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EDITORIAL: P.E.I.'s Highway 2 is an obstacle course

A large pothole remains untouched on Eisener Boulevard in Dartmouth Tuesday. The pothole was spray painted back in March, but city crews have yet to repair the hole in the road.
It’s not unusual for side roads to be littered with potholes in the springtime, but the main drags? P.E.I.'s Highway 2, in particular, is a mess. - SaltWire file photo

Islanders would surely fare well in an obstacle course challenge.

We are, after all, getting lots of practice during our daily commutes.

It’s not unusual for side roads to be littered with potholes in the springtime, but the main drags?

Highway 2, in particular, is a mess.

For the most part, though, it is only the top layer of asphalt that has given way along the main drive. A few direct hits will not likely cause any damage to a vehicle’s suspension, but the repeated thumps are bound to take their toll, both on the vehicle and on its passengers, especially on the one paying for the upkeep of the vehicle.

Through time, drivers are becoming wise to where the worst bumps are located and they are finding their way around them. A classic example is a stretch of highway near the Northam turn-off. Most of the regular users of the highway just routinely drive in the passing lane through that stretch to avoid the roughest patches. It might be interesting, though, for a passenger to secretly count how many times a tire drops into one of the shallow holes over a, say, 10-km stretch of highway and then get the driver to guess the number.

Highway repairs are challenging at the best of times, but those thin patches are even harder to fix and for the fix to stick. The long-term solution seems to be for paving companies to do a better job of making sure the layers of asphalt properly bond together so the top layer cannot strip away.

Same old problem

Island lobster fishermen continue to get paid less for their catch than many of their mainland counterparts, sometimes 25 to 50 cents per pound less.

To the non-fisher, that might not seem like a lot, but, over an entire season, a 25-cent-per-pound difference on a 30,000-pound catch amounts to a $7,500 loss to the captain. Across the industry, it’s a big loss to the provincial economy.

The shore price is up slightly over last year, and, while some ports are down, the overall landings for the first half of the season are believed to be up. That sounds good on the surface, but input costs, including bait, fuel and wages, are high.

One of the lowest input costs is the one-cent-per-pound levy that is deducted from fishermen’s catches to go towards marketing and promotion. That promotion is helping to put Prince Edward Island lobster on the map but so far it hasn’t offset the price difference.

But that levy helps drive home how important it is to Prince Edward Island’s economy for P.E.I. fishermen to be paid at par with their mainland counterparts.

Part of the reason for the price difference is much of the product landed by Island fishermen goes to processing while a higher percentage of the mainland catch is sold to the live market where prices are generally higher.

Prince Edward Island does benefit greatly from all those processing jobs the lobster industry creates, but the very people who supply the raw product are taking a loss.

That one cent levy, on 38-million pounds of lobster Island fishermen landed last year, raised $380,000 for marketing and promotion. By extension, every one-cent increase Island lobster fishermen receive for their catch mounts to another $380,000 the Island’s lobster fleet has to spend on groceries, trucks, boats and anything else. Every cent helps. Twenty-five of them amounts to another $9.5 million.

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