Minister green-lights upgrades to Hwy. 88 intersections

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

As mayor Tyler Warman tells it, council’s meeting with Alberta Transportation Minister Brian Mason at last month’s Alberta Urban Municipalities Association convention was full of surprises.

“We walked in and asked for a number of items and he kept saying yes!” Warman said, in his report on the conference at council’s Oct. 2 meeting.

That’s not the usual experience. The town has lobbied for years to get the province to do something to improve safety at the Hwy. 88 and Caribou Trail intersection. So has the Sawridge First Nation, but no dice.

Likewise on the desire of Slave Lake to have traffic signals at the intersection of Hwy. 2 and Hwy. 88. Not enough traffic to warrant the expense, was always the answer.

But now the breakthrough.

Warman says neither project is a done deal, since there are lots of steps to be worked through, not to mention a possible change in government next spring.

“But it’s movement,” he says. “That’s a huge success for our council.”

Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee – who also attended the AUMA conference – is understandably pleased with how things went.

“The minister had a lot of good news,” she says. “It was an exceptional meeting.”

Beyond that one meeting with Mr. Mason, Larivee says she was struck by how much the relationship between municipal leaders and the provincial government has improved since the first time they met at the AUMA in the fall of 2015. There was a certain ‘uneasiness’ back then, she says, that seems to have dissipated.

“People were happy to see us,” she says. “They know we’re working hard.”

Also brought forward at the AUMA was the desire for a new home for the ambulance service in Slave Lake. No breakthroughs to report there, but Larivee says the message was “well received,” by the Minister of Health.

Warman, in his remarks on the conference, added that town councillors also advocated for physician recruitment and diversity of health services.

Back with the Minister of Transportation, the lobby for kilometre markers was brought up again. Again, the news was good. Warman said funding has been identified for the signs for Hwy. 2 in the direction of Edmonton, at least. The M.D. of Lesser Slave River will be looking after the file, he said, and has been informed.

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