The County of Stettler met with three representatives from Alberta Transportation’s regional Red Deer office at the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) conference in Edmonton held Nov. 14 – 17.
Representing the county were CAO Tim Fox, Assistant CAO Yvette Cassidy and Deputy Reeve Les Stulberg, in addition to Stettler Mayor Dick Richards, who was the county guest at the conference.
Of concern to the county, was the poor condition of provincial secondary Hwy. 855, particularly the segment within the county boundaries, with Cassidy also having questions on funding for bridge repairs.
“Hwy. 855 has been a concern to the county and its ratepayers for some time — it’s rough conditions are posing serious safety hazards,” said Stulberg. “We’ve been lobbying for the repair of this highway for years, and it’s something I won’t give up on.”
The section of highway in question is in Stulberg’s ward of Byemoor-Endiang, with Hwy. 855 being the longest secondary highway in Alberta, stretching from Hwy. 9 near Hanna to Hwy. 63 near Fort McMurray
“We came away from the meeting encouraged — even though our ultimate goal of having 855 resurfaced with pavement was not considered at this time — the regional office indicated they are considering repairing the base of the highway next summer, to make it consistent with the better condition of the highway, outside county boundaries,” said Stulberg. “That would be a huge step in the right direction to make this highway safer and travel much smoother.”
Initially, the county had hoped to land a meeting with the Minister of Transportation Brian Mason.
“We have tried to get a meeting at the past two conventions, but to no avail,” Stulberg said. “Yet we feel fortunate to be heard by the regional office.”
The lack of ministerial meetings was a common concern at the conference among the many municipalities attending, according to Stulberg.
“Besides the information sessions, AAMDC business meetings and the networking with other rural municipalities, the AAMDC conference offers the opportunity to speak with and hear from members of the provincial government,” Stulberg added.