine terminal will move from Lewisporte, on the island of Newfoundland, to Cartwright. Three vessels will be used to operate the service, as per the following:
"The three-vessel service will enhance transportation for individuals and businesses along the coast of Labrador," said Minister Barrett. "The users of these ferries are going to be very pleased with the level of service they will receive next year and beyond."
The department will invest $2.2 million in wharf and terminal upgrades, greatly improving shore-based marine infrastructure. The improvements are as follows:
Once the changes are implemented, Port Hope Simpson will become the site of a regional airport. Government will monitor transportation patterns to and from the airport and after an appropriate period of time, assess the requirement for changes and/or upgrades to the airport to reflect traffic needs.
A significant amount of road work will be carried out in Labrador this year. As announced in the provincial budget, $17 million will be spent on the continued construction of the Trans Labrador Highway to complete Phase II, from Red Bay to Cartwright.
Government will also commit $3 million to begin constructing a road connecting Pinsent�s Arm to the Trans Labrador Highway. When the project is completed, residents of Pinsent�s Arm will be able to access other communities in the area and, for the first time, will be able to welcome visitors into their community via a highway. Construction of this road will begin this summer and is expected to take two years.
Minister Barrett said there will be a number of other roads projects occurring in Labrador this year. Government will spend $300,000 to finish upgrading roads in Rigolet and $500,000 for the continued resurfacing of North West River Road. Another $1.8 million will be spent to improve roads in the southern Labrador communities of Port Hope Simpson and Cartwright, and to finish upgrading roads in Charlottetown and Mary�s Harbour.
Minister Barrett said his department will soon start the design work for the construction of a two-lane steel bridge for the community of Mary�s Harbour. The minister also made the commitment to apply new crushed material on about 25 kilometres of road between Ashuanipi and Esker Junction.
As well, the province has committed $394,000 in new funding for winter maintenance on the newly opened sections of the Trans Labrador Highway between Port Hope Simpson and Cartwright. Total expenditure on summer and winter maintenance on Routes 500 and 510 will be $4.5 million. Government has also committed an additional $100,000 in 2002-2003 for snowmobile trail grants for Labrador. A $45,000 grant will be provided to both Rigolet and Postville from 2001-2002 funding.
Government will provide funding for two graders to be shared among five communities along the north coast. The municipal councils for the communities of Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet will share the responsibility for maintaining the equipment and transporting the necessary materials for grading the roads.
"The changes and upgrades government is planning reflect the importance of having an integrated transportation system in Labrador," said Minister Barrett. "Transportation in Labrador will be designed so that, where possible, marine, air and highway routes will complement each other."
Many of the changes were recommended by the Southern Labrador and North Coast transportation committees, which presented their reports to government in April 2001 and December 2001 respectively.
"The transportation committees have been instrumental in assisting government determine the appropriate transportation needs for Labrador," said Minister McLean. "They should be commended for their hard work."
Mr. Andersen said he welcomes the changes. "Through public consultations, the people of the north coast provided a number of recommendations on the type of service necessary to adequately serve northern communities," he said. "I am pleased that government has acted on some of these recommendations, and I am confident the new service will be of great benefit to the north coast."
Ms. Jones said the changes in transportation present new opportunities to communities in Southern Labrador. "The Southern Labrador Transportation Committee has not had an easy task in providing recommendations for transportation changes," said Ms. Jones. "People on the coast have known for some time that the pattern for marine services would change and that a regional airport would be established once the highway is completed to Cartwright. Government is committed to ensuring that those communities not connected by road will have a more efficient and effective marine service."
The transportation changes that have occurred, and are still occurring along the coast, have been positive for the local economy and allow for industry growth and development, Ms. Jones added.
Beginning the 2003-2004 season, Labrador will be serviced by four vessels. Details are as follows:
Wharf and terminal upgrades planned for 2002-2003:
2002 03 22 10:10 a.m.