This is page numbers 357 - 395 of the Hansard for the 13th Assembly, 7th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was highway.

Topics

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I do not know if the deputy has that information at hand or not...he indicates he does not have the information in his hands, so we are going to have to get the information to the Member at a later time.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Steen. Department of Transportation, Fort Smith region. Total Fort Smith region, $13.655 million. Agreed?

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

Some Hon. Members

Agreed.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you. Inuvik. Mr. Krutko.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

No, that is okay. I was going to disagree.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

I have to call the item first. It is Inuvik region. Total Inuvik region, $3.2 million. Mr. Krutko.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Madam Chairperson, with regard to the Inuvik region highway construction, I made reference to lawsuits and court cases that have happened in the past where this government has been sued and, Madam Chairperson, in the last year there have been several accidents where people have been killed on this highway. I would like to know from the department exactly if there have been any lawsuits filed in the last year that they are aware of and exactly what is this government doing to improve the conditions on the Dempster Highway so no more people get killed on that highway system?

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. Mr. Steen.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Mr. Vician will respond to those two questions.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Steen. Mr. Vician.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 391

Vician

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. The specific question with regard to lawsuits, we checked with the risk management section of the government to determine any lawsuits that had been filed on the Dempster Highway as a result of accidents. Those filings would, of course, go through that route and the information we have available is that we have no current lawsuits on that section of road. The specific issue of the improvement of the road to protect the public is a priority and the Dempster Highway Reconstruction Program, which has been ongoing for many years, essentially since the transfer date in 1990 from the federal government, has directly targeted the improvement for safety of that roadway. The 271 kilometres, though, is a long piece of road, very difficult terrain to work in, very high cost and the program has been very successful to date and we hope it will continue to be so successful, but will take a number of years to complete. At the same time, priority areas are set and each year before we propose the Capital Program we assess the next priority and bring forward a plan for reconstruction for the highest priority area. We will continue to do so through the highway reconstruction plan. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 392

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Vician. Mr. Steen.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 392

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Just to expand on what Mr. Vician said, the figures in the budget identify that the department did spend in prior years, $4.5 million for highway improvements on the Dempster Highway and future costs anticipated are $10 million. We are trying to address the problems on the Dempster Highway. Thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 392

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Steen. Mr. Krutko.

Committee Motion 16-13(7): Giving Priority To Accelerating Highway 3 Reconstruction
Item 20: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 392

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I drive this highway quite regularly and I know for a fact that when people say that the highway systems in the South Slave region or Highway 3 or even the highway to Fort Liard is rough, they should drive the Dempster Highway. Basically, the condition of that highway is like going four-wheeling in a quarry pit compared to some of these highway systems we have up here and people should drive that highway system for themselves to see exactly what the condition of that highway is. I know for a fact there have been several accidents on that highway and, personally, driving that highway system was in regard to the condition of that road system. It is a gravel highway on which a lot of times you are dealing with loose gravel and you are dealing with conditions which most drivers are not able to manoeuvre on because they just do not have the experience of driving on gravel roads.

Madam Chairperson, I ask this question about calcium and resurfacing and finding a way to deal with this problem of loose gravel and accidents seriously. I would like something to be done because I know for a fact people are dying on that highway because of the condition of the highway. I am not asking this question frivolously because I am serious when I ask the question and I would honestly like to see this department do something to improve the condition of that highway system. If it means spending more money on calcium or trying to chip-seal it, I support that 101 percent. Just by saying that you are putting money to widen the highway system, I am talking about the maintenance of improving the condition of that highway system to bring it in line with the road between here and Fort Rae. If I had what is between here and Fort Rae, I would be happy because that is almost 99 percent better than what the Dempster Highway is. It is a solid surface on which if you pull over to the side of the road you do not have to worry about ending up in the ditch. I would like to ask the Minister again, what is being done to extend the cost of maintaining the surface of the road to make it safe for the public to travel on?