Havin’ A Gander

Nicholas Mercer
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Requiem of an access road

Reducing travel times and saving lives are at the head of a movement down the shore, which would see an access road built to connect Square Pond to a stretch of highway below Gambo.

Naturally, there has been some people who are against the move, namely those in the community of Gambo who depend on the thorough fare for business purposes.

Having attended a public meeting in Trinity last week, I have become privy to both ends of the conversation.

Here’s how I see things:

I believe there are negatives and positives to putting in such a road.

However, the negatives are seriously outweighed by the positives.

The number one reason for the disparity between the positives and the negatives lie in the medical needs of the residents who reside down the shore.

If just one life is saved the road will be a success, regardless of what the opposition has to say about it.

Just think about it.

An ambulance barrels down a deserted highway, the poor soul, as my grandmother would say, in the back clinging to what life they have left.

Coming upon the town of Gambo, the driver realizes it could be an extra 20 minutes before this person can get the help needed.

Looking back over his shoulder, a bead of sweat slides down his forehead.

He knows what could happen.

Dropping his head, he leans on the gas peddle, and flips the siren switch, knowing the person in the back deserves to have a fighting chance.

Sure, that scenario is novelistic in its approach, but it borders the truth.

If there was an access road, there is a chance 20 minutes can get chopped off the time if it should get done.

Now I know there are some negatives to the road, and believe me I’ve seen them.

I remember when the Veteran’s Memorial Highway was constructed connecting the TCH with Carbonear.

It by-passed towns like Roache’s Line, Clarke’s Beach, North River, Bay Roberts, and Spaniard’s Bay.

“There will be new businesses, opening up an entire world of possibilities.”

No longer did motorists have to travel the Conception Bay Highway to get anywhere on that part of the coast.

St. John’s had become 45 minutes closer, and the hospital in Carbonear was 10 minutes away when there was no traffic.

Life was peachy.

But small business owners suffered.

Some have since closed shop, unable to compete with the allure of the big city and it’s big city lights.

Some survived and do so to this day.

The allocation of funds swerved away from existing infrastructure and into upkeep on the new road.

Roads became hard stretches of pavement that did more damage to your car than good.

All very good arguments used by both citizens from Gambo and the community of New-Wes-Valley.

But you will survive to keep fighting the good fight, so to speak.

There will be new businesses, opening up an entire world of possibilities.

People will be attracted to the area because of the possibilities a new road can bring to the area.

They will not only settle in Hare Bay, Dover, or any of the other communities along the loop, but also in Gambo.

They will see the beauty of the entire area, and not just the area seen if you happen to turn left toward Hare Bay once you come off of the proposed road.

So, isn’t it kinda worth it?

nmercer@ganderbeacon.ca

Geographic location: Gambo, Trinity, Carbonear Hare Bay North River Bay Roberts New-Wes-Valley

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