Advocacy

Advocacy Results and Progress

December 14, 2018 the Premier of Alberta announced the following projects affecting the County:

Project # 1: Hwy 40 Twinning, south of Grande Prairie

Project Description: 19km twinning project located between Norbord plant (south of the Wapiti River) and 68th Avenue (City of Grande Prairie). The twinning will include a second crossing of the Wapiti River, two bridge culvert replacements, nine intersection improvements, four traffic light installations, upgrading of existing lighting to LED standards, a pedestrian walkway on a new bridge, and the construction of a media mobile inspection station which will aid in the safety enforcement of the trucking industry.

Background Information: This highway improvement is important to facilitate economic development in the region – particularly oil & gas. Good for residents of Grande Prairie. More than 10,000 vehicles travel this segment of road per day.

Project # 2: Highway 43X Interchange

Project Description: The province is currently investing in building a bypass in Grande Prairie on Hwy 43X that will reduce congestion and improve traffic flow. Once the bypass is complete, a T-intersection was envisioned to control traffic through signalization. This project replaces the T-intersection with an interchange.

Background Information: This is an important quality of life announcement for Grande Prairie. Also helpful for business and industry. In Budget 2016, the GOA announced the construction of the Highway 43X bypass, which is expected to be completed in summer 2019. This new project/announcement, in conjunction with the bigger bypass project, will pull thousands of heavy trucks off the streets of GP. 

Government Funding for Critical Infrastructure Urgently Needed

The County of Grande Prairie wants citizens, businesses and community members to be aware of the efforts underway to secure Government funding for critical infrastructure as the Government of Alberta prepares a new budget expected for release early next year.

The projects outlined below are urgently needed to address health and safety risks to the public and increase economic prosperity in the region.  

County Council and senior administration are working collaboratively with other municipalities, industry members, community groups and other stakeholders to meet and/or share information with Alberta Ministers, Members of the Legislative Assembly, and senior staff to raise awareness of the needs.

Highway 40 Twinning/Upgrade 

Photo used with permission

Six people died and 87 were injured in vehicle accidents on the 16 km of Highway 40 running south from Grande Prairie in five years – over one-and-a-half times the average for provincial undivided highways.

Lives at Risk

  • Highway 40 is notorious for being one of Alberta’s most dangerous roads.
  • On the 16 km of Highway 40 running south from Grande Prairie to Township road 700, six people died and 87 were injured in vehicle accidents in five years (Jan. 2012- Dec. 2016).
  • The number of deaths and injuries is over one-and-a-half times the average for provincial undivided highways.
  • Although an upgrade and twinning of the highway is on the Government’s critical infrastructure list, it remains unfunded, putting lives at risk. 
  • It has only two lanes and a single two-way bridge, yet it swells with traffic volume as large, or larger than many four lane highways in the province.   
  • Traffic volumes have increased more than 200% in some locations over the past nine years.
  • The number of incidents on this highway continues to grow causing serious injury and death.
  • Safety considerations are so high that an Industry led coalition has been formed to address issues related to Highway 40.

Residents, businesses and community organizations can help stress the urgent need to fund the upgrade by sending a letter or email to their Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly  

The CBC news story found here is a prime example the hazards faced by motorists on this stretch of highway every day.  

Highway 40 Project Plan  

The ultimate plan is for a multi-lane highway 40 to be constructed in three phases:

Phase One

  • Twinning the highway from south of the City of Grande Prairie to the Wapiti River.

Phase Two

  • Twinning the highway from Wapiti River past the Norbord site to Township Road 700.

Phase Three

  • Double the lanes crossing the Wapiti River by constructing a second bridge beside the existing single two-way bridge.
  • Construct a new Southwest Resource Road connecting Highway 43 west and Highway 40 south.

Economic Growth at Risk

  • Highway 40 provides the only access to South Montney, a region with high potential for industrial growth and development.
  • The poor condition of highway 40 south of Grande Prairie is also severely impeding industrial development and economic growth.
  • Many new industrial projects delayed or abandoned due to a lack of proper road access.

Beaverlodge West County Health Facility

  • In early 2018, media reported the provincial government had cancelled planning for the new facility and that it is not on the most recent priority list for health facility capital projects.
  • There is very significant concern over the future of the hospital replacement project given the lack of direct information received by the Beaverlodge Health Care Planning Task Force and local communities. It is 10 months since these news reports. Our Reeve along with the Mayors of Beaverlodge, Wembley and Hythe also sought clarification from Ministers Hoffman and Jansen in March in a meeting in Edmonton.
  • The Beaverlodge Municipal Hospital is 62 years old – the oldest health facility owned and operated by Alberta Health Services.
  • A 2014 Alberta Health Services Capital Needs Assessment found the facility had “come to the end of its life cycle and has deteriorated beyond acceptable hospital standards and requires replacement.”
  • The Beaverlodge Hospital serves over 12,000 Northern Alberta residents, including the Town of Beaverlodge as well surrounding communities in the County of Grande Prairie, and First Nations and Metis populations.
  • The hospital handles over 30,000 patient visits annually.

Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum

  • The County of Grande Prairie owns the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum building and is requesting the Provincial government fund the facility as an ongoing provincial asset.  
  • The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is a world class, award-winning facility similar in class to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller and worthy of being included as one the province’s cultural assets. 
  • The museum is not just a local facility.  It is also an important historic resource, high quality tourist attraction and premium education and learning experience for all Albertans.
  • It would be fitting and appropriate for the Museum to be classified as a provincial asset giving it the same status and profile as other important provincial assets in Alberta.
  • As a provincial asset, the Museum would have greater opportunity for increased visibility and profile, ensuring that its state-of-the-art exhibits, activities and resources are accessible to all Albertans.
  • Visit the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum website for more information on this premier facility.