Today, is another game changer for our Great Northern Peninsula! The community of Conche joined 10 others (Bay de Verde, Burin, Burlington, Cow Head, Cox’s Cove, Forteau, Hampden, McIvers, Trout River and Winterton) in Newfoundland and Labrador that will see new or enhanced cellular service.
This is a big deal for a community at the heart of the French Shore that has a strong fishing community and has been diversifying its offering to include hospitality, tourism and cultural products. 2020 saw internet improvements and 2021 will also see the completion of paving on Route 434, as it was scheduled to be done in 2020 but the tendered work did not get completed before the end of the construction season. Conche will now be well positioned to compete in the 21st century and have opportunities for further growth. I wrote an article in 2014 entitled, “The Fire Still Burns – Conche, NL”. Although there have been changes over the years since that article, new businesses have opened and now with these investments there will be new opportunity in this region. An investment of cellular service can only help attract more visitors and residents to the Great Northern Peninsula!
I firmly believe that we must invest in advancing our transportation and telecommunications networks to remain competitive and enable rural economies to have the successful tools they need to thrive.
In 2018, it was truly a pleasure to serve as Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation and gain the necessary approvals to create the first of its kind cellular service pilot program. Budget 2018 allocated $1 million to the program which required a partnership with a provider and community/organization and a contribution of 25 percent from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This initial program saw significant leverage and approvals for multiple communities on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula (including L’anse aux Meadows, a World UNESCO site), Southeastern Labrador (including Red Bay, a World UNESCO site), Lark Harbour & York Harbour, various communities in St. Mary’s area, Bauline, Pouch Cove, King’s Point, Lord’s Cove and Francophone communities on the Port au Port peninsula.
Communities on the Great Northern Peninsula along Route 436, Route 437 and Route 430 have already reaped the benefits of cellular service, which means improved safety, enhanced quality of life, supports dozens of small businesses en route to L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage Site, expand marketing potential and creates numerous other opportunities.
A trek along the Iceberg Trail, a multi-day hike from L’anse aux Meadows to St. Lunaire-Griquet including the abandoned community of Fortune or a trek to the Glass Hole in Conche will be much safer and I’m sure showing up more on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook or other social media channels when there is a signal. I’ll share with you in some upcoming posts incredible hiking adventures that you can have on the Great Northern Peninsula!
The Great Northern Peninsula has come a long way in the last decade with dozens of communities connected to high-speed Internet and cellular service for the first time, Conche seeing its road into the community paved for the first time in 50 years and many other investments in roads, wharfs, airport and other vital infrastructure. To have strong rural economics it is vital to keep advancing these two pillars – Transportation and Telecommunications! Let’s keep building stronger communities!
Today is another great day for our Great Northern Peninsula!
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for District of St. Barbe-L’anse aux Meadows