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LETTER: Finish the job and fix the last bad stretch of road

Bill Davis has been trying to get a section of road connecting his hometown of Colinet to Markland paved for years.
Bill Davis has been trying to get a section of road connecting his hometown of Colinet to Markland paved for years. - Sam McNeish

It is a real pleasure to drive over the new pavement and upgrading on the nine-mile road from the Salmonier Line to the small town of Colinet.  After two seasons the job was completed with the exception of approximately one kilometre to Colinet. 

It is somewhat disappointing that for the sake of one kilometre this job remains unfinished.  We greatly appreciate what has been done. The construction project including the upgrading has resulted in a much-improved highway.  

As a long-time resident of Colinet, I take this opportunity to thank the present government including our MHA Sherry Gambin-Walsh for her role in this very important project.   

Therefore, we do not hesitate to show our appreciation and gratitude for a job well done.  Once again, a sincere thank you. 

In past letters, I have put a great deal of emphasis on why a well-constructed paved road system is so very important.   

The old days are long gone.  We are living in a far different world now. The cost of living continues to grow at an alarming rate.   

From a financial point of view, people cannot afford to operate a motor vehicle on gravel roads anymore.   

For example, in this particular section of this district on the Whitbourne road, vehicles get bogged down for five or six weeks every spring with the thawing conditions of these roads.   

Also, there is a real safety concern for our people who find themselves in this situation.  It is no surprise that this road has been listed as one of the worst roads in Atlantic Canada.    

A lack of proper maintenance stands out loud and clear.  It is a great mystery about the highway roads unit.   

We assume they report to and receive direction from our provincial government.  The government unit is very seldom seen doing much road maintenance.  Our gravel roads are very seldom, if ever, graded.  Therefore, these roads continue to remain in an unacceptable condition. 

It has now been 70 years since Confederation.  

During all these years we have been practically begging our provincial government to listen to our needs, especially for a good paved road system.   

During the past few years when our government was doing well from the oil and gas and other industries, many small towns received much-needed government investment.   

However, our district only received negative responses from the government.  There is no doubt we were overlooked for areas with more influence.  Our government will never admit this, but it is well known.  This situation is ridiculous, and this should never be permitted in what is supposed to be a just and fair society. 

A recent road paving report from CBC gave an update on road work in the province.  It stated that the minister of highways, Steve Crocker, had significant more paving carried out in his own district than any other district in the province. This kind of attitude from a person in power who we look up to with proper respect is a setback and very disappointing. 

One does not have to be a Rhodes scholar to realize just how beneficial and wonderful the opening up of the Colinet-Placentia district within the Avalon would be.   

This would be like a new lease on life, and it would promote a healthy respect for this current government.  People could commute to employment in all directions to the east and west.  There would be work opportunities, close by medical, banking and supermarket services as well as other important benefits that people expect and cherish this day and age.   

We know that the government, as well as many small local towns in the loop, would benefit two-fold from tourism.  Places like the scenic Cataracts Provincial Park, which was never developed, and the Rocky River and Fishway area plans could come on stream.  

To put this issue in the right perspective, the road network under discussion for upgrading and paving would continue from the nine-mile road to Whitbourne via Colinet, Markland and the TCH.   

The other section would be from Colinet to Argentia-Placentia with no dead ends.  It would be very interesting to find out if Premier Dwight Ball is fully aware of our problems. Ball should be invited by our MHA to visit and drive over our gravel roads.  One might be very surprised at his reaction. 

We, respectively, ask our MHA, Gambin-Walsh, to meet with Crocker, minister of Transportation and Works. Our district would very much appreciate if our district would be included in the roads’ plan this year and in future years.  Thus, road construction would be carried out each year in this section of our district.  A significant step forward in upgrading our road system after a very long wait.

William Davis,
Colinet 

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