Completion of the Route 138; will we ever see it?

Do you remember having to drive an outboard boat to get out of your hometown? Or waiting endless hours sometimes even days for a plane? Or being stuck on a ship in ice?  Probably not, because that’s ridiculous, right? Not so fast, all the scenarios described above are very true realities here on the Lower North Shore and believe me when I say it is not pleasant. So, you may be thinking, why not just hop in your car? What an elegant and simple solution that would be, huh? Well like many things here on the coast, it is not that easy!

LNSmap
Map of the Lower North Shore, photo by lowernorthshore.ca

The Route 138! Perhaps you heard of it, a major Quebec highway that extends all along the St. Lawrence River but for some odd reason comes to abrupt end in the village of Kegaska as well as Old Fort. This leaves around 10 communities in complete isolation! You see how this can be an issue, don’t you?  There are numerous ways this road or lack thereof effects the population of the towns.

For starters, cost! You would be astonished by the sheer price of plane tickets here on the coast. For instance a plane ticket from St.Augustine to the neighbouring village of Blanc-Sablon is close to 400 dollars return for a 20 minute flight. To put that into perspective, a 5 hour long flight across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver can range from 395-700 dollars! How insane is that? No wonder our populations are decreasing no one can afford to come back here. Furthermore, these airlines can get away with it because there is practically no competition.

Secondly, the coast is lacking jobs and economy more and more each day. The installment of a road from Old Fort to Kegaska will boost our economy. The road will require workers to build as well as manage. This project will help our economy thrive! One of our main problems on the LNS is the unreliable transportation, which affects our delivery of freight among other things. The finishing of the route 138 will ensure our population to get their fresh produce each week. Furthermore our current methods of transportation are often late and provide poor service.

VALERIEPIC
Sunset out at island outside St. Augustine, photo by Valerie Driscoll

Once again we’d like to restate how hilarious our situation is. Almost every other single place in Canada you can think about has a road, some with a lesser population than our region.  375 km is the length of the non-existing road connecting Kegaska to Old fort, that’s all. The fact that 6 years ago in 2013, there was an extension of the Route 138 from Point-Parent to Kegaska and yet to this very day there is still no plan put in place is a complete joke! Here on the coast, reality is there will be an installation of cell service before we have a road. Somehow we are advanced but yet so far behind.

We are now currently attending high school, will we ever be able to witness a road connecting the LNS? Maybe not, but hopefully our  great grand-children will be able to experience a drive on this dream road.

Gia Maurice sec. 2, Jordan Mckinnon sec. 4, Keathon Monger sec. 1,
École St Augustine School

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