LABRADOR STRAITS, NL – Parking lot safety at the Blanc Sablon ferry terminal is still a major concern for L’Anse au Loup Mayor Trent O’Brien.
The mayor, who is also the president of the Combined Councils of Labrador, says a significant amount of work has been completed at the building over the past few months.
“It does look a lot better and it does seem to be at a more comfortable temperature,” he said. “We haven’t had any issue yet so far this season with the water freezing up and failing. We’ll have to wait and see what happens there.”
However, O’Brien is still worried about the safety of vehicles coming out of the parking lot.
“I’ve seen a lot of near-accidents at the ferry terminal – vehicles that have almost gotten hit, people that have almost gotten hit,” he said.
O’Brien knows of fender benders but fortunately, there haven’t yet been any serious accidents that he is aware of.
He believes the parking lot is a little undersized given the level of traffic passing through.
Furthermore, it’s located at a steep grade, which can be icy in the wintertime, and he said some people tend to drive at excessive speeds.
In many cases, people park their vehicle head-on, near the corner of the building, and, therefore, have to back out onto the road.
With the building in the way, they cannot necessarily see what, if anything, is coming down the hill.
O’Brien feels people tend to park “all over the place” as well, whether or not a parking spot is available.
This, he says, further impairs visibility for those trying to pull out of the parking lot.
“When you put those factors (together), it is a high-risk situation that a lot of people aren’t comfortable with,” said O’Brien.
He feels the marshalling area itself, where you park after getting your ticket and before boarding the ferry, is working “just fine” at present.
For O’Brien, one potential solution would be to put another lane at the top of the hill with a ticket booth where people could get their tickets and then head down to the waiting area afterwards.
He says it could be similar to the set up at the ferry terminal in Port aux Basques.
“That way you wouldn’t have a bottleneck of people waiting at this building,” he said. “I’m not saying this is the only way to do it, or even the best way, but it is one idea.”