The Alberta government is looking for input to help plot out a transportation strategy for the next 50 years.
Public consultation sessions have been scheduled in 18 communities across the province, including Red Deer, through this month as part of the first phase of the a long-term integrated transportation strategy.
The Red Deer session runs 6 to 9 p.m. today in the Red Deer Room at Red Deer Lodge.
Input is being sought on how best to move both people and products around the province and beyond in the strategy expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Chamber policy co-ordinator Reg Warkentin said their primary issue is the need for long-term planning to ensure transportation and utility corridors are available when needed.
“We’d like to see them pre-emptively do that to deal with long-term population growth and the infrastructure requirements that come with it,” said Warkentin.
Today’s session is expected to be well attended. The City of Red Deer, Red Deer Airport, Tourism Red Deer and representatives from the development, bus, construction and urban planning fields have already given notice they will be attending.
Phase 2 of the transportation project will see citizens and stakeholders invited to participate in an online consultation.
A workbook has been designed for stakeholders, such as trucking and rail companies and industries and businesses that rely on transportation networks, and a survey aimed at the general public will be posted on Alberta Transportation’s website.
A facilitator handbook will also be available to help groups organize their own discussions.
The strategy is a higher level plan and not intended to outline specific annual planning priorities. Specific projects will not be spotlighted, nor will government short-term spending priorities be affected. Locations for future transportation routes, such as a high-speed rail line, will also not be part of the project.
Focus will be on managing current transportation networks and assets while outlining future goals and an action plan to achieve them.
Another Central Alberta session takes place in Rocky Mountain House on Feb. 26. It runs from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Clearwater Room, Walking Eagle Inn & Lodge at 4819 45 St.
The last session takes place the following afternoon in Slave Lake.