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Stephenville road closures frustrating for cabin owner and fish harvester

A side-by-side and a pickup truck are seen making their way over beach rocks strewn across Massachusetts Drive on the road leading to Little Port Harmon.
A side-by-side and a pickup truck are seen making their way over beach rocks strewn across Massachusetts Drive on the road leading to Little Port Harmon. - Star file photo

LITTLE PORT HARMON, N.L. — A cabin owner at Little Port Harmon and a fish harvester who operates out of the location believe it’s time for a solution to recurring road closures.

High winds and storm surges have been causing road closures at a location on Massachusetts Drive in the town located near the end of the runway at Stephenville airport.

The waves have been breaching the beach and pushing rocks over the road causing the closures to the point where the town of Stephenville has put up a flashing light sign to warn motorists of the road closures.

In addition to rocks on the road, during the winter there are times when the road is closed due to heavy snowfall at the location.

Peter Benoit, a cabin owner who lives at his cottage about 90 per cent of the year, said while he understands the road is not a priority for snow clearing during the winter, he doesn’t understand why the problem with the breaching of the road just can’t be fixed.

“That road should never be blocked for days on end, especially prior to the winter season when plows are not on the road and the equipment is available to do the job,” he said.

Benoit said it’s only a matter of time before there is going to be a washout at that location and it’s going to cost a lot more to do repairs to that road than if preventative measures with a rock wall were put into place.



He said if the town is going to be charging property taxes, as it is, then it should provide some type of services for that money.

Benoit said there is no garbage collection, no snow clearing, no water and sewage provided to those 50-plus cabins at Little Port Harmon so the least they should do is assure the road leading to them is open, even during storms surges.

Renny Hickey, a fish harvester operating out of Little Port Harmon, said there should be a sufficient rock wall put along the beach for protection against the storm surges.

He said to date the road closures haven’t resulted in his product not getting to market but believes it could happen.

Hickey said tractor trailers need to get to Little Port Harmon to pick up the fresh product and since fish harvesters will be at it until mid-December, it’s important the road be kept open.

He said the dozen or so fish harvesters who have boats in the water year round need to get to check on them on a daily basis, especially when there are high winds.

Hickey feels there also needs to be snow clearing right to the wharf.

Mayor Tom Rose said this issue is something the Stephenville town council will have to talk about and something he plans to have discussed.

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