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Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
December 9, 2009

The following statement was given in the House of Assembly by the Honourable John Hickey, Minister of Labrador Affairs.

Labrador Transportation Grooming Subsidy
Providing Vital Links to Isolated Communities

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to update my Honourable colleagues on the current status of the Labrador Transportation Grooming Subsidy.

This subsidy helps to provide the necessary transportation links in winter months to isolated communities on the north and south coasts of Labrador that have no access to the Trans Labrador Highway.

Mr. Speaker, maintaining and enhancing the groomed snowmobile trails connecting isolated communities is a firm commitment made under our Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador. We have made significant improvements this past year and we are continuing to make changes to the program to better suit the needs of the people who use the trails.

I am pleased to report to this Honourable House that the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs has once again hired a trail inspector for the coming winter trail season. This position ensures a safer, more reliable winter trail system for people living in isolated communities. As well, this past year, we have delivered two new snowmobile trail groomers, one for Postville and another for Rigolet.

Mr. Speaker, the travelling distance between some of these isolated communities is considerable and the terrain can be challenging. To further ensure the safety of trail groomer operators, we have installed a more reliable satellite phone system in every groomer. As well, we are now investigating a GPS tracking system, where each groomer location is tracked in real time. This would also be of benefit to the travelling public as they can be informed in a timely manner on when the trails are being groomed.

Mr. Speaker, In Budget 2009, the Williams Government allocated a total of $390,000 for the 2009-10 winter snowmobile trail season. I am pleased to report to my Honourable colleagues that through the Northern Strategic Plan for Labrador, the Provincial Government has allocated another $100,000 for trail upgrades. Some of these initiatives include:

  • the purchase of tracking equipment and software;
  • trail re-routing; and,
  • increased signage.

Mr. Speaker, since assuming responsibility for administration of this subsidy at the commencement of last year�s trail season, I am pleased to report that the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs has put a great deal of effort into fostering positive relationships with associated communities and development associations. We will continue to nurture these relationships as we work to enhance this vital transportation network for Labrador�s remote and isolated communities.

2009 12 09                                                 2:25 p.m.

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