A driving force behind a possible road link between Central Newfoundland and the South West Coast believes municipal politics will prevent the concept from gaining the traction it needs to become reality.
The South West Coast Joint Council planned to introduce a resolution at the October Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) Convention in Corner Brook in hopes of moving the possible road development onto the provincial agenda.
"It looks like this political attitude is alive and active in the (MNL) resolutions committee," said Peter Fenwick, chair of the South West Coast Joint Council, on Monday.
Fenwick made the statement after learning that the MNL Convention committee has recommended the resolution be deferred until archaeological studies are done and other issues are researched by the Joint Councils of the South West Coast and Central Newfoundland.
Fenwick, president of the South West Coast Joint Council, believes the deferral is “a sham to kill the resolution.
“While the councils would like to do more research on the issue, the MNL convention was not asked for anything other than approval in principal for the route,” he added. “This is no more than the resolutions supporting the Trans Labrador Highway in years gone by that never required any detailed study before adoption.”
The executive of the South West Coast Joint Council believes that undue influence was brought to bear on the MNL committee by representatives from areas that could be bypassed by the Central Island route.
“Historically politicians from other parts of the west coast have repeatedly nixed any efforts to build a central island route, fearing that it might divert traffic from their districts,” Fenwick contends.
Buchans Mayor Derm Corbett warned of the possible resistance during an interview with the Advertiser last week about possible benefits to the road improvements.
“When the mining activity shut down here in the 1970s it was thought that the road would have been a way to save the economy (in Buchans),” he said. “When the idea was floated, some communities along the Trans Canada (Highway) were concerned about the effect it would have on them, and I could understand that.”
“That was one of the reasons it didn’t get any traction.”