Over the past week the SW Ring Road seems to have been a larger topic of discussion than when the deal was originally approved by the Tsuu T’ina Nation! In the furor for media headlines and punchy tag lines, many have either attempted to surmise my opinion on the Ring Road or have simply assumed where I might stand in relation to the Ring Road proceeding. So, let me be clear:
The SW Ring Road is going ahead. I am not trying to block the Ring Road nor have I suggested that we “revisit” the decision. The Ring Road is not a City of Calgary decision, it is a provincial road and therefore completely in the Province’s realm and control.
I am, however, asking questions about the impacts the Ring Road will have on the City of Calgary. Now that the final decision has been made, after over 50 years of discussion, we must very carefully look at the impacts on the communities that abut the road and its connectors, as well as the downstream impacts on the City of Calgary’s road network. There is no doubt that the Ring Road will have positive results for people getting around the City, but there will also be negative downstream affects that we need to know about ahead of time.
My goal is to make sure that we work to mitigate the impacts on communities ahead of time, rather than 10 or 20 years after the road is built. This is what we know: there will be noise issues, there will be community traffic concerns and the road and its connectors will dissect our established pathway and green space network on the west side of the City. We need to have those concerns addressed ahead of time, and, ideally, the Province should pay for that work. The City of Calgary has already identified about $133 Million of downstream costs that we are going to have to find within our own budgets. As part of the work that was initiated by a motion put forward by myself and Councillors Pootmans and Colley-Urquhart, we are going to do the work to try and identify all of the impacts, and costs, on our road network. It is my hope that once we identify that, we can negotiate with the Province to get those required upgrades included in the project, and not years afterwards.
As much as the Ring Road is an important piece of infrastructure, it is first and foremost a provincial road serving as a bypass around the city. We still need to move forward with the transportation projects identified in the Calgary Transportation Plan. The decision to proceed with the Ring Road does not change that one iota. In particular, residents in Ward 11 south of the reservoir need a way out of their communities. They can’t wait for a Ring Road to open to the west of them to see if that will help them get to where they want to go.
Mitigating the impacts on residents as part of the design and construction of the road is the smart way to go, and you don’t get there without asking questions. Hyperbole and name calling have never deterred me from getting answers.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.