The construction of a bridge over the Saguenay River would allow the region of the North Shore and of Labrador (a region larger than France) to be connected to the rest of the continent.
These two regions alone represent 6% of the area of Canada. Labrador (28, 000 people) represents 72% of the territory of Newfoundland while the North Shore (population 100, 000) represents 20% of Quebec territory.
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The North-Shore supply:
- 35% of Quebec aluminium
- 35% of the expedition of minerals
- 30% of the hydroelectricity
- 25% of maritime unloading
- 15% of forest products of the region
The region has the higher exportation rate of the province with 78% of the regional production. All those ressources goes by boat or road 138.
The costs for North Shore industry
The industrialists in the lumber industry have affirmed that it costs them 2.6 million$ per year in direct expenses caused by waiting lines, delays and the precariousness related to the crossing of the Saguenay4 and as much in indirect expenses. They estimate that approximately 35,800 trucks used the ferry in 2001 to transport their products. Knowing that this same year, the Tadoussac ferry transported 146,377 truck-trailers and 18,803 trucks, the annual cost to the North Shore industry for the crossing of the Saguenay at Tadoussac can be estimated at 12 M$ yearly without considering that the sustained increase of road haulage in the region for more than 15 years which in the future will bring a continuous increase in the costs in present value dollars, which will be avoided by the construction of a bridge. Only the construction of a bridge could reverse the actual tendency of cost increases and so the noncompetitiveness of the regional industries already affected by the remoteness of the region.
The Labrador Economy
Fishing, hydroelectricity and mining are important industries here. The discovery of the largest nickel deposit in the world at Voisey's Bay and its export generate huge economic spin-offs. The actual reserves have been evaluated at more than 60 B$. What's more, harnessing the Churchill River at Gull Island (4 B$) and at Muskrat Falls (2.8 B$) will allow a major hydroelectric development. The continuity, the reliability and the safety of a road link takes on capital importance in order to assure the exploration and development of the territory. The Labrador and North Shore economies are closely linked, in particular, the town of Seven Islands is the shipping port for the iron ore produced in Wabush and Labrador City.
The 2nd and 3rd transformation of resources
A bridge would allow 2nd and 3rd transformation businesses to emerge and make contact with the rest of the country via a safe, dependable road network on which traffic flows smoothly. This would create jobs in the region because untransformed resources are presently exported out of the country mainly by maritime transport.
Competitiveness of businesses
The disappearance of the ferry boats would allow big businesses and others to improve their competitiveness in continental markets by reducing their access time to the mainland (about 90 minutes for a return trip according to wood industrialists) 2 and the hazardous delays due to the ferry boat services. These are presently weakened by the unpredictable delays and dangers of the road network which add to the already exceptional remoteness when compared to their competitors. Transport costs are increased by delays in waiting at the ferry and this reduces accordingly the profit margin of the businesses in the region. In this context, a bridge would generate better opportunities for job creation.
The construction of a bridge over the Saguenay River would allow the reconstruction of the social and economic fabric of the region and this to be followed by the rapid construction of this territory, newly oxygenated by a safe roadwork where traffic flows smoothly.