The City of Lacombe is sending a letter to several Provincial government ministries regarding a proposed QEII rest stop near Lacombe that council feels will infringe on their west-end development.
The rest stop, which was announced by the previous NDP government during the election cycle, was, “Designed to accommodate possible future commercial opportunities, such as gas stations and restaurants”, according to City administrations prepared documents.
Administrations concerns to council included that is is not within an identified Lacombe County or City identified growth area and it is not included in the a Joint Economic Area.
Administration also noted that the rest stop would put the Province in direct competition with the current west-end Midway developer. The developer, according to City documents, would be interested in working with the Province to relocate the rest area into the Miday development.
“Most everyone can agree that a rest stop is an appropriate safety feature,” Mayor Grant Creasey said. “The only issue that I have and I think that council has as well is the location of it.
“To locate it at its proposed spot, which is only a few miles away from what is a soon-to-be large development that borders the County and City, seems a little short-sighted.”
Creasey also felt the scope of the NDP proposed plan was too small.
“I think we need to consider the fact the current site only services the north-bound lane and I would like additional work be done to explore having it an alternate location which would service both the north and south-bound lanes,” he said.
Although it is unclear how much consultation was done by the NDP on the rest stop, it is his understanding that the current plan was not ideal.
“I am told there was a limited amount of consultation with the previous elected officials and to the best of my knowledge, bearing in mind I do not have first-hand knowledge, the location they currently decided on was not seen as favourable by the officials at that time,” he said.
Considering the plan was not a UCP Government plan, Creasey believes the letter — which was sent to several ministries including the Minister of Infrastructure Prasad Panda and Premier Jason Kenney — will be heard and acted upon.
“I rather doubt our current government would necessarily choose to be in direct competition with a municipality rather than enhance services and provide the features motorists expect and deserve,” he said.
Creasey is hopeful that no further action will be necessary by council other than the letter.
“I have spoken with some of our representatives and this is a first step,” he said. “This is not a confrontational thing — this is a way to see where we are at and suggest some logical, better alternatives in our opinion.
“Before we decide what we will do from there, we will wait and see what kind of response we get.”