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Highway, coastal service and I.P.P.C

Port aux Basques
Port aux Basques

The possibility of a west coast highway was one of the proposals of the Squires Liberal Party during the election campaign of 1928.

In early July of 1929 Mr. Frank Pike from Port aux Basques, along with the Government Engineer Mr. Hall and road Constructor Mr. Cooke, looked at the road work being done from Port aux Basques to St. Andrews which would be part of the highway project.

In early July of 1929 Mr. Frank Pike from Port aux Basques, along with the Government Engineer Mr. Hall and road Constructor Mr. Cooke, looked at the road work being done from Port aux Basques to St. Andrews which would be part of the highway project.

The first six miles was proving to be very difficult work but they were very optimistic about its success. A work crew was within three miles of The Rivers or St. Andrews. The benefits of this cross country highway, when it finally reached the Peninsula of Avalon, would be of great benefit to St. John's.  The West Coast was fast becoming a factor to reckon with and no doubt motor cars and trucks would soon be seen on the roads instead of the horse and cart.

In August a private company, the Basques Shipping Company Limited, was operating the first real coastal service on the southwest corner. Their steamer, the former S.S.Arichat, renamed S.S.Basques, provided mail, freight and passenger service between Port aux Basques and Ramea. The vessel called at the following ports both going down the coast and returning: Fox Roost, Isle aux Morte, Burnt Islands, Rose Blanche, Harbour Le Cou, Petites, West Point, La Poile, Grand Bruit, Otters Point, Red Island, Deer Island, Fox Island, Burgeo and Ramea.                                                                                                  

In 1930 a temporary shipping office for the International Pulp and Paper Company in Port aux Basques was staffed by its employees from Corner Brook. The I.P.P.C was an American firm whose headquareters were in Memphis, Tennessee. The Company operated a mill in Corner Brook,Newfoundland, to supply newsprint for American newspapers. The Corner Brook mill was situated inland at the bottom of a large Bay and winter shipping was often delayed because of heavy ice. Port aux Basques was a relatively “ice free” port and a proposal was made to build shipping facilites at the western terminal. In light of this the south western Port had been surveyed and inspected previously in 1928. One of the paper Company’s cargo ships, S.S.Humber, had even made a trip into the harbour to ensure that there was plenty of room for such large vessels. Later on a site had been chosen on Ford’s Island but there was no construction.

Now, in January of 1930, the Paper Company officials had decided upon a trial period. Arrangements had been made for the three winter months. Company Staff from the Corner Brook shipping department, men and women, were sent out to Port aux Basques to supervise the work. Among the earliest cargo ships to load newsprint at Port aux Basques were the steamers S.S.Gunny, and S.S.Nord, both Norwegian ships, and S.S,Betty, a British cargo ship. In total, around fifty thousand tons of newsprint paper was sent out through the port that year.

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