This summer I have had the pleasure of travelling around our great province. As I drove from place to place, there was always something that I was looking out for and was cautious of, and that’s moose.
Our province has the highest moose density rate in North America and the provincial government has done little to curb this problem — a public safety issue.
In 2011, the government installed two moose-detector systems as part of a two-year pilot project that has an estimated cost of $1.5 million.
The sensors are supposed to trigger warning lights if they detect moose, but at the Grand Falls-Windsor and Salmonier Line sites, the detectors have been plagued with maintenance issues, resulting in lengthy downtimes. It’s alarming that we have detectors that don’t function as they should and they provide a false sense of security for motorists.
In June, I questioned the minister on the status of the report for the two-year pilot project and I couldn’t get any answers surrounding when the report would be released and the costs for repairs and maintenance of the two sensors. It’s completely unacceptable that the government is keeping the people of this province in the dark about such a serious issue.
We have a very high moose population and accidents associated with the animals are on the rise. On average, there are 700 moose-vehicle collisions a year.
That’s 700 too many.
Every year many people are injured or killed on our highways due to moose-vehicle accidents and this year alone there have been two fatalities.
The government is not taking this issue seriously and it’s extremely concerning, especially during this time of year when so many people are travelling across the province.
We need workable answers to this issue, quickly.
The government needs to find new and reliable alternatives to the sensors, as the lives of motorists are at stake. Other alternatives, such as fencing and extensive brush clearing, have proven to be effective.
New Brunswick has installed hundreds of kilometres of wildlife fences along the highway, which has proven to be effective.
I am calling on the provincial government to explore options that could be more effective, safer and more reliable for motorists, as the safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians should be the government’s No. 1 priority.
MHA for Mount Pearl South