Anna Thistle, MHA for the District of Grand Falls-Buchans, calls
government’s decision not to include the Buchans Highway in its 2006 road
improvement program regrettable and shortsighted.
Earlier this month, Thistle called upon government to reassess its
budgetary commitments in transportation infrastructure and direct
appropriate funding towards the much-needed road work on the Buchans
Highway. The Liberal MHA viewed the repair of the road as urgent since it
posed a serious safety risk and would also have been of significant value to
the robust mining activity in the region.
"How a government can make a choice not to include one of the most unsafe
and deplorable highways in the province in its transportation budget is very
questionable," stated Thistle. "Government boasted that the investment would
grow the local economies, but here we have the Barite plant in Buchans
functioning and a new Duck Pond mine near Millertown expected to be fully
operational by this fall, yet the major road servicing these industries is
in substandard condition. Government failed to see that road enhancement for
this highway would have further strengthened and preserved this vital
industry’s growth and the associated safety standards involved.
"Not only do we have ordinary citizens travelling over that road, but
approximately 200 permanent employees and heavy equipment will be driving
that stretch on a daily basis. The road will only continue to deteriorate in
the coming months and people’s safety is very much at risk.
"The economic and safety requirements of this region are less than being
fulfilled by this government. In fact, as it relates to the Buchans Highway,
safety, efficiency and sustainability have clearly been run off the road and
ditched by the transportation department and this government."