South Peace News
Funding to pave roads, repair a local museum building, and progress on a water project in Triangle were requested to Big Lakes County as council drafts interim and final budgets for 2018.
Four delegations presented requests at the county community budget input meeting Nov. 1.
“We are open to suggestions, so we can determine our priorities,” Reeve Ken Matthews says.
“We have a limited budget and we have seen a reduction in linear revenue.”
The first delegation was from Shaw’s Point Resort, which requested funding to upgrade the road into the resort.
“We’re looking for support from the county to pave the road,” says resort co-owner Ryan Herben, who was accompanied by co-owner and founder Carson Porisky.
Their request to pave the 2.2-km. road was previously presented to council June 14.
“It’s not a want, it’s a need,” says Porisky, who established the popular resort on the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake in 1985.
Herben says the road has become a safety concern for motorists as traffic volumes grow into the resort and Hilliard’s Bay Provincial Park.
One new councillor says tourism is a valuable part of the region.
“Tourism is something we have to look at, and the municipality has to look at making the road safer,” Grouard Councillor Fern Welch says.
Matthews also noted the county is taking steps to raise the profile of tourism.
“Tourism is a part we are looking at with economic development,” he Matthews.
A second request to pave a road was presented by Hilliard’s Bay Estates.
“It’s something we’ve been asking for eight years,” says Guy Mathieu, who chairs the paving committee of the estate’s condominium association.
Cost is estimated at $1.3 to $1.4 million, says property owner Bernie Krahn, who is a manager of a gravel supplier in Grande Prairie.
Council will review the request.
“We will consider it and get the process going,” Matthews says.
One councillor suggests the project could be most feasible under a private-public partnership [P3] concept.
“Government supports and encourages P3 projects,” Prairie Echo – Salt Prairie Councillor David Marx says.
“Would you be willing to go into a P3 partnership?”
CAO Brideau says the next step is for council to discuss options.
The High Prairie and District Museum and Historical Society requested $24,000 to upgrade the museum’s east wall that has deteriorated by water and weather and seeped through to the interior and damaged some of the artifacts.
Society secretary Linda Koesveld told council that the Town of High Prairie has also been approached for the same request for the project, which has been estimated at about $100,000-$110,000.
“We have been advised that any delay in repairs threatens not only the collection, but also the loss of the entire building,” Koesveld says.
Eavestroughing will also be added to the building.
Koesveld says the society is seeking other funding sources and has applied for a grant from the provincial Community Facility Enhancement Program under Alberta Culture and Tourism.
Triangle-area resident Louise Liebenberg urged council to proceed with the proposed waterline, reservoir and truck fill estimated at $1.5 million.
“Residents are really motivated to get on line and willing to contribute funding,” Liebenberg says on behalf of residents.
“It will provide us with water and increase the value of our properties.”
CAO Roy Brideau says the plans for the project continue and design work is in progress.
He notes that construction could start in 2018.