July 25th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 30
Council updates
Highway 3X, snowmobile event, GPS trackers, Devon
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council from left tor right: Councillors Marlene Anctil, Dave Filipuzzi, Doreen Glavin, Mayor Blair Painter, Councillors Lisa Sygutek, Gordon Lundy and Dean Ward.
Pass Herald Reporter
Highway 3X

Council discussed their preferred options for Highway 3X based on the recommended routes for stage 1B and 2 presented by ISL Engineering at an open house in June 2018. Stage 1B covers east of Blairmore to east of Hillcrest and Stage 2 covers east of Hillcrest to Pincher Station.

For the Frank and Bellevue/Hillcrest section, Council endorsed option F3, with several remarks. Option F3 is the only route that has a continuous local road network connecting Coleman to Hillcrest. Under options F2 and 3, access into Frank for eastbound traffic could only occur from 20 Avenue through Blairmore or doubling back from the interchange at Hillcrest via service roads.

Although Mayor Blair Painter also preferred option F3 and noted the importance of having the commuter road going all the way through Crowsnest Pass, he was concerned that this will increase traffic through 21 Avenue in Frank, a road that is not properly built to accommodate heavy traffic or wide vehicles like RVs.

“We’re going to have considerable increased amount of traffic going right through a res area which we are trying to eliminate but now, we're putting commuter traffic, mind you at a slower speed, right through a residential area,” said Mayor Painter.

To remediate this concern, he highlighted the need to negotiate with Canadian Pacific Railway to use the existing highway as a commuter road and have Highway 3X run south of the railway tracks.

Councillor Dean Ward said that he was “really torn” between having a continuous commuter route throughout the community, yet recognizing that this would increase traffic through Frank.

“I understand the problems with Frank, but the rest of it offers us so much more for commuters in this community,” he said. “I like to have a road that could connect our community for emergency services, allow local traffic to move around more freely and [act as] a detour road in case something happens.”
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Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Patrick Thomas noted that Council may request upgrades as part of their submission, such as upgrading 21 Avenue to a more substantial commuter road if that is the route that is chosen.

Mayor Painter also noted that it is “imperative” to have a diamond intersection rather than flyover to facilitate entry to the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and added that keeping the current highway as the commuter route would encourage visitation to the centre.

“The Interpretive Centre is a very important part of our community and to think that tourists are going to drive past it, drive another 5 km and come back again… It’s not going to happen. So it’s really important that we have this commuter road and that the highway moves a bit south to allow for the existing Highway 3 to become our commuter route,” he said.

Council had no strong recommendations for Stage 2, as it falls outside of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, although they highlighted the importance of maintaining access to the Crowsnest Pass/Pincher Creek Landfill at Highway 22 and Lundbreck.

Administration will draft a letter outlining Council’s concerns and feedback for Alberta Transportation.

Snowmobile Hill Climb event at PPK

Council accepted an offer for a hill climb event proposed by the CrowSnow Riders snowmobile club and the Western Canadian Hillcross Association (WHCA) for December 8 and 9 at the Pass Powderkeg Ski Area (PPK).

According to Joey O’Brien, Manager of Community Services with the municipality, the economic impact would be “pretty extraordinary” for PPK and the community in general.
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Skier access to PPK would be blocked out for that weekend to allow for the event to take place. According to O’Brien, the hill would not sustain any damage and would be groomed to standards in time for the next opening day for regular ski and snowboard operations.

GPS tracking for municipal fleet

Council has approved the installation of a GPS tracking system on all municipal vehicles, funded from reserves. According to Thomas, benefits include employee efficiency, driver safety, accident reduction, route optimization, monitoring idling and tracking snow removal progress. The municipality would also have a better method of tracking stolen vehicles and aggressive driving.

“It’s a good initiative, looking at it from the safety aspect and just keeping up with the times. We need to be able to manage our equipment properly,” said Mayor Painter.

The total cost implication is approximately $20,000 per year, depending on the type of contract option selected.

Devon update

Council heard a delegation from Nadine Barber concerning the Devon gas plant west of Coleman.

According to Barber’s presentation, the gas plant was built in 1961 and Devon took ownership in 2001. The company ceased operations in 2012 because of the of the facility and the dropping cost of natural gas prices.

In 2014, Devon started to take down the surface infrastructure, including a memorable moment in September 2014 when the smoke stack was taken down. In 2015, removal started on the below ground infrastructure.

Devon is still working on decommissioning the facility and is conducting several monitoring programs, including soil and groundwater remediation work. In 2019, the company hopes to decommission the 64km pipeline running from the Coleman plant to the Savanna Creek. Remediation efforts are expected to continue until 2027.

Although Barber says the company has received interest from several parties about the property, they have made no decision on what they will do with the property at this time. She added that Council’s input would be sought at such a time that they are ready to make a decision on the property.
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July 25th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 30
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