Fast forwarding to the middle of August, the third leg of the summer tour visiting communities in Southern Alberta kicked off in Airdrie where we announced $40 million in funding to expand and modernize St. Martin de Porres High School. The project will see the construction of an additional section for the school as well as an overall modernization of the existing building. Then we were off to Calgary where we announced a new Francophone school for South Calgary. There are 12 other school projects going ahead in the province as part of the 2021 capital budget allotment of $268 million, and I am proud of Infrastructure’s role in delivering these schools. Following these announcements we left the Calgary area in the rear-view mirror as we headed west to Kananaskis where we toured the Connect Charter Camp and then toured the new Kananaskis Emergency Services Centre, which we had completed during the height of the pandemic. Our day ended in Canmore where we spoke to the community about local Capital Maintenance and Renewal (CMR) and Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) funded projects. Following a local dinner it was back home to Calgary for a rare night at home.
The next morning found us meeting with the Strathmore Wheatland Chamber of Commerce to discuss our progress so far in reducing government red tape, and what our plans for that program are moving forward. Then we were off to Brooks where we were hosted by MLA Michaela Glasgo and discussed the area’s CMR and ICIP projects.
The final day of the tour began with a media availability to highlight the $6.9 million Lethbridge Broadband Fibre Project. Funding for the project, which is expected to create an estimated 39 jobs, comes from the ICIP allocation of $3.66 billion to Alberta from the federal government for investment in infrastructure projects. While this money was originally earmarked for public transit, Alberta's government fought hard to allow municipalities to spend this money on their priorities as opposed to Ottawa’s. As I told the Lethbridge media, dependable internet is essential and we all realize its importance. More Albertans are learning and working from home so high-speed Internet is no longer a luxury. It’s essential infrastructure.
Following that exciting announcement we toured a local Francophone school and met with Ken Sampson, Superintendent of the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division and Dr. Cheryl Gilmore Superintendent of the Lethbridge School Division to discuss their school infrastructure needs and goals for the future. I then picked up some Taber corn, from my friend MLA Grant Hunter, who had made the trip to Lethbridge from his nearby constituency.
The southern leg of our Alberta summer tour visited 10 communities with 15 stops for events, meetings, tours and meals with local groups. The round trip for me, beginning in Calgary, totaled 1,099 km.
Prasad Panda served as the Minister of Infrastructure from April 30, 2019 to June 21, 2022.