March 27, 2018 ~ The problem has since been fixed, it seems, but people heading into their Shoal Pond cabins yesterday got a surprise when they found the access road freshly plowed.
The access road doubles as part of the Newfoundland and Labrador snowmobile trail network in winter time and is used by many people. Shoal Pond cabin owners use it as their route to the pond. (Link to Trail Map Online)
Yesterday they found about 1.5 km of the winter trail reduced to one narrow lane.
The road to Shoal Pond also leads to Hammerdown mine. Maritime Resources is working to bring the mine back into production and has a 2000 meter drilling program started in the area. The road was plowed to allow for the transportation of equipment to the site.
The Shoal Pond cabin owners had not expected any changes to the road to come soon.
Shoal Pond cabin owners had been wondering about the logistics of sharing an access road with the big trucks and equipment of Hammerdown as the mine moves towards operation. The parking lot at the mouth of the access road will also be common ground to mine workers, the public and cabin-goers.
Maritime has rights to drill in a wide area of land and the Shoal Pond Resource Road runs right through it.
Shoal Pond cabin owner Lorne Newbury said of the recent plowing: “…it was done without notice or warnings posted. The cabin owners and snowmobilers have just as much right to this Government owned road as the mining company. This was done to us a few years ago when they were diamond drilling in the road. The road was plowed and culvert pipes were even ripped out and no repairs ever made. We then set up Shoal Pond Valley Association to help raise money to maintain the road for all to use.”
The Shoal Pond Valley Association holds periodic fundraisers to pay for road upkeep.
This community post is brought to you
in part by Brian Whitehorne
Monday’s surprise led to posts and comments on Facebook. They said the situation was very dangerous and extra caution would be needed when travelling over that trail.
This coming weekend was also causing particular concern for the cabin owners. Easter is the busiest time of the year at Shoal Pond. The ‘population’ there swells with families, friends and guests who enjoy Easter egg hunts and fun together.
Cabin owners feared a “major hazard” had been thrown at them without notice right before the very weekend that their trail would see the most sled traffic.
There will be, no doubt, many questions to be answered and solutions to be found as Hammerdown mine rumbles towards its many days of super cab pickups and heavy ore trucks. But some answers came swiftly this morning when mine owner Maritime Resources got the word out through local social media accounts: the trail would be re-groomed and they would be placing safety signage. It was added the road would also be monitored for safety issues.
A post on the Green Bay Snowmobile Association Facebook group stated the section of road from Shoal Pond parking lot to the mine site road was mulched, leveled and widened by Springdale Forest Resources today.
The trail will be groomed to Gull Pond as soon as temperatures allow. (Post link)
Lorne Newbury said the Shoal Pond Valley Association appreciates today’s repair effort. He said, “We as cabin lot owners don’t ask for control over the road but just a little respect seeing we have maintained the road over the last few years, sinking thousands of dollars into road maintenance.”
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[Photo at top: Springdale Forest Resources equipment at the entrance of Shoal Pond Resource Road, March 27th, 2018]