Frustrations are mounting over road conditions on the Baie Verte Peninsula, and fingers are being pointed

·3 min read
Residents of the Baie Verte Peninsula are frustrated over the deteriorating condition of provincial roads in their area.  (Melissa Critch/Facebook - image credit)
Residents of the Baie Verte Peninsula are frustrated over the deteriorating condition of provincial roads in their area. (Melissa Critch/Facebook - image credit)
Melissa Critch/Facebook
Melissa Critch/Facebook

A former mayor of Baie Verte and the provincial minister of transportation are blaming each other over non-resolved issues with road repairs for the area.

Residents along on the Baie Verte Peninsula say their roads are in awful shape and nothing is being done to fix them. For instance, a Facebook group in support of road repairs throughout the peninsula has nearly 2,000 members, not to mention a long list of posts from individuals sharing photos and frustrations about deteriorating strips of highway.

The area is a hub for industrial activity with two active mines and a busy logging sector, with additional residential traffic along Route 410 and offshoot provincial roads which service communities dotting the peninsula.

Brandon Philpott was the interim mayor for the town of Baie Verte, but says he resigned, in part, out of frustration of dealing with the provincial government to get roads repaired.

"It kind of stems from an ongoing problem. Here on the Baie Verte Peninsula the roads are just beyond repair. It's very disturbing, actually, to see," Philpott told CBC News Thursday.

Philpott said the struggle with the province has been ongoing for over a year but a resolution has never been found.

He said the province wants the town of Baie Verte to upgrade its infrastructure before committing to repaving.

'We're going to deal with them'

On Friday, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Elvis Loveless told CBC News he's aware of the state of the roads on the Baie Verte Peninsula and visited the area personally after landing his current cabinet portfolio.

"We do understand the road infrastructure, and there's a lot of road infrastructures in the province that we have challenges with, but we're going to deal with them," Loveless said.

For the town of Baie Verte itself, Loveless said there are challenges within its infrastructure but wants clarity before the province makes a move.

"I need clarification, before we lay down pavement and commit to it, is your infrastructure on par? Is it OK? You don't have to be ripping pavement up, say 24 months down the road or 12 months. I need that certainty before we even commit to anything," he said.

Jamie Seymour/Facebook
Jamie Seymour/Facebook

Loveless said the town has been working with his department, but he has yet to see a full blueprint of road infrastructure within the community. He said he also hasn't met with the town, outside of one meeting with Philpott, but will do so any time.

Phillpot said the town did submit a file to government with infrastructure upgrade costs on May 19 last year with the thought that it would get reviewed and plans could be made to start dealing with the roads.

Loveless said the province will make an investment into roads on the Baie Verte Peninsula this year, including Route 410 and a stretch near La Scie, but he wants to know what's under the roads in the town of Baie Verte that may cause problems down the line.

Phillpot said the town did apply to repair a section of the main highway, and remove a section of asbestos pipes.

Loveless said it's the first he's heard of it.

"It's proof that there are problems in under the pavement in Baie Verte and that's really why this department has not committed to paving through that town," Loveless said.

"We need to get to the bottom of what the problem is here. ... In terms of the responsibility of who that lies with, I can't confirm right now but I will look into it."

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