Inuit want road to northern Labrador

Labrador Inuit are renewing their call for a highway to northern Labrador, saying they don't think they should have to wait 25 years for a road link.

Labrador Inuit are renewing their call for a highway to northern Labrador, saying they don't think they should have to wait 25 years for a road link.

Nunatsiavut First Minister Tony Andersen said he wants a feasibility study on a highway to Rigolet, Makkovik and Postville and his government will pay up to $80,000 toward the cost because northern Labrador can't move forward without better runways, ferries and eventually a road.

"Economic development is held hostage to this antiquated transportation infrastructure," he said.

The Nunatsiavut government, which provides self-government for Inuit in northern Labrador, has made an offer to help pay for the study in writing to three consecutive provincial transportation ministers. The government has said in the past it won't take on any new projects until the Trans-Labrador Highway that serves central and southern Labrador is finished.

Andersen was interested to hear Labrador Affairs Minister John Hickey committing the province last week to hard-surfacing every kilometre of the Trans-Labrador Highway including southern Labrador.

"Their response again has been, 'No there will be no work not entertaining thoughts about further work until the current work is done,' which [coming] out of the mouth of Minister Hickey last week is likely 13-14 years from now, if completion means hard top," Andersen said.

"So we're talking 25 year before we see a link of the Trans-Labrador into Nunatsiavut, and this is not acceptable," he said. Provincial Transportation Minister Trevor Taylor wasn't available for comment Tuesday.

The Inuit government isn't the only group calling on Taylor to find out how much a road to the north would cost.  

Garfield Flowers, an entrepreneur in Hopedale, said there should have been a feasibility study years ago, and a road to the north should have been part of Vale Inco's nickel mine.