Edmonton vs LC Regional Infrastructure Funding

Misleading comments made by Edmonton mayor Don Iveson April 25 regarding Leduc County’s commitments to regional...

Misleading comments made by Edmonton mayor Don Iveson April 25 regarding Leduc County’s commitments to regional infrastructure funding have already been smoothed over by the two mayors of the municipalities.

Iveson’s comments as reported by the Edmonton Metro insinuated Leduc County was not contributing to regional infrastructure, leading the county to release its own statement on May 2 saying the comments made were indeed misleading and Leduc County reconfirmed its commitment to supporting regional transportation infrastructure.

“I think his comments were taken a little bit out of context,” said Leduc County mayor John Whaley. “I’ve talked with him since then and that is correct.”

Whaley says Iveson’s comment made it look as if Leduc County was not contributing to regional infrastructure and used the 41st Avenue interchange in south Edmonton as a base point. “Which is as far from the truth as you can get, and he knows that,” said Whaley.

The May 2 press release states, “By solely focusing on the 41st Avenue interchange project, one only sees a mere snapshot of the larger regional transportation infrastructure network…An interchange is but one piece albeit an important piece of the puzzle, and Leduc County is committed to supporting the whole regional transportation network, through complementary and connecting road infrastructure projects.”

When the 41st Avenue interchange project started with Edmonton’s previous mayor it was classified as provincial infrastructure. Leduc County uses funds put in off-site levies to fund development. “Those off-site levies cannot be used for provincial infrastructure.”

However, Leduc County remains active by funding complimentary infrastructure that connects and compliments the areas surrounding the 41st Avenue interchange. “We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that was on the road network,” said Whaley.

Ewing Trail, a section of road that connects the 41st Avenue interchange to Nisku Spine Road leading south into Leduc, was originally planned as a two-lane road while the 41st Avenue interchange and Nisku Spine Road were both four-lane. In order to ensure Ewing Trail would also be four lanes Leduc County contributed $100,000 to the project based on estimates given by the City of Edmonton. “Otherwise the intersection would fail,” said Whaley.

Late last year Leduc County opened the first phase of Nisku Spine Road. It is estimated to cost $73 million while the entire project is $220 million.

“Leduc County has planned for and contributed to these regional infrastructure projects, as we believe this road infrastructure is critical to efficiently moving people, goods and services throughout the entire region regardless of municipal borders,” said Whaley in the press statement.