New obstacles for M.D. in re-routing Old Smith Highway

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

The M.D. of Lesser Slave River has a new monkeywrench in the works on its planned re-routing of a piece of Hwy. 2A. This is the project required because the road is inexorably sliding into the Lesser Slave River. It has been in the planning for several years and required the purchase of a quarter section of land, recently accomplished.

But not so fast: it turns out due to certain “geo-technical” issues, the new route can’t be contained within that quarter section. It would have to stray onto somebody else’s land, and the owners are understandably not eager to have a road running through their yard.

This puts the M.D. in a double dilemma. Or maybe even triple. For one thing it makes it less likely the project could qualify as one of the ‘shovel-ready’ ones the government is looking to fund in its economic stimulus effort.
Beyond that, the alternatives are both unpalatable. One is to do a very much more expensive re-routing that would avoid the private property in question. The other is to expropriate the needed land, if a an agreement to purchase it can’t be achieved.

“The choices are a new route or expropriation,” said CAO Allan Winarski.
“That’s using a really big hammer. Thus far they don’t want to sell.”

Councillor Brad Pearson asked if it wouldn’t work to install sheet piles to secure the bank from slipping.

“It’s been tried before,” said reeve Murray Kerik. “That thing just keeps pushing down the hill.”

Council accepted the report as information, meaning no decision was made.
Administration will keep working on it, meaning (perhaps among other things), attempts to negotiate another land purchase will be made.

“If need be we’ll use a land agent,” said Winarski.

Share this post

Post Comment