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Hampton calls on province to act swiftly over Sioux Narrows bridge crisis

Dear Premier:
I am writing you regarding the closure of the Sioux Narrows Bridge (Highway 71) and the problems facing the economy of Northwestern Ontario. While cars can still use the bridge, heavy trucks cannot.
The loss of the bridge for truckers and their customers in the cattle and forest products industries is a very serious matter.
Ministry officials say a replacement bridge will be constructed by next January. In the meantime, however, cattle producers face a 400 km detour. That will have a very serious impact on local producers.
Lengthy detours mean serious revenue losses in the cattle industry of the region, which the industry cannot afford. Cattle cannot travel from Rainy River through the US and into Manitoba due to the US government restrictions.
The local forest industry also faces serious problems. The bridge closure will double trucking costs. Many truckers right now make a very small profit margin. Many contracts have deadlines that cannot now be met. This could mean the cancellation of contracts. At the very least it will double the driving time and reduce delivery from two trips per day to one.
I am asking you in the strongest terms to offer a program of compensation to businesses that can show losses stemming from the closure of the bridge. This letter has pointed out two particular sectors, but other businesses also will be seriously affected.
Premier, this is a serious and costly problem to the residents of Northwestern Ontario. Everyone needs to be re-assured that your government is listening and is willing to act upon this quickly and positively.
Howard Hampton, MPP
Kenora-Rainy River