Albertans are incredibly fortunate to be able to enjoy some of the most beautiful natural areas in the world. However, with increasing use comes greater pressure on our wilderness, and the irresponsibility of the few threaten to ruin it for the rest.
That’s why the government of Alberta has introduced some new penalties for abuse of public lands and increased fines for others. You can find a complete list at the Environment and Parks website here:
Last Friday I was able to tour 855 and nearby impacted county roads with Athabasca County Councillor Travais Johnson and Deputy Reeve Warren Griffin. I have brought this issue up with Alberta Transportation and would like to provide concerned constituents with an update.
First off, the rumours that Transportation is contemplating any permanent closures on 855 are not true. Highway 855 is temporarily closed just south of Township Road 672A, south of Atmore, for about 700 metres. The area is very wet due to quick snow melt, which made the road impassable.
Transportation is monitoring it with the intent to reopen it to traffic as soon as possible, however they do not have a timeline at the moment. The Inspector was there yesterday and water is still seeping out through to the surface of the roadway. It needs more time to dry out. Attempts to blade the road have made the situation worse.
Thanks to the residents and Councillor Johnson for bringing this to my attention. Hopefully we will get this road open again very soon!
On May 14th I was honoured to represent Indigenous Affairs Minister Richard Feehan at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new 10,0000 square foot Cultural Gathering Centre planned for the site.
The new centre will be a boon not only to the Metis Nation but to the Smoky Lake region. As the only Metis interpretive site in Alberta, it is a boon to the whole province as well.
I am happy that the government of Alberta is contributing to this project and look forward to seeing the new facility in action!
(Photos courtesy of Dan Kotylak)
On April 19th I gave an update to the Alberta Legislature on the commissioning of the new Sturgeon Refinery. I was happy to report that things are going well.
Video and full transcript below:
“At the current stage of construction this refinery is able to process synthetic crude into diesel and other value-added products. Over 2 million barrels have been refined and shipped within western
Canada already, and the refinery has started paying off.”
Sturgeon Refinery Update
Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to give an update on a project that I’m proud to have in my riding, the Sturgeon refinery. It is a good-news story. The refinery is now nearing completion. Nine out of 10 units are now in the commissioning phase. This past December the refinery produced its first diesel, and I was honoured to attend the celebration in Morinville along with my colleague the MLA for Sherwood Park. At the current stage of construction this refinery is able to process synthetic crude into diesel and other value-added products. Over 2 million barrels have been refined and shipped within western Canada already, and the refinery has started paying off.
The Sturgeon refinery is state of the art and a testament to Alberta ingenuity. It’s the world’s first refinery with integrated carbon capture and storage. At completion this refinery will capture 1.2 million tonnes of CO2. The CO2 is safely sequestered by injecting it into depleted geological formations deep beneath the Earth’s
surface. This is the equivalent of taking nearly 300,000 cars off our roads. The refinery also protects the environment by producing an ultra low sulphur product with low carbon intensity. From a peak of 8,000 workers to around 2,500 today this refinery has logged over 50 million hours of employment. During one of the worst downturns in recent memory this project has provided a decent income to thousands of Alberta families.
Further, this refinery has stood out as a leader in ensuring an equitable and representative workforce through partnering with organizations
such as Women Building Futures and working closely with First Nation communities. It is also known as a good neighbour by the farmers nearby and is a huge supporter of the local community.
Seventy-five per cent of Albertans want to see more refining done in this province. The Sturgeon refinery was the first new refinery built in years and was done with the novel funding arrangement that has made this project possible. The North West Redwater Partnership is to be commended for creating something successful and truly made in Alberta. Thank you.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be an MLA? Well, if you’re an Alberta high school student now’s your chance! For more details and to apply please follow the link below:
Don’t delay though- spaces are limited and the deadline is this Friday!
This year’s focus for Farm Safety Week is on seniors. I was happy to speak to this on behalf of our Caucus:
I want to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young women who tragically lost her life in Thorhild County this morning, and to all those in the school and broader community impacted by this loss. Tragedies like this remind us of how precious and fragile life is and the importance of coming together to support each other in such an irreparable loss.
On the evening of Feb 14th I was happy to participate in a Telephone Town Hall meeting arranged by our caucus services for the constituents of Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater.
I have to admit to being a bit anxious about attendance considering it being Valentine’s Day and all, but I needn’t have worried. I just received the data and it turns out 1,478 people were on the call in total- not a shabby turnout!
There were a lot of great questions and comments but unfortunately with so many people we weren’t able to deal with all of them. In fact we were able to get through 19 of them during the hour we were alloted for the call. That left 34 questions unaired. We also received dozens of voice messages at the end of the townhall.
Rest assured that I will be personally replying to every message that was left and we will be addressing every question that wasn’t able to go live. However, it might take a little while so please be patient!
Due to the success of this format and all the positive comments I’ve received on it I am looking to do more of these types of events in the future, although perhaps not on the same scale. Instead I am looking at ways to make them more focused on particular communities or particular high concern issues such as infrastructure and rural crime.
Thanks again to all who participated and helped make this townhall a success!
Cellular and home service should be restored to Athabasca area by tomorrow morning. Apparently a “third party construction company” cut the line: