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County council spends big on capital

$14.5 mil in roads, bridges, broadband get go-ahead

Sturgeon County council turned on the spending taps last week for some $14.5 million in spring road, flood prevention and broadband expansion projects. 

County councillors voted April 27 in favour of adding 27 road, bridge and flood mitigation projects to this year’s work plan funded with $4,434,895 from reserves. 

The 27 road and bridge projects were ones that were scheduled to go ahead next year but could easily be tacked on to projects planned for this construction season, council heard. 

Council agreed to spend $450,000 to replace a culvert bridge that washed out last summer on Range Road 263, cutting off road access to three homes. Coun. Wayne Bokenfohr said those residents have had to live with a temporary bridge for about a year now that was not strong enough to support RVs and trailers.  

The county had applied for disaster relief money that should offset this cost, said transportation manager Gary Mayhew. 

Also approved was a three-year $750,000 plan to repave about four kilometres of Meadowview Drive. Mayhew said Meadowview was a very high-maintenance road, and that it would ultimately cost about $9 million to repave it entirely. 

Additionally, council authorized $235,000 in drainage work in Upper Manor Pointe and along Township Road 555A, $785,000 to fast-track engineering for nine road and drainage projects, and about $2 million to surface-seal pavement at 13 locations.  

None of these projects would proceed before administration had site visits and conversations with residents affected by them, said county chief operating officer Scott MacDougall. 

Council also approved $7.3 million in borrowing to finance the broadband improvement project. Set to roll out sometime this year, this pilot would seek to improve Internet access speeds in the county starting with a pilot project in the areas of Villeneuve, Villeneuve Airport, Calahoo, Rivière Qui Barre, and the ProNorth and Heritage industrial parks.  

Bokenfohr called this investment a “generational decision” that would help county residents access the Internet for health, education, safety, and security.  

Council also borrowed about $2.8 million to fix cracks and potholes in the Pine Sands subdivision. 

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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