Dene Tha’ First Nation on course for clean water

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Minister Feehan (C) with Chief James Ahnassay (L), MLA for Peace River Debbie Jabbour (R) and council members of Dene Tha’ First Nation.

The $2.1-million project will connect the Dene Tha’ First Nation in Bushe River to the Town of High Level water treatment plant by waterline. This is the 10th project funded through Alberta’s First Nations Regional Drinking Water Tie-In Program, which will benefit 14 First Nations.

“This is one more step on the path of reconciliation and a display of our ongoing collaboration between First Nation communities, the federal government and water commissions to address the water quality issues faced on reserves. Everyone in the province deserves to have access to a safe and reliable source of drinking water.”

Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations

The project is part of the province’s $100-million commitment to ensure First Nations in Alberta have access to safe, reliable drinking water.

“We are most grateful for this announcement which gives us great hope by being given a starting point towards getting a safe drinking water supply right to our doorsteps. The waterline to Bushe is very much welcomed as it also means the high cost of trucking water will go down for our administration as more development continues to the core area.”

Chief James Ahnassay, Dene Tha’ First Nation

Construction of the waterline will begin once the design phase is completed. The project is expected to be in place by 2020.

Quick facts

  • Budget 2017 committed $100 million to provide clean, safe drinking water to First Nations, where feasible, through the First Nations Regional Drinking Water Tie-In Program.  
  • Construction of a regional waterline to the Alexis Nakota Sioux reserve boundary was completed in June 2018.
  • Construction of a regional waterline up to the Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation reserve boundary is under construction and is expected to be completed in 2020. 

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New Red Deer homeless shelter

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Minister Sabir with Mayor Veer, Red Deer-South MLA Barb Miller (L) and Red-Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner (R).

Identified by the City of Red Deer and local stakeholders as a top priority, the 24-7 shelter will offer wraparound supports in the province’s third largest city. The province is investing $7 million to help build the 120-bed facility.

“We heard loud and clear that Red Deer urgently needs more shelter space and support to meet the needs of the community’s most vulnerable citizens. That’s why we are stepping up and providing the funding to get this underway. This funding is a first step, and we’ll continue to work with the city and community partners to address issues that matter to Red Deer.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services

“This allocation of funding for a 24-7 shelter in Red Deer will go a long way to meet the safety needs of Red Deer’s most vulnerable citizens, and will enable those in need of emergency shelter to access programs, services and, ultimately, options for more permanent supportive housing. A 24-7 shelter is one of Red Deer’s most critical social infrastructure needs, so this announcement is welcomed by the city.”

Tara Veer, mayor, City of Red Deer

The new capital funding is in addition to $3.8 million in annual provincial funding provided for Housing First programming and $1.1 million to operate the People’s Place Adult Emergency Shelter and the Winter Warming Centre. Another $324,000 was recently allocated for the Warming Centre to extend its operation to September 2019.

This funding represents a first step to getting a 24-7 shelter built for Red Deer. Additional provincial funding needs will be assessed as this project moves forward.

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Deerfoot Trail upgrades to create jobs, cut commute

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Minister Mason, with Service Alberta Minister Brian Malkinson, announces a $478 million investment in Deerfoot Trail.

Deerfoot Trail is the busiest roadway in Alberta with an average of 175,000 vehicles travelling on it every day. The province is adding both northbound and southbound lanes to 21 kilometres of Deerfoot Trail between Beddington Trail and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail, to improve traffic flow and ease congestion.

Multiple interchanges will also be upgraded with additional lanes at Memorial Drive, 17 Avenue, Glenmore Trail, Southland Drive and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail to reduce commute times at key bottlenecks.

“Deerfoot Trail is the busiest road in Alberta, and a vital artery for Calgary. It has become increasingly congested, and everyone who drives this road will appreciate this expansion plan. We want commuters to spend less time in traffic, and more time with their families and loved ones.”

Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

Calgarians rely on Deerfoot Trail as the city’s most used north-south vehicle corridor. This major infrastructure project will transform Deerfoot Trail into a modern freeway that meets the current and future needs of a growing, active city.

