Dumaresque wants a tunnel to Labrador, will renegotiate Terms of Union to get it

James
James McLeod
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Liberal leadership hopeful says ditching ferry is best cost-effective means

Danny Dumaresque. — Telegram file photo

Liberal leadership contender Danny Dumaresque wants a tunnel from Newfoundland to Labrador, and he’s willing to renegotiate the Terms of Union with Canada to get it.

Dumaresque was campaigning on the Northern Peninsula Thursday when he spoke to The Telegram by phone and talked about the idea, which he said people in the area are thrilled about.

“Everybody in this region of Newfoundland and southern Labrador are very excited by it. They always thought it was the right thing to do, and you know, they always wondered why it wasn’t being done,” he said.

“This would bring Newfoundland and Labrador to Canada like we’ve never been before, and that cannot do anything but help in my opinion.”

The idea would be to trade away Marine Atlantic service between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in exchange for funding from Ottawa for the tunnel and upgrades to the highway.

“It would be a 20-minute-crossing, and when you get there, there will be paved highways right through to Quebec City,” Dumaresque said. “Right now there’s 2,360 kilometres that it would take from St. John’s to go to Quebec City by coming up and going through the tunnel, and the direct distance going to Quebec City by Port aux Basques would be 2,320 kilometres — so only 40 kilometres in the difference.”

Dumaresque said because the federal government pays $125 million annually in operating subsidy for Marine Atlantic, it would be willing to talk about negotiating to get rid of it.

“I would be prepared to negotiate away Marine Atlantic because I don’t believe it’s sensible for us as a modern economy to think about developing a province and a provincial economy by depending forever on a maritime link, especially one that’s seven hours in duration,” he said.

As for price, Dumaresque said it would be cheaper than a different tunnel in Norway covering a 20-kilometre stretch.

“The most recent tunnel, under thousands of feet of water in Norway, was commissioned last year, and will be completed in five years time for less than a billion dollars,” he said.

“So you know, here we have anywhere from 17-18 kilometres going under 300 feet of water, so it’s only fair to conclude that it would only be costing in the order of $800 million.”

Liberal MHA Andrew Parsons, who represents Port aux Basques and the southwest coast of the province, definitely didn’t like the idea of getting rid of Marine Atlantic. He said locally, people understand that Marine Atlantic is the “hub” for the entire region.

“What I would say is that’s quite a big proposition that Mr. Dumaresque is putting forward. Certainly I understand the importance of the fixed-link concept between Newfoundland and Labrador, and having been up there during a campaign, I see the issues that they’re dealing with.,” he said.

“However, getting rid of Marine Atlantic is obviously something that I’m not willing to discuss.”

Parsons is supporting Dwight Ball in the leadership campaign.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, Quebec City Port aux Basques Southern Labrador Nova Scotia Norway Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • Con O'Brien
    September 03, 2013 - 09:33

    I don't think that fully replacing the gulf ferry is an option, it would stretch our traditional route to Maritime & US markets for manufactured goods, especially fresh fish products, adding extra cost. The tunnel idea is a very good idea if the cost is in reason for sure! Too bad we have wasted so much on the ill fated Muskrat Falls to date. We could have constructed the LEGACY TUNNEL and enjoyed the benefits of a fixed link to the rest of North America with the money we are wasting on the damned dam! Danny D has displayed a kind of vision in this idea that has been lost on the current government in power.

  • Betty
    August 30, 2013 - 14:58

    Danny to wild for me, Now you know why you only got 6 % from the people. Man just give it up. Before you hurts yourself...LOL

  • JackieLogans
    August 30, 2013 - 13:30

    If not through a tunnel, the two parts of Newfoundland & Labrador should nevertheless be connected DIRECTLY without having to travel through a Quebec port. Ferry service should operate between the Northern Peninsula of the island and the southern tip of Labrador.

  • Too Funny
    August 30, 2013 - 12:23

    "Right now there’s 2,360 kilometres that it would take from St. John’s to go to Quebec City by coming up and going through the tunnel.” What road is he talking about? On Google Earth it's 3,080kms. Is he talking about a highway that doesn't exist, or doesn't exist on Google Earth? And how much longer, time wise would be to drive through Labrador given that highway speeds are not possible or less than TCH speeds. There's a reason why this guy doesn't get elected.

  • roy
    August 30, 2013 - 08:05

    Hasn't this idea been tossed around for years. I agree with a fixed link to Labrador, but to trade away our Ferry service is crazy. What would be the cost to our trucking industry, who would want to drive up the Northern peninsula to get to NS. NB or get to the US. What would be the cost to upgrade the roads in NL and Quebec. Does anyone believe this man is banging on all cylinders? Give away our ferry service such as it is, is like giving away Churchill Falls. Keep it up because with ideas like yours, Muskrat falls looks like a really good deal in light of Danny's ideas.

    • seanoairborne
      August 30, 2013 - 13:54

      Why would you need both the ferry service and a fixed link?I don't understand your reasoning?It takers hours, if not days, for many trucks to get on the ferry and much wasted time!The solution is a no brainer.Time is money in business.And since you could drive straight through, without having to stop and wait for a ferry, and take up to seven hours to cross on top of the wait for boarding the ferry,it would cut many hours if not days for bad weather and mechanical problems off the trip for the truckers.As I said,time is money in business and time waits for nobody!

  • joe
    August 30, 2013 - 05:45

    I like this tunnel plan but I am not sure why Parsons supporting Ball in the campaign is a newsworthy item for an article on the tunnel idea.Why would the the reporter even throw that in there? Almost a good article until the unrelated info at the end. Just stick to the story. You didn't want to put a useless weather update in there too did you?