Ponoka County council is moving forward with the improvement project for the Highway 2A and Township 424 intersection at a cost of $500,000.
Council approved the motion to get the project going with its $250,000 contribution and a similar amount from Alberta Transportation at its meeting on May 9.
The project will see turning lanes added, along with an allowance of a wider turning radius for oversized loads. It was originally part of the tender the county approved last month for paving of Menaik Road and an industrial park. However, council wanted to wait on the intersection portion to see what contributions partners Alberta Transportation and Gemini Corp. would approve.
Confirmation was received of Alberta Transportation’s $250,000, but nothing has been heard back from Gemini. Cutforth therefore suggested the county chip in its $250,000 share and get the project moving, since the tender price is $250,000 lower than the engineering estimate and Gemini may provide some contribution at a later date.
Originally, the $750,000 estimated cost was to be equally shared by the partners, but given the economic situation facing Gemini and the pricing, the county felt pushing ahead was appropriate considering the county’s cost is not over what was budgeted.
Coun. Mark Matejka added the intersection would need to be upgraded anyway if the town goes forward with its planned subdividing of lots at the airport, something the town would likely expect the county to pay for without any town contribution.
The situation with the former Cutting Edge tire recycling facility is progressing according to Cutforth, who remains optimistic the issue will be resolved soon.
He informed council the period was extended for the sale and title transfer of the land to a new owner while two interested companies — one Canadian and one from Ukraine — are now looking to work together on a proposal to deal with the tires. Details that still need to be worked out include confirmation of a deal, potential for a development permit and negotiations in order to protect the county’s interests.
Council passed a motion to formally request Alberta Environment conduct a review and analysis of the present Whelp Creek drainage project following concerns expressed by Coun. Doug Weir about the amount of erosion occurring in the region.
Weir, who abstained from voting on the motion due to the situation impacting his land, noted the project began 25 years ago and there were no problems until about four or five years ago. Now, Weir added the issue has gotten so bad, there are deep and expanding trenches on his land from other landowners in the area channelling excess water into areas they shouldn’t be.
“With ownership of land changing hands a lot lately, some are using the ditches as drainage and it winds up suddenly flooding us out,” Weir said, adding he has had little to no luck the last 18 months attempting to get assistance on the situation from Alberta Environment.
Cutforth explained that the province created the project and therefore should examine the entire situation, meaning a request from council may carry more weight with the department than from an individual.