Resident wants non-confidence vote over intersection battle

SYLVAN LAKE — A local resident frustrated with the mayor’s support for changes to a controversial local intersection wants to push for a non-confidence vote.

SYLVAN LAKE — A local resident frustrated with the mayor’s support for changes to a controversial local intersection wants to push for a non-confidence vote.

Colleen Halwa said outside a Sylvan Lake town council on Monday night she was “absolutely furious” with Mayor Susan Samson’s position on the Hwy 781 and Hwy 11 intersection, which has been converted into right-in, right-out only.

“She is not standing behind the citizens of Sylvan Lake,” said Halwa, one of about 20 residents who turned out for the open microphone session that begins each council meeting.

The mother of two had asked the mayor if she would support residents who are trying to press the province to install traffic lights at the controversial intersection, which has been the scene of a number of fatal accidents over the years.

Samson said she believed the province had chosen the safest solution for the spot and she would not join a lobby to add traffic lights.

Town council got an earful from residents steaming about changes made to the key local intersection.

Dale Mannix warned it’s only a matter of time before the current configuration that marks out turning lanes with posts and cables causes a fatal accident in snowy or foggy weather.

The posts are expected to be replaced eventually by a curbed island, likely next spring.

Wendy Morris also believes the changes have create a dangerous situation.

Related plans to upgrade Memorial Trail and build an intersection at Hwy 20 will add another hazardous corner in the community, she told council.

Shari Britton said the hundreds that turned out to a recent meeting on the intersection hosted by local Wildrose MLA Kerry Towle shows that many in the community believe the province made the wrong decision on the best way to fix the intersection. All residents want is for the province to take another look at options, she added.

Towle also took the microphone to tell council she hoped to work with them but felt it was her responsibility to lobby for changes as residents’ provincial representative.

After the meeting, Samson said the town perhaps has not communicated its position well enough on the intersection.

Samson believes the province has done its homework on what should be done there.

“I believe Alberta Transportation has the background and the engineers to come up with safe solutions on that intersection,” she said.

“This is not news to us that that intersection was going to change. That change was accelerated by the unfortunate, tragic deaths that occurred there and that seems to have been forgotten.”

Three people were killed in separate collisions at the intersection two months apart in the summer of 2011, prompting calls to improve safety there.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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