After a frustrating and long debate the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee is sending a recommendation to council for funding for pre-designs of emergency and construction roads.
These roads would be apart of Abasand, Beacon Hill, Waterways and Wood Buffalo making up six options for a debate.
- Abasand and Beacon Hill Secondary Access Road: A gravel road west of Abasand, going south between the Horse and Hangingstone Rivers along the utility corridor connecting with the landfill site. A roadway segment from Beacon Hill will also connect starting south of the community, extending westward and crossing the Hangingstone River over a bailey bridge. There may be an option to connect this road with Highway 63 at Saprae Creek Trail intersection, in the future.
- Abasand Emergency Egress Road: From the top of Abasand, at Abbottswood Drive, down to Abasand Drive (just north of Grayling Terrace). There is an additional option to see this road connect with Highway 63 for southbound traffic only.
- Beacon Hill Secondary Access Road: A gravel road which would connect to the existing service road west of Highway 63 to the first intersection in the Beacon Hill community on Beacon Hill Drive.
- Beacon Hill Emergency Egress Road: A gravel egress route allowing traffic to exit along, Beacon Hill Drive, and
to connect with Highway 63 southbound.
- Wood Buffalo Emergency Egress Road: A paved connection between Wood Buffalo and Thickwood by upgrading an existing three paved trail between Woodward Lane and Wolverine Drive.
- Waterways/Lower Townsite Emergency Access, Saline Creek Parkway: A gravel road which would connect Waterways with Saline Creek Parkway whiling aligning to the existing Saline Creek Parkway by the Airport running perpendicular to the Clearwater Valley slope on top of Saline Creek Plateau. This will be an alternate route to Highway 63 between the Athabasca Bridge and Saprae Creek Trail.
The request to council is to put aside $100,000 for the pre-designs though the total estimated costs of the all six pre-designs is $540,000.
Though the committee unanimously supported the motion it was far from an easy decision. Scheduling was a big issue as the timelines being set and the time taken to make the designs weren’t lost by the committee members.
“We could have gotten pre-design money for you in August, it sat there from August till now without pre-design,” said Councillor Sheldon Germain. “I’m disappointed and I don’t know what happened.”
Councillor Keith McGrath was the first to show his disapproval of the timing. His issue being the time when construction could start which is being planned for spring of next year.
“Our biggest concern was getting into Beacon Hill, getting into Abasand and I’m just wondering where are we at with that, because that’s not knew, this was asked by council on June 28 and I don’t get a comfortable feeling from this presentation,” said McGrath.
In the end the main request from the committee was to get haul routes created as fast as possible to make sure emergency vehicles can use the roads and construction vehicles don’t need to use the main roads to get in and out.
After focusing their views on haul routes and not delaying the process anymore they voted in favor of sending it to council. The earliest council can view the request would be November 1.