BURIN PENINSULA, NL — The need for increased cell phone service along the Burin Peninsula Highway is an ongoing issue for the peninsula with no resolution in sight.
Members of the Burin Peninsula Joint Council identified the issue as a concern as far back as 2012, when they planned a meeting with representatives from Bell Aliant.
Since then it has remained on the radar as an issue of concern. It was also a topic of discussion during the Joint Councils AGM held this past November, with committee member Jeff Pittman explaining they are still in talks with Bell Mobility in Ontario.
During a recent trip to the Burin Peninsula for an unrelated event, the Southern Gazette spoke with Premier Dwight Ball, as well as Placentia West-Bellevue MHA Mark Browne about the issue, which many on the peninsula view as a safety concern.
Browne said the provincial government is aware of people’s concerns in relation to cell phone service.
“It’s something that we’re going to be working with service providers and pressing them to provide the service that their customers are paying for,” he said.
“Any way that we can be a help to the service providers then we will be there to have those conversations.”
The premier said concern about lack of cellular coverage is not confined to the Burin Peninsula.
“What we see around the province, around a lot of our major roads there are some significant areas where cell coverage is not available and we’re working on that – it is a big problem.”
Ball said to help ensure the safety of residents travelling the province’s highways, government recently introduced a system identifying the location of snow plow operators.
“So there is more information (getting) out there; the snow plow tracker, getting some extra cameras the Burin Peninsula Highway – we see these as important steps and we’ll continue to work towards having better cell coverage.”
Ball said getting cell service on all major routes in the province is an expensive problem, “but we’re looking at some unique opportunities to do that, especially in the areas where you see those major gaps, and also in areas where you see long stretches of road without driving through communities.”