A bumpy road

Car­bon­ear, Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton re­vive dis­cus­sions on con­nect­ing towns

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

It has been al­most two decades since a pro­posal was turned down to up­grade the over­grown road that con­nects Line Road in Car­bon­ear to Coun­try Road in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton.

But now, Car­bon­ear Mayor Ge­orge Butt Jr. and Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton Mayor Clay­ton Bran­ton are ready to reignite the con­ver­sa­tion and get the road com­pleted.

At the time, the idea was not ap­proved be­cause there were al­ready two roads — the Heart’s Con­tent Bar­rens and the New Har­bour Bar­rens — that con­nected the Trinity and Con­cep­tion Bays.

The stretch is roughly 20 kilo­me­tres from one side to the next, with five kilo­me­tres or so on each side al­ready up to an ac­cept­able stan­dard for driv­ing. There are sev­eral cab­ins used year round in the area.

A file con­tain­ing doc­u­ments from the late 1990s and early 2000s con­firms the prov­ince clas­si­fied it as a Class 4 — sea­sonal or cabin — road.

Although both towns have never given up hope that it would some­day be fully ac­ces­si­ble, the idea faded into the back­ground.

Pre­vi­ously ac­ces­si­ble

It has been decades since the road was fully ac­ces­si­ble for all ve­hi­cles. Now, most of it can be reached on a 4x4 truck, and the rest, only by an all ter­rain ve­hi­cle or a snow­mo­bile.

Butt re­mem­bers when he used to do plumb­ing jobs in Heart’s Deligt-Is­ling­ton years ago.

“I had a job over there,” he told The Compass. “But I would take a cube van the whole way. Can’t do that now.”

The res­i­dents of Bran­ton’s town stepped in when Coun­try Road was im­pas­si­ble, which al­lowed bet­ter ac­cess to lo­cal cab­ins.

“On this end, we’ve had a lot of work done in the last four or five years,” he ex­plained. “The town took up a col­lec­tion of money, gave it to a de­vel­oper and he took the boul­ders out of it.”

In Car­bon­ear, the road is paved on most of Val­ley Road and turns to gravel, but it is still ac­ces­si­ble for sev­eral kilo­me­tres.

Cre­at­ing a plan

Although the idea has been dor­mant for such a long time, town lead­ers from both mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were ready to dis­cuss ideas for the road at a re­cent meet­ing in Car­bon­ear.

Thurs­day, March 19, at the Con­cep­tion Bay Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, Butt and Bran­ton were joined by Car­bon­ear Coun. Bill Bow­man and Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton Deputy Mayor Clarence Chislett and Coun. David Dowlow. Car­bon­ear’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment of­fi­cer Kai Bath was also on hand for the dis­cus­sion.

Bath will help or­ga­nize a for­mal plan to present to both mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and other lev­els of gov­ern­ment, based on three cri­te­ria — the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment get­ting on board, know­ing ex­actly what it is that needs to be done to bring the road to par and the eco­nomic im­pact.

It will not be a cheap project, but all in­volved are will­ing to set­tle tem­po­rar­ily with us­ing Grade A fill and not paving the road. The mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties will also have to con­sider how much they will be will­ing to put into the devel­op­ment of the road.

In an email from the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works, spokesper­son Jac­que­lyn Howard told The Compass there are no plans at this time for the road to re­ceive any up­grades.

Eco­nomic ben­e­fit

Hav­ing the road open is not just an eas­ier ac­cess to travel back and forth. As Bath ex­plained, eco­nomic im­pact is a big rea­son for con­sid­er­ing the up­grade.

Car­bon­ear has a hos­pi­tal, a new state-of-the-art el­e­men­tary school and a shop­ping cen­tre. Both places have his­tor­i­cal sites and tourist at­trac­tions to visit as well.

Bran­ton be­lieves cut­ting down the time it takes to travel would be ben­e­fi­cial for se­niors from Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton who shop in Car­bon­ear and at­tend med­i­cal ap­point­ments. Butt and Bath agreed. “A re­gional ap­proach to eco­nomic devel­op­ment is key,” Bath noted. “It’s a mar­riage be­tween the two re­gions.”

Where it will be the first time the sug­ges­tion has been brought back to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, the group wants to make sure ev­ery ‘T’ is crossed, and ev­ery ‘I’ dot­ted.

Bath, Butt and Bran­ton ex­pect to make some head­way in the next year, but hope the project will be com­pleted by the next mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion in 2017.

“It’s go­ing to be a strug­gle, but at least now it’ll be alive again,” Butt ex­plained. “We all agree that it should be done, and we all agree that we’re not go­ing to let it die.”

COMPASS FILE PHOTO

Line Road in Car­bon­ear meets up with Coun­try Road in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton, but it is not ac­ces­si­ble by all ve­hi­cles.

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