I have been reading, with no little interest, the recent debate in the Red Deer Advocate about the Howse Pass Highway, again being proposed, this time by some East Country MLAs. Your editorials and reporting leave no doubt where you stand with this issue.
You and the mayor of Red Deer scoffing at the notion that there are people living in Alberta and Saskatchewan who have the audacity to want a highway that actually creates a very desirable direct link for us with the province of B.C. and the West Coast.
You know, it is a crying shame that this great and wealthy country of ours does not have even one four-lane highway connecting the Prairies with the West Coast.
The argument concerning the Howse Pass has always been that it is ecologically and environmentally disastrous to build a highway through Banff National Park. Well, the tree huggers used to say that about twinning the No. 1 Highway through Banff and Yoho parks and, although way too slowly, making that road into a four lane hasn’t hurt wildlife, what with all those silly and very expensive overpasses, it seems, every few miles or so.
We’ve noticed that in the interior of B.C. the government now has signs up along Hwy 1 proudly proclaiming that they intend to twin this highway from Kamloops to the Alberta border.
But it isn’t like they are actually doing any road building. There is the occasional mile and the odd bridge here and there, but the way it’s going, that twinning isn’t likely to happen in my lifetime, and I’m not that old.
The size of Banff National Park is 6,641 square km, Jasper National Park is a whopping 10, 878 square km, Yoho National Park is 1,313 square km, and Kootenay National Park is 1,406 square km. That is a combined 20,238 square. km in just four national parks. That’s over 500 square km for each of the 38 grizzly bears that supposedly live there.
And one more 80 km/h highway, taking up about. 30 square km through the Howse Pass, sorely needed by a combined population of the three million people it would benefit, is going to cramp their style?
According to the fears expressed by the environmental nay-sayers about this much-needed project, you’d think this little ribbon of road is going to eternally ruin the entire flower population of Banff National Park.
For whose benefit do we keep these parks, anyway? Only for those who ride horses?
Of course we should make every effort to lobby all levels of governments involved to see this project started and completed as soon as humanly possible!
Len Nederlof, Sr