VULCAN, AB – Wildrose Agriculture and Rural Development Critic, Ian Donovan, urged the PC government to create a program which would compensate local business owners, after ongoing delays on a southern Alberta bridge reconstruction project continues to impede their livelihoods.
On April 3, 2014, the government announced its commitment to the Highway 547 bridge project and reaffirmed it would complete flood repair work on the bridge and restore vital community access by June of this year. The bridge was damaged in last year’s floods and reconstruction work was scheduled to finish in June. Recently, however, Alberta Transportation announced the government would delay finishing the project for six to eight more weeks. Donovan said the bridge is a vital artery and local businesses are losing a huge chunk of revenues, waiting for the work to be done. He wants the government to create a temporary program to help business owners facing economic loss.
“People have been very patient and understanding, but now they feel like the PCs are taking them for granted,” Donovan said. “The business owners in this area cannot afford to wait another month or two for this bridge work to get done. If the government can’t meet its own deadlines, it should find a way to help affected business owners get by.”
Donovan said tax incentives were provided to business owners who faced economic loss in places affected by last year’s floods.
“Municipal Affairs Minister Greg Weadick needs to implement a similar temporary program in Arrowwood now. Rural Alberta is critical to Alberta’s prosperity and vitality,” Donovan said. “Without some assistance it is my fear that Arrowwood will lose its viability and businesses will close.”