Moose strategy not enough: quadriplegic

Newfoundland and Labrador's strategy to curb moose-vehicle collisions will fall short of its goal, says a man left severely disabled by such a crash.
Ben Bellows was left a quadriplegic after his car collided with a moose. ((CBC))

Newfoundland and Labrador's strategy to curb moose-vehicle collisions will fall short of its goal, says a man left severely disabled by such a crash.

The government announced this week it will issue 2,154 new moose licences for the next hunting season, on top of more than 27,000 existing licences, in a bid to bring down the number of collisions on the province's highways.

As well, it will spend more money to cut brush along the roadways.

But Corner Brook resident Ben Bellows, who was paralyzed from the neck down after his car struck a moose in broad daylight on the Trans-Canada Highway near Clarenville, said many lives will still be destroyed or severely changed.

"It's not just me," said Bellows. "It's my wife, my family, my children."

Bellows supports a campaign to put high fences along the highway in areas where moose are well known to be found.

"It's a no-brainer," he said.

"The moose is the problem. The moose is on the road.  It's not supposed to be there."

Bellows challenges those who argue that a fencing system would be too expensive to construct.

"What about the cost to me?" he said. "My bill ranked up to $500,000 — what about that cost?  What about the cost of my pain?"  

Earlier this week, Environment Minister Charlene Johnson said new measures, including an extended season and early promotion of Sunday hunting, would allow hunters to reach more remote areas.

In turn, she said, a wider hunt would mean fewer animals later heading towards highways for food and space.