By Trevor Busch
Municipalities across southern Alberta are banding together to support the twinning of Highway 3, and the Town of Taber has endorsed an application by the Town of Pincher Creek seeking provincial grant funding for a study of the many benefits of such a project.
At their Feb. 22 regular meeting, town council voted unanimously to resolve to support the Town of Pincher Creek’s application, on behalf of the Highway 3 Economic Development Association, for funding from the Alberta Community Partnership Inter-Municipal Collaboration Grant to update and develop a study of the economic and safety benefits of twinning Highway 3, with the Town of Pincher Creek to serve as the managing partner.
“The main reason is — just like up north with Highway 63, they probably lobbied a lot for that — it’s our time that our highway becomes safer,” said Mayor Henk DeVlieger. “Even this section out to Lamb-Weston, it’s busy, and it’s scary. It’s bound to happen that more people are going to die on these highways. So personally I think it’s a very important issue.”
The Town of Taber is a member of the Highway 3 Economic Development Association, which is advocating for twinning and other upgrades of Highway 3 along its route across southern Alberta. Mayor DeVlieger currently serves as the town’s representative to the Highway 3 Economic Development Association.
“As you know, there’s been some accidents that have been tragic out on Highway 3, there are other elements that would be more positive,” said CAO Greg Birch. “Aside from safety, there’s economic development elements.”
A significant portion of the Town of Taber’s Strategic Plan is based around taking advantage of Taber’s location in proximity to Highway 3.
“We (the association) really want to focus on the safety and the twinning of Highway 3, from the B.C. border to Medicine Hat,” said DeVlieger. “We want to create a document to lobby, and make a strong case, with all of the communities that are involved from the B.C. border to Medicine Hat. We need facts and figures on all that stuff, so we hired a person on a temporary basis to get all of this information together from all of the municipalities, and combine it and make it into one document, that we can go to the ministers that are involved and lobby for how important it is for us to not only just twin Highway 3, but take the unsafe intersections and sections out of it.”
At the regular meeting of the Highway 3 Economic Development Association on Feb. 5, a motion was passed to request all municipalities along the Highway 3 corridor to pass resolutions in support of a grant application.
“We all know that in the last couple of months we’ve had a couple of fatalities here, just on the east side of Taber, and there’s been some fatalities on the other side. So that is the reason behind it. We have that person hired — we have only $14,000 in the kitty — so Pincher Creek volunteered to spearhead that and see what we can get,” concluded DeVlieger.