Bottlenecks in transport hamper the economic development in the Gaspé peninsula

Photo: Thierry Haroun
Freight trains link me more Gaspé, because of the disuse of the railway.

The economic boom of the Gaspé peninsula is constrained by transport infrastructure, obsolete or unsuitable, who are unable to meet the needs of industrial and other actors concerned by this problem, become a major issue of the election campaign in full swing in the peninsula.

The european market of fresh lobster, a potential pool of 500 million consumers, always escapes to the industry in the gaspé of the lobster fishery. The Gaspé region has no airport, “worthy of the name” — to borrow the expression of several politicians, which puts a brake on the export of fresh lobster, which must be delivered in 48 hours. None of the four airports in the region, including Bonaventure, or Great-River, can not meet the requirements (runway too short, no service, cargo, or jumbo, etc) in this market.


Result, only the frozen lobster has been exported to the Old Continent and Asia. “The export potential of the fresh lobster is much larger now with the free trade agreement Canada-Europe. Regardless of the place, it’ll take us an airport and a carrier to meet this demand, it is an important case for the whole of the Gaspé peninsula, ” explained Gino Cyr, candidate for mayor of Grande-Rivière and director-general of Gimxport, a firm that specializes in the export of products around the world.


The préfète outgoing of the MRC du Rocher-Percé, Nadia Minassian, is of the same opinion. “The problem, in fact, it is that the lobster industry to bear this folder. In other words, the government and others say that in order to be able to finance such an infrastructure, we must demonstrate its usefulness, ” she argued, before adding that the loss of population in the Gaspésie, is the biggest obstacle to the upgrading of transport infrastructure as a whole. “We are being asked to return, but we will not be able to. Listen, the records of transportation in the Gaspé peninsula are very complex to analyze : we have a lot of infrastructure to maintain, over a large territory, and very few people to use them. By against, we must have government support in the context of the dynamic occupation of the territory ! “

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“It is a question of economic vitality for our businesses,” says the outgoing mayor of Bonaventure, Roch Audet.



Trains old


200 km from here, the outgoing mayor of Gaspé, Daniel Côté, pray to all the gods, that the goods train connects to new Gaspé, which is not the case for years due to the disuse of the rail. “It will slow our economic momentum on the plan of the wind farm. On average, there are six blades per day leaving the factory for LM Windpower in Gaspé by truck. Each blade is accompanied by a convoy of five vehicles, including two of the Sûreté du Québec. It costs money to the company, it plays on its competitiveness, and that night traffic. “Quebec has committed to invest $ 100 million over the next few years for the rehabilitation of the rail to the gaspé, which, for the moment, is depending on up to New Richmond, where leave by train the blades from Gaspé.


Other challenges


In Percé, Cathy Poirier, candidate for mayor and co-owner of a company of smoked salmon, explains that when Orléans Express has substantially reduced its services in the Gaspé peninsula in 2015, she is seen in the obligation to invest in a fleet of trucks to ensure distribution of its products. “This is not a service that is cost-effective, far from it. But I had to find a solution. “


“The case of the transport infrastructure is the reason for which I represent,” said from the outset, the Duty of the mayor outbound Chandler, Louisette Langlois. It has made the transfer of its sea port and its priority. It is the property of the federal, but she wants it to become the property of the City so that it has a free hand. The negotiations in this direction are in progress. “We have projects for the trans-shipment industry. We want to develop, then it is better to be the owner. “Finally, in the Haute-Gaspésie, not less than $ 4 million are to be invested to upgrade the airport of Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. The prefect was coming out of the MRC of Haute-Gaspésie, Allen Cormier, made it a priority. “It is an infrastructure that serves, among others, in the emergency evacuation of patients by air ambulance “, reminds us at the end of the wire, former journalist.

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