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Province sets aside money for look at Labrador north coast road

Julius Dicker, AngajukKak (mayor) of Nain, said the money for a pre-feasibility study on a north coast of Labrador road is a step in the right direction. - FILE PHOTO
Julius Dicker, AngajukKak (mayor) of Nain, said the money for a pre-feasibility study on a north coast of Labrador road is a step in the right direction. - FILE PHOTO

An idea that’s been talked about in Labrador for years has moved one step closer to being a reality. The provincial government allocated $200,000 in the 2020 budget for a pre-feasibility study for a road to connect the north coast of Labrador to the Trans-Labrador Highway.

Julius Dicker, AngajukKak (mayor) of Nain, the most northern community in Labrador, told SaltWire he was surprised to hear the news and he’s eager to see it move forward.

“This has been something the combined councils have been asking for years, since before my time there,” he told SaltWire from his home in Nain. Wednesday “It’s time for a road. We put forward resolution after resolution and it’s wonderful news they’re putting money aside for this.”

Nain and all the other communities on the north coast of Labrador have no roads connecting them and are only accessible by sea, plane and — in winter — by snowmobile. Subsequently the cost of many goods and service in the region are much higher than other parts of the province.

Dicker said a road could change all that and he thinks the potential benefits would be worth it.

“In the 1970s we never thought we would get direct phone lines and things like that and it happened,” he said. “A road would be a life changer here. With the way the economy is going, tourism is the big draw for the communities on the north coast, because of the pristine areas and connection to the Torngat park. A lot of positive would come out of it.”

The 2020 budget also saw $39.8 million for paving on the existing Trans-Labrador Highway, which connects the other regions of Labrador to the island and Quebec.

Finance Minister Siobhan Coady said in her budget speech that paving of the highway is to be completed in the following two construction seasons.

“The completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway is within sight” Coady said. “The final tender to complete paving of the highway between Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Southern Labrador was awarded this spring.”

Other Labrador related announcements in the budget are money for upgrades to the Labrador Correctional Facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and $4.1 million for marine infrastructure improvements in Makkovik, which are expected to be completed next year.

Evan Careen is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter covering Labrador for SaltWire Network

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