Transport improvement needed

A report produced by the three territorial governments calls for significant improvements to infrastructure for road, air, marine and rail travel.

A report produced by the three territorial governments calls for significant improvements to infrastructure for road, air, marine and rail travel.

“The safety, sovereignty and security of our land are contingent on our ability to access our northernmost regions in an efficient and effective manner,” reads Northern Connections, A Multi-modal Transportation–Blueprint for the North, which was released by Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut this month.

“And this access must be two-way.”

The report draws on an earlier national transportation strategy that called for some $97 billion in capital to be invested over the next decade.

Yukon’s 4,800 kilometres of road systems are ageing and incomplete, it says.

Its Whitehorse airport, which accommodates 200,000 passengers a year, needs modernization to address security concerns.

The report also calls for a port authority at the Beaufort Sea “as the possibility of an opened-up Northwest Passage becomes more real each day.”

This increased access will bring new concerns for maintenance of sovereignty, it warns.

And the report supports the Yukon Party government’s call for a railway link between Yukon and Alaska. A railway feasibility study conducted two years ago cost the territory $2 million.

Climate change, the strain of resource development on the current system and the remoteness of many coastal communities are challenges to improving northern infrastructure, according to the report.

“All Canadians must accept some responsibility for the costs associated with providing this system,” it says, proposing federal fuel tax revenues could pay for “a portion,” of the improvements. (BM)

Unsecured load

caused crash

A shifting load of lumber and supplies caused the crash that killed a Whitehorse pilot last June, according to an investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, the RCMP and the coroner.

Richard Rodger, 39, died of multiple blunt-force injuries when his de Havilland DHC-3T Turbo Otter crashed shortly after take off from the Mayo Airport on June 8.

The small plane tilted nose-up, then began to rotate to the right, crashing on the airport ramp, says the report released Friday.

It was carrying 1,000 kilograms of rough and finished lumber.

The entire load was secured with only a single strap.

That the finished lumber was piled first on the smooth surface of the cargo hold floor was a significant factor, says the report.

The wood was slippery, causing the load to shift.

“Friction that is between the cargo and deck does play a role in preventing cargo movement,” says the report.

“However, it remains inherently unreliable and should never be considered the sole means of cargo securement.” (BM)  

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