By Mark Squibb/December 2, 2021
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Bay Roberts council is hoping its pen is at least mighty enough to get a road paved.
The town sent a letter to Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Elvis Loveless November 19 at the behest of newly minted councilor Perry Bowering who, in the previous public meeting, suggested the town lobby the Province to upgrade Route 70.
The issue is hardly a new one. In fact, it’s raised almost annually. In 2016, the town even hired consultants to draft traffic data to present to the government to argue their case.
Mayor Walter Yetman read aloud a portion of the letter, which referenced that consultation.
“It cannot be plowed properly with those trenches in the road,” read Yetman. “And that slush and water stays in those trenches and it’s a major issue. We highlighted traffic flow, and numbers per day, as you can see, and in a further report to our highway traffic study, it’s there as, ‘the highway is one of the busiest in rural Newfoundland and Labrador, with over 18,000 vehicles using the four lane highway daily. The business district serves more than 11,000 residents in the town and adjacent community, so it’s a regional highway. As noted, there is a significant volume of traffic on Route 70 in Bay Roberts, and not just at peak times, but all day, every day.’”
The letter made the point that Bay Roberts is the largest town in Conception Bay North and a regional service centre, that houses plenty of industrial companies.
“Millions of tax dollars come from these businesses to the provincial coffers annually, so to say it’s not a priority is wrong,” said Yetman.
Councilor Silas Badcock complimented the mayor on the letter, and said hopefully it will spur movement.
Yetman said Minister Pam Parsons, the town’s MHA, was scheduled to meet with Minister Loveless that week, and he hoped government will see the necessity of upgrading the road and give it priority when the spring paving and repair budget is released.
Councilor Geoff Seymour said he assumed council will not put the issue on the backburner until then, but will continue to lobby, to which Yetman said they would. Yetman suggested council could invite Loveless to see the road, as it did with the previous transportation minister, Derrick Bragg.
“We’ll do whatever we can,” said Yetman.
“I’m sure we will,” replied Seymour. “But I’ll point out that we have done all of that before, have we not? And it hasn’t gone anywhere. We’ve agreed that it’s going to take heavier steps.”
Yetman said that taking heavier steps is just what the town is doing, and that in recent weeks he has seen surveyors surveying the road, possibly, he said, for quoting purposes, which gives him some hope.
Councilors Dean Franey and Perry Boweing voiced their agreement that they would continue to support any measure necessary to get the work done.
“We’re not going to let up, so it’s just as well for them fellows to come pave our road, and then we’ll let them alone,” said Bowering.