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In the last week of July my team and I were back on the road, this time visiting communities in Northwest Alberta. Our first stop was in Evansburg, where we announced multiple projects including a consolidation of the Evansburg and Wildwood schools (a top priority of the local school board), upgrades to seniors’ housing in Evansburg, Wildwood and Entwistle, and Capital Maintenance and Renewal (CMR) funding for the Grande Yellowhead School Division. MLA Shane Getson found an incredibly beautiful spot by the river to make the announcement, and frequently reminded us of his nickname for the riding: God’s Country. It was then time for coffee with local residents and officials hosted by MLA Shane Getson before we were on the road to Westlock.
In Westlock we met with the community to discuss progress on previously announced CMR and Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) projects, including a $4 million storm water management facility upgrade that will help mitigate future flooding in Westlock. It was great to see work progressing. Following that stop, we met with county and town officials about local residents’ concerns.
On the road again, we made our final stop for the day in Slave Lake where we again met with the community to discuss progress of the $6.8 million Northern Lakes College Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Systems project and other previously announced local CMR and ICIP projects. Northern Lakes is an amazing facility. MLA Pat Rehn hosted a barbecue for the local community that night at the Slave Lake Legion, and it was good to hear the concerns of Northern Albertans.
The next morning we broke camp and headed north to Red Earth Creek where we met more of MLA Pat Rehn’s constituents for coffee and pastries. Eating lunch on the road, we made it to Fort Vermilion in the early afternoon for a round-table meeting with the MacKenzie County Council along with Associate Ministers Fir and Nally. The hamlet of La Crete was our next stop, where we met with the La Crete health committee to discuss the new maternity centre followed by dinner with the Chamber of Commerce. The food in La Crete is truly top notch. Our busy day ended with a drive to High Level and our hotel beds for the night.
Morning found us meeting with High Level’s Mayor Crystal McAteer, representatives from the town’s administration, and councillors where we discussed local CMR and ICIP projects like the $7.1 million Essential Power Upgrade project for Meander River. High Level also raised some concerns about their provincial building, so we went to take a look. From High Level we were off to Manning for lunch where we announced ICIP funding for a Seniors and Housing Project and the design of a new school for the community. Our next stops were in Peace River for a stakeholder meeting where we discussed the $18.9 million worth of CMR projects in the region, followed by dinner in High Prairie where we stopped for the night. In High Prairie we started our final day of the tour with a breakfast meeting with community members followed by announcements regarding the demolition of the old High Prairie Hospital, and a property transfer with Northern Lakes College which wrapped up our tour.
The Northwest leg of our Alberta summer tour visited 10 communities with 23 stops for events, meetings, tours and meals with local groups. The round trip for me, beginning in Calgary, totaled 2,379 km.
Prasad Panda served as the Minister of Infrastructure from April 30, 2019 to June 21, 2022.