Bonnyville Town Council has made steps towards future hospital expansion, by holding a public hearing on Bylaw 1446-16, which essentially closes 50th street from the intersection of 47th avenue south to the hospital. The road acts as an entrance way to the hospital, and will only be closed in name to allow for future expansion of the medical clinic, and possibly, eventually the hospital. The parking lot will remain the same size and there will be no change, in the near future, on the entrance route into the hospital.
The Town sent out letters to adjacent property owners and held a public hearing on January 26th, at Town Hall. There were mainly no concern responses returned to the Town. One property owner did respond to the Town with objections; however once it was explained that no route changes to the entrance of the hospital would be made and that the closure was in name only, the property owner did not continue with objecting the Bylaw.
One person attended the public hearing, in approval of Bylaw 1446-16, Dr. Travis Webster, with Double X Properties. Double X Properties owns the Medical Clinic, and Dr. Webster a physician in Bonnyville. “There’s no intent to close the road, from our perspective,” explained Dr. Webster, “it’s a matter of rezoning, and paperwork from [the Town’s] standpoint, so we can expand the clinic. The plans will not encroach on the road, at all. It does allow us to have options, perhaps in the future, of redeveloping parking between the hospital and the clinic. In my estimation, traffic would also remain the same and would never be redirected to the alley, whatsoever.” The closure, even in name, allows the Town to have the flexibility in the future to redesign the parking lot.
Mayor Gene Sobolewski explains, “the way I’ve been explaining it to people is, the road closure is in title only. We’re not looking at creating a lot and we’re not physically closing the road. That’s a dead-end road anyway.”
With no one else in attendance to speak for or against Bylaw 1446-16, Council closed the public hearing. The Bylaw will still have to be passed by Council before it goes into effect.