By Justin Seward
While the Highway 3 Twinning Development Association submitted ‘shovel ready’ sections to the UCP government earlier this spring, it was not total disappointment to be left off of the list.
Instead, H3TDA will do more advocating in hopes of digging a shovel in to improve the corridor.
“We weren’t actually, terribly disappointed on being left off of the shovel ready list,” said the H3TDA.
“We’ve gotten some further information from the minister (Transportation, Rick McIver) and really that money was intended for municipalities in a shovel ready projects, infrastructure. So municipal infrastructure versus more provincial capital improvements.”
The Association says the ministry is still considering additional stimulus, and they are uncertain as when that might occur for capital projects.
“We’re still holding out some hope,” the spokesperson said.
“As you saw the release the Medicine Hat Chamber did and also further to that was the policy that came about to all the chambers along the corridor, they put that forward, we released it because it didn’t get a chance to go to the AGM for the chambers to put it forward. We’re really thankful to many of our associate members and our reciprocal members because they help us to show there are more than just municipalities and people wanting this. Businesses want it.”
The Association is trying to grow their business memberships.
“Each time we gain those new members we try to release or provide some information regarding the industry,” the Association said.
Most recently, the H3TDA have been pushing community through their website and through social media.
“Unfortunately with COVID-19, all of the events we had planned this summer to exchange with communities and interact with communities, to get them to sign the petition and talk to the government, we couldn’t do that. We started doing that through our Facebook and our website,” said H3TDA.
The petition was created for people to sign to get Highway 3 twinned from B.C. to the Saskatchewan borders.
“Our goal is 10,000 before the end of the year,” said the H3TDA.
The petition is open for the rest of the year.
There were over 2,400 signatures, as of July 2.
“The people of Medicine Hat have been extremely supportive and have been signing that petition. We have a lot of support in Medicine Hat.”
Some of the rural communities have been a hit-and-miss when it comes to signing the petition.
“As you know in Bow Island, the current idea is a bypass and some in the community are not happy with a bypass. Some of the community are also not happy with the road going through their land,” H3TDA said.
“With those negative pieces, there’s still (a) positive because they all still believe something should occur.”
The H3TDA feels between the positive advocacy and the strategic plan that they do have the attention from Alberta.
“We have tremendous support from our MLAs,” H3TDA said.
“Drew Barnes, Grant Hunter, Mason Neudorf, and Michaela Glasgo are signed up to get the newsletters, they occasionally sit in on board meetings, they’ll respond in support.”
The MLAs have been advocating more recently for the job creation from the highway being twinned.
“If they did an accelerated design build, which is complicated, it allows multiple companies to build different sections because there is 13 sections,” H3TDA said.
The project could create up to 1,000 jobs.
The top priority sections in order are Taber to Burdett, Seven Persons to Medicine Hat (including the airport piece), Highway 22 (Lundbreck area) to the Piikani Nation, and lastly the Stage 1 Fort MacLeod bypass.
The 46-kilometre stretch from Taber to Burdett was announced on July 2 to start next year.