South Peace News
Driving will be smoother on a highway north of High Prairie later in 2019.
Big Lakes County learned that the provincial government will pave Highway 679.
Transportation Minister Brian Mason confirmed that is a letter to the reeve.
“I am pleased to confirm that the final paving from east of Highway 749 to Highway 750 is scheduled to take place in the 2019 construction season,” Mason says in the letter to Reeve Richard Simard dated Dec. 19.
A county delegation discussed several priorities with Mason at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta fall convention Nov. 20-22.
“That project is well needed,” Reeve Richard Simard says.
A road to the popular Hilliard’s Bay Provincial Park may also get funding for an upgrade.
“As a municipal roadway, the Hilliard’s Bay park access road is eligible for funding under the Local Municipal Initiative component of the Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program [STIP],” Mason says.
“This project will be considered and prioritized against all provincial submissions.”
It’s been a long road for the county to get government support for that project.
“Hilliard’s Bay road is something council has been working at for quite a few years,” Simard says.
“We are always hopeful that the funding will be approved since the road is well used and in need of pavement.”
Mason says he expects the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program will enhance STIP in 2019.
The county asked Mason about funding for a project to add potable water and a rural water line for Grouard.
“It is something that needs to be done,” Simard says.
“Our goal is to provide water and sewer to all hamlets.”
The Water for Life grant program funds new regional water supply and treatment facilities and wastewater treatment facilities, Mason says in the letter.
“Although rural water distribution is not eligible for funding, dedicated funding is available to provide access to potable water for Indigenous communities as part of our commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples when practical and feasible,” Mason says.
The county got more than what they expected from the minister.
“We were scheduled for 30 minutes and we were there for about one hour,” Simard says.
The delegation included county councillors Fern Welch, Ken Matthews, David Marx, Ken Killeen, CAO Jordan Panasiuk and Town of Swan Hills Mayor Craig Hill.
The delegation also discussed issues about a new long-term operation agreement for the Swan Hills Treatment Centre that treats environmental hazardous waste.