“These improvements to Deerfoot Trail have been long awaited by Calgarians. This substantial investment from the Government of Alberta will go a long way in improving the traffic flow and safety on a roadway that is used by thousands of Calgarians every day.”

Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

This major expansion builds upon work already underway to optimize traffic flow on Deerfoot Trail. In early 2019, the province issued a Request for Proposals for engineering of a new Intelligent Transportation System to help ease congestion by employing variable speed limit technology and new message boards to alert commuters of expected travel times and incidents ahead.

The expansion of Deerfoot Trail is expected to create 2,330 jobs, and $478 million has been allocated in the Capital Plan for the project.

Quick facts

  • An initial study released in 2017 made recommendations for short-term improvements to Deerfoot Trail, including:
    • New Intelligent Transportation System
    • New interchange improvements at:
      • McKnight to 64 Avenue ramp connection
      • 11 Street northbound connection to Deerfoot, north of Beddington
      • Southland Drive to Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail
  • In early 2019, the Government of Alberta issued a Request for Proposals for engineering and design work for short-term improvements to Deerfoot Trail.
  • The Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary are engaged in a long-term study of Deerfoot Trail that will be finalized this year. The core initial findings suggest:
    • Additional lanes northbound and southbound between Beddington Trail and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail are required to meet growing traffic demands.
    • Major interchange improvements are required at Memorial Drive, 17 Avenue, Glenmore Trail, Southland Drive and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail to reduce commute times and improve traffic flow.
  • Deerfoot Trail first opened to the public in 1971. It has been a full freeway since 2005.
    • When the road was built to its present configuration in 2005, Calgary had one million residents.
    • The population of Calgary is now approaching 1.3 million, excluding the rapidly growing populations of Airdrie and Chestermere.

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Municipalities score with rec centre retrofits

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Energy efficiency programs continue to make life better for Alberta families.

The Government of Alberta is providing $9 million under the Climate Leadership Plan to help municipalities cut energy costs and emissions by upgrading their recreation facilities with energy-efficient technology. The Recreation Energy Conservation Program provides up to $750,000 per municipality, and all municipalities in Alberta are eligible to participate.

“Whether it’s for hockey practice or swim class, nothing is more Albertan than taking a trip to the community centre. By helping facilities make energy-efficiency upgrades, municipalities will save money and reduce their emissions, and people will notice the changes when they visit with their families. This program will have a big impact in communities across Alberta.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office

In addition to buying energy-efficient technology, municipalities can use the funding for scoping audits and engineering studies. A variety of municipally owned facilities qualify for funding, including arenas, rinks, aquatic centres, community recreation centres and multiplexes.

“We know municipalities want to make energy-efficient choices, which will reduce energy costs and emissions. This program allows municipalities to purchase energy-efficient products, retrofit existing facilities or plan for future energy-efficient upgrades to recreation centres. It’s a win-win for municipalities and Albertans.”

Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“As a city, we are always looking for ways to be more energy-efficient in our community facilities. With the announcement of this provincial funding program, it will allow us to seek those opportunities to do things in a greener and less financially cumbersome way.”

Chris Spearman, mayor, City of Lethbridge

The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) is a partnership between the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta. It is responsible for funding, technical assistance and education to municipalities to address climate change, and will administer the Recreation Energy Conservation Program.

The MCCAC is also accepting submissions of interest for its Electric Vehicles for Municipalities program, which is offering $4.6 million to help municipalities transition to electric vehicles. Municipalities interested in either program must submit an expression of interest. Program-specific details and timelines are on the centre’s website.

“Recreation facilities typically use more energy and produce more greenhouse gas emissions than other municipal facilities. With the Recreation Energy Conservation Program, we are supporting municipalities to address recreation infrastructure needs in Alberta. The Electric Vehicles for Municipalities program will help grow emissions-free transportation in municipal fleets and scale up the electric vehicle market in Alberta. Increasing electric vehicle adoption will demonstrate the benefits of this technology in Alberta. Municipalities can plan for a sustainable and low-risk future by adopting energy-efficient measures.”

Trina Innes, director, Municipal Climate Change Action Centre

Project submissions under the Electric Vehicles for Municipalities program can include funding for both battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations and equipment, and electric vehicle feasibility studies.

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