Take a look at the map below. That’s the reality for residents of North-East Trinidad. When the Valencia to Toco Highway is built, residents of the various villages, who conduct thriving businesses, will be left out in the cold.
Look at the map again. The proposed highway moves away from the villages between Valencia and Toco. A clear path is being made for the new highway where there will be no houses.
The plan is to build the new highway through bush and mountains.
Let’s take a look at the villages which will be sidelined with this new highway. After the Valencia Junction, the villages which will be left out will be the following – Matura, Salybia, Balandra, Rio Seco, Rampanalgas, and Cumuna.
As it stands now, people heading to Balandra, Salybia and Toco, usually stop at small businesses along the way to make purchases. These have come into handily for holiday makers. There is also one gas station between Valencia and Toco and that will be out of the way of the new highway.
What about the famous Matura Nature Centre, which at certain times of the year attract hundreds of people interested in seeing turtles come ashore at night?
Nature lovers will still be interested in going to Matura. There are numerous small vendors along the Toco Main Road. What will become of them? Even Martin Terry Rondon, outgoing chairman of the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation, would want to know. His constituents would want answers.
The old Toco Main Road will remain in use, but motorists will now have the luxury of using a new highway to reach their destination faster than before.