Labrador town nearly runs out of toilet paper due to backlogged cargo flights

By: Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
For the last couple of weeks adverse weather has delayed flights getting in or out of communities on the north coast of Labrador.
This time of year, before the shipping season starts, the Inuit and Innu communities on the north coast rely entirely on flights for medical and recreational travel, and cargo such as food and toiletries.
The community of Nain, the furthest north in Labrador, almost ran out of toilet paper and other essentials last week before a flight got some cargo in.
Air Borealis, the airline that operates flights in the area, told SaltWire Network it is working to clear the backlog of cargo and passenger traffic, as soon as the weather allows.
“Air Borealis’s flight operations have been impacted for the last couple of weeks by a persistent pattern of fog, drizzle and rain, which is unusual for coastal Labrador at this time of year,” Air Borealis director Travis Barbour said in an emailed statement. “This has created a cargo backlog at our Goose Bay warehouse facility, which we are prepared to clear as soon as possible when weather conditions permit.”
Dicker said he’s aware of people who are stuck in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, waiting to get back to the coast. That can get pricey, he said, since not everyone knows people they can stay with in the area, or is travelling for medical reasons. Since medical flights have also been unable to get in or out, Dicker said, they’ve just been lucky nothing serious has occurred that would require an immediate flight.
Cellular service has been out in the community since May 5 and they are waiting on technicians and equipment to get in to repair damage to a tower, Dicker said, which is also delayed by bad weather.
He said over the last 20 years it’s been noticeable how the weather has changed in the region, which has affected both air travel and travel by boat.
“It’s gotten warmer and warmer, and that has a lot of impacts,” he said. “We see what climate change is doing and it isn’t going away. This problem won’t go away.”