County of Wetaskiwin changes speed curves project

County of Wetaskiwin changes speed curves project

Councilors vote in favour of case-by-case basis for gravel road curves

The issue of removing gravel road speed curves in certain parts of the County of Wetaskiwin returned to council at their Public Works meeting Oct. 9.

At the Sept. 11 council meeting a Pipestone area resident, Leon Specht, spoke to council about a Public Works program to remove certain speed curves on gravel roads in different areas of the county.

Public Works manager Neil Powell noted that some of the curves were on private land and all of them were a safety concern. He showed a map of one of the curves and the confusing nature of right-of-way they created. While council decided to allow the Public works program to run its course.

Specht on Sept. 16 organized a community meeting in the Pipestone and Porto Bello areas to get input from residents who would be affected by that curve’s removal. Of 34 people present, 33 stated they wanted the curve to remain. Specht subsequently stated residents would attend an upcoming council meeting.

About two dozen people attended the Oct. 9 Public Works meeting. Specht and Murray Kemp acted as spokespersons.

Powell spoke first and reiterated what he said to councilors previously. Powell stated he examined the curves himself in the field and from his experiences, he considered the curves unsafe, especially if someone from out of the region was driving through them.

He stated the right-of-way should always be clear at an intersection, and there’s obviously nothing wrong with “T” intersections because there are hundreds of them in the county. Powell also stated removing the curves wouldn’t necessarily be expensive. “A lot of the work there is not extensive,” said Powell.

Specht stated he also wanted to reiterate everything he said at his previous appearance. Specht noted he’s worked in safety assessment and feels more information is needed before calling the curves unsafe; he noted that low traffic volumes in many of these areas greatly reduce safety concerns.

He stated that each curve removal should be handled separately, because all of the intersections involved are different.

Specht also stated that “adverse possession” should be considered: this is a legal term used to describe a situation where someone is occupying some else’s property, in effect with permission, and after a certain amount of time, the property is assumed to belong to the occupier.

Specht repeated he felt estimates for removing the curves were too low, and the money spent on removing the curves could be better used maintaining gravel roads.

Kemp noted his family farm is located between two of these curves and he is a third generation farmer in the Porto Bello region and regularly uses three of the six curves in that area.

Kemp stated if the curves are removed, his efficiency as a farmer will be impacted, and farming successfully requires great efficiency. He stated visitors should drive carefully. “If I don’t know the area, I drive cautiously,” said Kemp. “I hope everyone would do the same.” Kemp added he felt that public consultation could have been better handled by the county on this matter.

Lastly, Dale Franklin spoke about a curve near his home at the bottom of a hill. He said the curve is useful for keeping the traffic flowing and said removing the curve would be a “disaster.”

Councilor Terry Van de Kraats said he took Powell’s safety concerns seriously. He remembered a crash on the Hillside Road which resulted in the hill being cut down to reduce risk. “Does it take a major collision and somebody passing away?” asked Van de Kraats. “Things do happen. And that’s where I’m coming from.”

Van de Kraats also noted that if efficiency is the prime concern, does that mean more speed curves should be put in? He added that the County of Wetaskiwin is seeing more and more new residents who don’t know anything about these curves.

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers stated she had one of these curves on her land and it was removed. It takes a bit longer to get around but Rooyakkers stated it seems that the intersection is much more safe. “We still have to take the aspect of safety into effect,” said the reeve.

Councilor Josh Bishop said he’s spent a lot of time looking at these curves and strongly feels they should be treated individually. For example, two of them lead onto dead-end roads with very little traffic.

Rooyakkers stated, if some curves that sit on private land are kept by the county, she would like to see solid cost predictions.

Councilor Ken Adair noted he wanted to see costs for properly identifying the curves. “I’d also like to see the cost on signage,” said Adair.

Councilor Lyle Seely said he didn’t know much about these curves and felt looking at them individually seemed reasonable, but the safety aspect can’t be ignored, especially on the busiest ones.

Bishop felt looking at each curve individually would reveal at least some could be kept as most are not a safety concern. “I don’t buy the safety bit,” said Bishop.

County CAO Rod Hawken commented on the adverse possession idea; he noted that the theory probably didn’t apply because the amount of land involved is extremely small.

Bishop made a motion that the speed curve projects should come to council on a case by case basis and that county staff would report back with costs, including legal costs. It was passed unanimously.

Stu.salked@pipestoneflyer.ca

Just Posted

Flora Northwest was taken to the Ermineskin residential school when she was six years old. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Most Read