Highway 7

Highway 7 in the Northwest Territories, often known as the Liard Highway is the sole road connection between B.C. and the Northwest Territories.  It starts on the Alaska Highway 28 km northwest of Fort Nelson and is called Highway 77 in British Columbia.  When the Highway enters the Northwest Territories, it becomes Highway 7 and is 254 km through the spectacular NWT landscape, and ends at Highway 1 just south of Fort Simpson at a place called Checkpoint.

THE PROBLEM:  The road has deteriorated so much in the past five years, that it is used predominantly by trucks.  With soft spots of soil and gravel on an unpaved road and “bathtub sized potholes”, tourism operators are no longer traveling the entire Deh Cho Connection.  This has reduced the number of tourists coming into all the communities in the Dehcho, including Fort Simpson.

THE SOLUTION:  The Fort Simpson Chamber of Commerce worked with MLA Kevin Menicoche (Nahendeh) in the summer of 2011, creating a petition in the community to rally community support for the repair of this highway.  Using the results of this petition, MLA Kevin Menicoche has formally requested, in the Legislative Assembly, that funds be allocated for the repairs.  The response was that there is no money at this time to fix the highway.  You can read the entire response of the government in the resource link below.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Write a letter to the members of the Legislative Assembly to urge the repairs to the Liard Highway.  You can use this form letter, or write your own.  Please send a cc of each letter you send to Nick Sibbeston, Senator.  Send to:

Minister of Transportation, Mr. David Ramsay           david_ramsay@gov.nt.ca
Minister of Finance,  Mr. J. Michael Miltenberger      michael_miltenberger@gov.nt.ca
Michael M. Nadli, MLA  Deh Cho                                        Michael_Nadli@gov.nt.ca
Kevin Menicoche, MLA Nahendeh                                     kevin_menicoche@gov.nt.ca
Robert Bouchard, MLA Hay River North                        robert_bouchard@gov.nt.ca
Jane Groenewegen, MLA Hay River South                     jane_groenewegen@gov.nt.ca

cc.  Nick G.  Sibbeston, Senator, Parliament of Canada    sibnic@sen.parl.gc.ca

If you wish to write to all the members of the Legislative Assembly in this consensus government, you can find their contact information here.    This is the form letter.

Dear Sir,

Tourism in the Northwest Territories generates more revenue, over $111 million annually, than all other renewable resources combined—yet the Liard Highway, an integral part of the Deh Cho Connection, is impassable for all but trucks and similar sturdy vehicles.

TheTourism 2015: New Directions for a Spectacular Future report recognizes that one of the challenges of meeting their goal is the “poor surface conditions on the Liard Highway”.  There are only nine licensed tourism operators in the Deh Cho region (compared with 16 in the Sahtu region), due to its inaccessibility to tourist traffic to-and-from the province of British Columbia.

With a commitment of only $3,000,000 a year, the road can be resurfaced and repaired, so tourism buses and cars can travel without risk to their vehicles on the Liard Highway.  In the past, there was a constant stream of tour buses each summer through the Deh Cho when the highways were first built.  As the roads have deteriorated, so has the tourism traffic, and the consequent loss of jobs in the region.

I urge you to consider the importance of working with your esteemed colleagues in the Legislative Assembly in establishing a suitable infrastructure to support the largest revenue generating industry in the Northwest Territories—tourism.  We cannot put these urgently needed repairs off for another year.

Sincerely,

(your name)
(your address)

 

RESOURCES:

Kevin Menicoche, MLA (Nahendeh) speaks out in the Legislative Assembly.
QUESTION 28-17(1):  FUNDING FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF HIGHWAY NO. 7 – Hansard December 9, 2011, pg 12-13.

Tourism 2015: New Directions for a Spectacular Future

‘The Royal Road to Tourism Excellence’ Tourism Conference – 2011

Northern News Service – Harper Unloads Labour, Highways Cash, Aug 24, 2009