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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

December 9, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

Government's Test of ‎Snowclearing Failed; Opposition Calls for Reinstatement

 

‎Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, said, "Across the island portion of the province on Thursday night and Friday morning, the Ball government's reduced snowclearing policy was put to the test, and it failed miserably.

 

"Despite the Minister of Transportation and Works' assurances just yesterday that roads would be monitored around the clock, and safety was a priority, road conditions were slippery and the highways were not in safe driving condition. The Liberal government's cutbacks have put the safety of motorists ‎in jeopardy, and that is unacceptable. Today, I wrote to the Minister of Transportation and Works to again urge the government to reinstate 24-hour snowclearing and the staffing of depots effective immediately, in the interest of public safety," said Davis.

 

"The letter pointed out that a relatively small amount of snow, improperly cleared, resulted in hazardous driving conditions and cancellations that could have been avoided," he said.

 

In question period in the House of Assembly on December 8, Transportation Minister Al Hawkins assured the province that everything would be fine.

 

The Minister said: "We have said if weather conditions merit our forces to be deployed they will be deployed, they will be out, and we’re regularly looking at that."

 

The Minister went on to say: "When we talk about important routes that are there – as I’ve said and stated very, very clearly, I think I’ve stated very, very clearly – the only difference between previous years and this year is that we do not have a group, or crew – and I must say, a reduced crew at that – sitting in a depot waiting for it to snow. We have targets that we will look at that will trigger and if in fact the conditions merit our forces to be on the highway beyond 10 o’clock they will be there."

 

Barry Petten, Opposition Critic for Transportation and Works said, "Clearly, the government's trigger did not work. Some police officers have indicated that they were not even made aware by the Minister that the government expected them to monitor highway snow conditions on the government's behalf. The highways remained snow-covered when people had to use them.”

 

"Why is the Premier not weighing in on this and directing the Minister to bring in a policy that works? Wasn't public safety a Liberal red book priority? It's another failed policy, another broken promise, another example of refusing to listen to the people. When will this government start paying attention to the needs and circumstances of the people they were elected to serve?" said Davis.

 

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Media Contact: Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications, Office of the Official Opposition, (709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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