I play in the St. Albert Men’s Slowpitch League at the Meadowview Ball Diamonds and on numerous occasions have observed youth walking along or hanging out on the railway tracks including the trestle bridge. On one occasion there was even a couple having their wedding photo taken on the railway tracks.
As so accurately pointed out by Mike Killick in an earlier edition of the Gazette, after he walked the length of the railway fence, there are several openings including Meadowview Drive where there is easy access to the railway tracks. If the objective of installing fencing was to protect people and wildlife from injury then it would be difficult to argue against installing a fence as safety is always a priority. However, research suggested there has never been a human fatality or any record of safety incidents on the railway tracks – and we hope there never will be – yet the municipality spent $464K in addition to the Federal grant funding resulting in a cost to taxpayers in excess of $1 million.
Spending this amount of money with a lack of bylaw enforcement when people can continue to have easy access to the railway tracks is an irresponsible use of taxpayer money especially when we continue to hear municipalities are challenged in funding infrastructure necessities. And, St. Albert is now considering a proposed 1.5% property tax increase each of the next three years to cover just the infrastructure shortfall.
It would be reasonable to question this spending and ask “Would there not have been higher spending priorities providing greater community value?” For example, $464K would have provided additional affordable housing for those in need.
Malcolm Parker, resident and former city councillor