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Road debate continues between councils

Posted on March 24, 2016 by Vauxhall Advance

Nikki Jamieson
Vauxhall Advance

The ongoing 50th Street dispute between the Town of Taber and the Municipal District of Taber is approaching the year-long mark.

The issue came forth last spring, when the Town of Taber repaved the portion of 50th Street between 64th and 80th Avenue to a minor road collector standard, putting a road ban on it so most farm equipment couldn’t go on the road, to the concern of many M.D. residents who use that road to transport their equipment.

The Town of Taber wanted the M.D. to help pay for upgrading the road to a industrial road standard, saying if they contributed earlier, the road could have been built to an industrial standard in the first place. As the portion of 50th Street under scrutiny is on town property, the M.D. replied it’s not their road, so why should they pay for it.

Last December, the two councils had met to discuss it, with the M.D. requesting the Town of Taber lift the road ban, and treat the street like the M.D.’s highways, which have road bans in the spring.

“Just before Christmas, we met with the town over some concerns over a road ban that they’re putting upon on 50th Street,” said Brian Brewin, reeve for the M.D. “We asked them if they would reconsider the road ban, because we were arguing the existing road is the same quality standards that all our highways were at.”

“There’s not as much base core underneath, but the strength of it – and we did have this tested – the strength shows it is comparable,” said Jack Dunsmore, director of planning and infrastructure for the M.D. The M.D. has just received the Town of Taber’s reply.

A letter dated Feb. 29, received by M.D. council from the town, reiterated the past dispute, past meetings and the importance of the road to M.D. ratepayers, and contained a motion from the Feb. 22 town council meeting asking the M.D. to contribute funds to upgrade the road in a 50-50 split, with a combined project cost of $110,000.

“Was there ever a formal letter from council, asking for us to participate in 50th? The only thing was they wanted to test the gravel for their project, it was never specifically asked for 50th,” said Ben Elfring, M.D. councillor, referring to the Town of Taber’s request made at the beginning of last year.

“We’ll proceed with talking to some of the local ratepayers, but I don’t know if we can justify building a new road to non-ban standards when our own road isn’t at non-ban standards right beside it,” said Brewin.

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