Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland has been a long-time advocate for Northeastern Alberta and believes that not enough attention has been given to The Lakeland area of the province. Recently, the Mayor spoke of the inadequate ambulance service the region receives. The Mayor says the lack of funding and attention doesn’t stop there, “our council argued for years, that up in this area, we’re not seeing the provincial dollars being allocated to this part of the province. Our area is being forgotten in a huge way.”
The Mayor says the inattentiveness is wide-spread, “whether its education, or whether its health care or highway 28, we’re not getting our fair share and it’s a real north-south axis of capital money.”
Mayor Copeland says the roads are a perfect example, “if you look at highway 63 and all the interchanges around Edmonton and Calgary ring-road, a lot of the provincial money over the years has been spent on the north-south axis. Nothing’s really been spent up here in Northeastern Alberta.”
There is a study into the roadways being conducted by Alberta HUB, an organization which the Mayor says Cold Lake is in partnership with, “we work with HUB in lobbying for highway 28.” The study is intended to give the federal and provincial governments hard facts on how heavily traveled the roads in The Lakeland are. It’ll include highway 28, as well as 41 and all the secondary highways that work as corridors to Northeastern Alberta. The study will examine the cost on not upgrading the highways, on the municipalities, the residents, businesses and industries.
The study, though well intended may not be enough, explains Copeland, “you got to wonder why Alberta Transportation staff haven’t identified highway 28 as a major provincial program. I think there’s a lack of understanding in Edmonton on how significant highway 28 is to this area.”
“It’s always left off on provincial money,” Copeland states, “when you travel the other highways, they’re getting a fresh coat of asphalt on them, like highway 11. Highway 28 hasn’t had a fresh coat of pavement on that highway in how many years?”
“I call it the Forgotten Highway,” Mayor Copeland proclaims, a name which has caught on and is used quite often by the residents of The Lakeland.
On top of the pavement, there are safety issues with the roadway, as well, says Mayor Copeland, “so many dangerous intersections on highway 28 and we’re starting to see a lot more fatalities on highway 28, unfortunately.” It comes down to a need for a major overhaul, “too much volume of traffic and not enough passing lanes.”
“It’s a dangerous road to travel on,” Mayor Copeland states.
The City is doing everything they can to get the attention of the federal and provincial governments, “we continue to write letters and have meeting with people, but at some point you just reach the point of exhaustion.” Mayor Copeland suggest writing your local MLA representative and Alberta’s Transportation Minister, Brian Mason.