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Blockade in the works

GRAND FALLS, N.B. -- Residents of Grand Falls are threatening to block the Trans-Canada Highway if the provincial g...


GRAND FALLS, N.B. — Residents of Grand Falls are threatening to block the Trans-Canada Highway if the provincial government doesn’t honor a pledge made last year.

More than 70 members of the community met at the town hall Tuesday night and gave the government until Jan. 15 to announce the completion of an extension and renovations to the Grand Falls General Hospital. The project is worth $2.5 million and residents want to see the sum allotted in the next budget.

Last December, Dr. Dennis Furlong, then the health minister, promised $4 million in funding to complete work on the hospital. The extension was built in the early 1990s by the McKenna government but never completed inside. The province allotted $1.5 million for the hospital project in the 2001-02 budget and promised the balance within a year.

Earlier this month, N.B. Health Minister Elvy Robichaud announced the hospital will only receive $500,000 in the coming budget to complete technical drawings and renovation plans.

The group “will accept nothing less,” says Helidore Cote, president of the local lobby group.

“A number of them want to block the Trans-Canada to get their point across,” says Cote, a former Liberal MLA.

“People are talking about it in the streets. When our population revolts, something that’s never been seen here before, it will be because of the Conservative regime.”

The group adds it has sent letters outlining its demands to Premier Bernard Lord, Dr. Furlong, Robichaud, Transportation Minister Percy Mockler, whose nearby Saint-Leonard riding is served by the hospital, and local MLA Jean-Guy Laforest.


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