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 390

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 390

David Krutko Mackenzie Delta

I would like to make a point of clarification here. I am following up on the questions asked by Mr. Morin in consideration that we do have other highways out there. I think we cannot concentrate all of our efforts and energy to Highway 3 or even Highway 4, for that matter. My point is that we have to take into account that there are other highways out there that have conditions which may be more urgent than these highways that are presently being considered. I think that we have to take into account that the majority of the highways in the Fort Smith region are paved or have chip-seal. Yet, you have to realize that we also have to maintain a lot more highways outside the Fort Smith region, which are in worse condition than this highway system that is presently being discussed. I do not believe that my question is out of line. It is following up on the questions asked by Mr. Morin.

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 390

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Krutko. I do not think that the Minister was insinuating that your question was out of line, but just that from his days of chairing committee of the whole that he may have thought they were better posed on the next page. Do you have a response for that, 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 390

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I was just trying to envision where the Member would be referring to chip-seal or more calcium being applied and I presumed he was talking about the Dempster Highway, which is in his riding, although it could apply to any area. I do know that the department is considering applying calcium to those areas that we can afford the calcium. I will ask Mr. Vician if he can elaborate on that for the benefit of the Member.

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 390

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 390

Vician

Thank you, Madam Chairperson. The Highway Program, the Capital Program specifically has been developed over a number of years post-devolution of the responsibility from the federal government under two specific transfers, one in 1984 and a further one in 1990. With that, a reconstruction strategy has evolved and was established originally in 1990 and has evolved over the years to deal with the highest priority sections of the highway system on a where it is needed most basis. Of course, every day the operations and maintenance dollars preserve the existing system, but the Capital Program has been targeted to deal with the highest priorities. That includes the establishment or the construction of wider roads, better surfaces and includes the application of calcium within the dollars available. The current program in capital overall deals with roads throughout the system, from highways in the Fort Smith region, the Deh Cho and the Inuvik region, as well. The distribution of the dollars is a highest priority distribution for the purpose of safety and the preservation of the existing system. We are continuing to move on that and, of course, the priority to deal with all of that over the long term is one of, hopefully, seeing all of the system dust-controlled at least and, hopefully, seeing

it all surfaced over some period of time. With the current level of funding, of course, that is a long time away. 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 391

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Vician. 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. I would like to know exactly what has happened to the calcium budgets that were in place in the past for the Fort Smith region. They used to have a large calcium budget to maintain or dust-control that highway system. For instance, between here and Fort Rae the majority of that road is calciumed every year. In the case of the other highway systems, very small amounts are being spent on putting calcium and maintaining the surfaces of our other highways. So because the majority of the highways in Fort Smith region are either paved or chip-sealed, where did the money go that was there in the past to calcium a large portion of that highway?

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. I think the deputy would be the more appropriate person to answer that question.

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. 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. Funding for calcium is incorporated within the operations and maintenance budget for the program for highways over the years. For many years, that funding was approximately $1 million throughout the system. During the difficult period of dealing with the budget restraint a few years ago, that budget was affected and all parts of the system were impacted by that budget restraint in 1996-97 and post years. The funding that is available now does deal with attempting to preserve the calcium that was in place and wherever possible increasing that. As sections of the highway, for example on Highway 3, are improved we try to take those savings for the kilometres as they are absorbed into the surfacing portion and leave it in the calcium budget overall.

However, on an incremental basis of that nature, the dollars are minimal and, for example, this past year the dollars saved from last year's surfacing were invested strictly into cost increases associated with the contracts for calcium, which of course are subject to inflationary pressure and costs that go up on a regular basis. The objective, of course, is to take any savings from reconstruction and put it back into calcium and, of course, maintain what calcium we have on the system currently. 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 391

The Chair Jane Groenewegen

Thank you, Mr. Vician. 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. Can the Minister give me a listing of exactly where these expenditures have been spent to upgrade the calcium program and which highways it has been spent on?

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.