HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L.
Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper said 2018 has been a year of a lot of highlights for the area.
Trimper said for Happy Valley-Goose Bay, moving forward with the Labrador Wellness Centre was the biggest highlight of the year.
“It’s been a lot of years working on this and it’s great to see it moving forward,” he said. “We started on this in 2013 and as you talk to doctors and other professionals, they see it as a strong influence over whether they’ll stay.
“When you look to a community where you can raise your family, this is something they can look to.”
Another highlight that plays into attracting and retaining professionals was the movement forward on Pumpkin House — a new childcare facility with spots for 100 children — slated to open in 2019. He said over the years this was highlighted as an issue and he’s happy to see the province moving forward.
The roadwork that’s been done in Labrador this past year is another highlight the MHA said. According to Trimper, 99 kilometres of road was paved in the district, with another 53 km of current contracts to be completed in 2019.
“We are spending more money on this highway than all the other highways in the province,” he said. “We have 80 km left now to find the money to complete. I remember a lot of people thought it was a pie in the sky idea when it started and here we are.”
The changes to the ferry services for Labrador announced in September was another highlight for Trimper, with one of the new ferries operating out of Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The new ferry for the north coast, the MV Grete, will replace both the MV Apollo and the MV Ranger, combining passengers and freight on the same boat and allowing, for the first time ever on the coast, a roll-on roll-off service allowing vehicles to be transported with passengers.
“It’s a huge change,” Trimper said. “No more of transporting goods from central Canada, down to the island and then to here. It’s a big shift.”
The biggest improvement for the area in 2018, Trimper said, is the elimination of mental health wait times in the hospital in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Labrador Grenfell Health changed to a walk-in service for mental health earlier this year, effectively phasing out wait times.
“I don’t know how many people have come in here asking for help and we’d tell them it would be a few months,” he said. “There were people I spoke to on a Friday that I wasn’t sure I would see on Monday. Now they can just go over and walk in and see someone. It’s such a big improvement.”
Trimper noted changing the service and hiring more staff has been something needed locally and he’s really happy to see the shift. He said there is still more work to be done, but he’s happy to see it moving forward.
As for 2019, Trimper said he’s looking forward to seeing more work done in health care and roadwork for Labrador and is sure there will be plenty more to work on in the new year.