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SACKVILLE, N.B. – The provincial government is currently considering additional precautions with regards to the hazards posed by moose crossing local highways, particularly in the Timber River to Cape Tormentine area.
A collision with a large moose claimed the lives of both occupants of a small car on Dec. 29 in the Malden area; one of many mishaps involving moose that have occurred in the region over the past several years.
At a public meeting held last week at the community hall in Baie Verte, Tantramar MLA and Minister of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Mike Olscamp told the large number of seniors gathered that he is currently looking into the best way of reducing highway mishaps involving moose on local roads.
"It's possible that moose can cross any of the roads in this area but this area is a hot zone; the odds are a lot higher that something will happen there. I've been talking with (Transportation Minister) Claude Williams about what can be done to help with this situation," Olscamp said.
He added that enhanced signage between Port Elgin and the Confederation Bridge, in addition to bush cutting along some side roads over the past several years, has improved the line of vision for motorists. Olscamp noted there are three options for dealing with moose on highways, including erecting fencing - which has been done in several areas of the province - the installation of lighting in high moose-traffic areas and culling of excess animals within a region.
"Fencing hasn't always proven effective. It's very expensive and you have to install gates when fences are across private properties; and gates can allow a breech in the security that fences are intended to provide. In the Neguac area they've put in lighting and that seems to be working quite well for them; so I'm going to go after getting lighting installed in this area," he said.
Olscamp noted he will be meeting with representatives of the Department of Natural Resources later this week to discuss the possibility of a cull of moose in the local region during this year's fall moose hunting season. However, he also added that regardless of what measures are taken to address the moose hazard, motorists must also accept some responsibility and reduce their speed on local highways. He added that fast-moving traffic travelling towards Port Elgin after crossing the Confederation Bridge compounds the problem.
"You can never stop the possibility of accidents, we know that; but slowing your driving speed gives you a better chance of being able to stop more quickly in an emergency situation," he said.