Labrador bridge opening leads to firewood bonanza
The opening of a new bridge across the Churchill River has given some residents of central Labrador plenty of reasons to stay warm this winter.
The bridge, near Happy Valley-Goose Bay, was completed months ago, but public traffic has only been allowed for a few days.
The roadway— which, when completed, will take motorists to coastal Labrador— is still very much under construction, but residents are taking advantage of the bridge to gather truckloads of free firewood across the river.
"This is perfect," said Shawn Poole, who was helping himself to a load of wood. "There's a lot of guys enjoying this one, I guess."
The wood comes from crews that continue to cut a swath through the Labrador wilderness.
Normally, Poole and others would have to buy permits to cut wood for a winter supply. Now, residents only need to pick up a free permit to haul the wood away, solving a problem for construction crews.
Along the approximately 50 kilometres of cleared roadway, it's easy to find people wielding chainsaws, cutting large logs into manageable piles of firewood.
"Most of the traffic is for free wood— they're all in getting their wood for the winter," said construction worker Dexter Allan, who said he has brought home five loads of wood for his own stove.
Construction on the Trans-Labrador Highway link to southern Labrador is expected to be finished by the end of 2009.