Ponoka County concerns over Mainroad’s maintenance of area highways seem to have been taken seriously, but only time will tell if the county and residents will be satisfied. Black Press file

Highways should be in better shape after complaints

Ponoka County took issues to Mainroad and the province to get action

Motorists from Ponoka County and other areas should see better conditions on the various highways after county officials took their concerns to both the current maintenance contractor and numerous provincial civil service personnel and politicians.

An update on those discussions was provided by CAO Charlie Cutforth to council at its meeting on Nov. 26.

“After trying to get a meeting with Mainroad several times, I’ve been able to talk with their general manager in Vancouver. They are verbally willing, but so far no actual commitments,” he said.

“In the meantime, they have ramped up their services considerably with extra units on the roads.”

Cutforth added the company is using liquid calcium treatment on area highways prior to a snowfall or freezing rain to lower the melting point and try to keep the roads from icing over as quickly.

“So, we’ve had no issues since and they are confident they can handle it,” he said.

As for some of the roads west of Rimbey that weren’t being looked after with any consistency, Cutforth explained Mainroad will take a further look at the issue once winter is done.

The company has also indicated it will be setting up a facility in Rimbey soon, as it has become apparent that coming from the facility in Pigeon Lake isn’t working for that area.

Reeve Paul McLauchlin added the complaints about highway maintenance were taken right up to the Transportation Minister.

“I did tell the minister that Ponoka County and adjacent counties would fix it as we are not taking the hit from this,” McLauchlin said.

“It was the worst I’ve ever seen, so I think we will have to be vigilant. I expect now, we will have a good season.”

Legal challenge

The county will be represented by its retained law firm in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Wetaskiwin on Dec. 19 as Ponoka’s Right to Farm landowner group continues to look at having the Northwest Area Structure Plan (ASP) overturned.

The hearing will see lawyers from both sides present their arguments in front of the judge regarding the validity of the plan.

It is anticipated any decision will be reserved by the judge for a yet to be determined date in order to mull over the arguments and evidence presented.

Special donation

Council approved handing $1,500 to the Lacombe Special Olympics in the 2020 budget.

The motion was brought forward by Coun. Bryce Liddle as the organization, which includes athletes from Ponoka County and surrounding area, is experiencing a shortfall in its funding with their usual donations from businesses and corporations getting harder to come by in the present economy.

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