Intersection safety a popular issue at Sylvan Lake forum

Urgent care and safety at a deadly intersection were on the minds of Sylvan Lake voters on Wednesday night.

Urgent care and safety at a deadly intersection were on the minds of Sylvan Lake voters on Wednesday night.

The five candidates fighting to represent Innisfail/Sylvan Lake in the legislature squared off in a forum organized by the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce at the Fox Run School in Sylvan Lake.

About 150 people packed the gym to hear more from the candidates on local hotbed issues such as bringing an urgent care centre to the resort town and the controversial Hwy 11 and Hwy 781 intersection.

In light of the Progressive Conservatives’ recent election promise to build 140 family care clinics in Alberta, candidates were asked what this would mean for an urgent care centre in the community.

“I can’t tell you today what the difference would be between a family care centre and an urgent care centre but I can tell you my job is to get this community what it needs,” said Tory incumbent Luke Ouellette. “And what it needs is an urgent care centre … whatever (the community) needs, we will put it here.”

Liberal candidate Les Vidok said the very fact that the government doesn’t know the difference between an urgent care centre and a family care centre shows it is really out of touch when it comes to health care.

“Sylvan is becoming a hub of in this province,” said Vidok. “There is about one and a half million visitors that come through this town annually. We need a facility basically to deal with immediate needs and take the pressure off emergency in Red Deer.”

NDP candidate Patricia Norman said urgent care in a community that changes with growth in the summer season would alleviate emergency room wait times in the areas in the riding.

“This is a very important issue and needs to be looked at,” said Norman. “If I were elected, I would fight in legislature to make sure this community got what it needed so every person visiting this community would be able to have that care and everybody living here would get that care.”

Alberta Party candidate Danielle Klooster said the proposed Tory family care clinics are replacement health care options. She said the province opened a Calgary family care clinic and closed a primary care network in the same building.

“It is not expansion of services and additional options to meet the needs of your community,” said Klooster. “It’s replacement and a shuffling of services from one area to another. So if they open a family care clinic, you are going to lose your primary care network that’s been such a vital part of this community. It doesn’t help you. It doesn’t meet your needs. It’s a replacement.”

“I believe Sylvan Lake residents deserve more than 9 to 5 care,” said Wildrose candidate Kerry Towle. “This community also needs a facility that expands your X-ray and lab capabilities to sustain its growth.”

Ouellette defended the province’s decision to make the Hwy 11/Hwy 748 intersection “right in-right out” instead of installing traffic lights. He said anyone in transportation will say traffic lights will not stop left-hand accidents and noted it was never in the town’s plans to install traffic lights.

Most candidates said they would explore other options at the intersection, which has been the site of several fatalities in recent years.

Towle said Alberta Transportation is so rigid in its planning they will not consider other options. Towle said she would ensure an independent review of the intersection with the intention of opening the intersection in a safe and responsible manner.

Vidok said he supports the traffic lights but the real issue is the province is not listening to the voters.

“If I get elected, you better believe there will be a set of lights there,” he said. “Basically it’s the voice of the people who should rule, not the government rule the people.”

Norman said she would open up the discussion to explore other options because of safety issues and access to businesses.

Klooster questioned Alberta Transportation’s mandate and not consulting local residents on the work.

“So why was nothing done for so many years while people died then?” said Klooster. “Why was there no consultation. I guess I am really frustrated that people weren’t listened to then. People weren’t listened to all the way along.”

Other issues addressed were education, land owner’s rights and protecting Sylvan Lake’s body of water.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Glen Carritt is organizing a United We Roll Canada convoy that will travel to British Columbia in June. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Former Innisfail town councillor breached code of conduct many times, says review

Consultants say 29 of 36 alleged breaches by Glen Carritt had merit

Members of the Red Deer RCMP downtown patrol monitor for drug activity and property crimes. (Advocate file photo).
Two peace officers are training to join Red Deer’s downtown police patrol unit

This “integrated” unit will be the first in Alberta

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

City of Red Deer has nearly doubled its active COVID-19 case count since Feb. 10 and has 75.6 per cent of the Central zone’s active cases. (File photo)
Another new high: Red Deer hits 574 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports 13 new COVID-19 deaths, 430 new cases

A homeless shelter was promised Red Deer to help the city deal with downtown issues. The city and province finally released a signed agreement on what the facility will offer, a year after a $7 million commitment was made for the project by the province. (Advocate file photo).
City and province take next step in bringing a 24/7 shelter to Red Deer

It will include a detox and counselling services

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

European Union Ambassador to Venezuela Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa meets with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza at his office in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The meeting was called after the EU sanctioned an additional 19 Venezuelans for "undermining democracy and the rule of law" in Venezuela and the National Assembly declared the EU ambassador "persona non grata." (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Sanctions prompt Venezuela to expel head of EU delegation

Sanctions prompt Venezuela to expel head of EU delegation

Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman departs a ceremony memorializing U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, as an urn with his cremated remains lies in honor on a black-draped table at the center of the Capitol Rotunda, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021, in Washington. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Relatives of inmates cry outside the Centro de Privación de Libertad Zona 8 prison where riots broke out in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Deadly riots broke out in prisons in three cities across the country due to fights between rival gangs, according to police. (AP Photo/Angel Dejesus)
Gang clashes result in Ecuador’s deadliest prison riots ever

Gang clashes result in Ecuador’s deadliest prison riots ever

El Chapo’s wife goes from obscurity to celebrity to arrest

El Chapo’s wife goes from obscurity to celebrity to arrest

This combination photo shows notable cast members from the musical "Rent," from left, Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp and Daphne Rubin-Vega. The New York Theater Workshop will celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Rent” with a gala on March 2 that will be available to stream through March 6. (AP Photo)
La Vie Boheme: ‘Rent’ musical celebrates 25th anniversary

La Vie Boheme: ‘Rent’ musical celebrates 25th anniversary

This cover image released by Knopf shows "Speak, Okinawa," a memoir by Elizabeth Miki Brina. (Knopf via AP)
Review: ‘Speak, Okinawa’ is a masterful memoir and more

Review: ‘Speak, Okinawa’ is a masterful memoir and more

FILE - Yara Shahidi arrives at the 51st NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, Calif., on Feb. 22, 2020. Shahidi not only stars in the young adult dramedy “grown-ish,” but she also serves as an executive producer. The 21-year-old, who swaps out reading scripts for text books as a Harvard student, says she’s equally invested in what happens behind the camera. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Yara Shahidi doesn’t use her voice just to hear herself talk

Yara Shahidi doesn’t use her voice just to hear herself talk

This image released by CBS News shows the logo for the new "60 Minutes Plus" program. CBS News says it is launching a streaming version of "60 Minutes" on the new Paramount Plus service, starting next week, hoping to expose the durable brand to a younger and more diverse audience. (CBS News via AP)
‘60 Minutes’ will have streaming spinoff on Paramount+

‘60 Minutes’ will have streaming spinoff on Paramount+

Most Read