MLA Williams: Budget invests in rural north

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Peace River MLA Dan Williams says the Peace River region and other parts of the northwest are winners in the provincial budget announced Feb. 25.

“For our riding of Peace River, the Alberta government’s investment means over $200 million will be put towards completing the Peace River Bridge, upgrading roads, highways and other infrastructure projects and the new La Crete Maternity and Community Health Centre,” says Williams, a member of the governing UCP caucus.

“We’re also going to see many millions of dollars put towards maintaining vital infrastructure including our highways, bridges and water systems throughout the riding this year.”

He remains committed to the northwest.

“I will continue to work with all our communities on projects that are important to them as this government has invested and continues to invest in north rural Alberta,” Williams says.

“We need to make sure we have sustainable access to resources regardless of what side of the river we’re on and I will keep striving for that alongside this government as we work to support both lives and livelihoods in this budget.”

Education and health care are priorities for the government, he says.

“I want to stress that our commitment to funding the education of young Albertans remains – even with the fiscal challenges the province is facing,” Williams says.

The budget maintains education funding with $8.2 billion for kindergarten to grade 12 students.

Other funding was recently invested in École des Quatre-Vents in Peace River and Blue Hills Community School in Buffalo Head Prairie.

“We’ve also announced nearly $1.3 million to design a new K-12 school in Manning and more than $5 million to modernize Fort Vermllion Public School and nearly $1.3 million to design a new K-12 school in Manning.

Health care is also top of the list.

Funding of $35 million over three years was allocated budget was announced for the new La Crete Maternity and Community Health Centre.

Other health-related projects in northwestern Alberta include $2 million to renovate the medical device reprocessing area in Peace River Community Health Centre, $8 million to demolish the old High Prairie Health Complex that has been vacant for four years, $4.7 million to build a new larger EMS station in Slave Lake and $1 million to renovate the medical laboratory in Fairview Health Complex.

Williams also notes his support for the $8 million upgrade for the Del Air Lodge to support seniors in Manning, up to $16.9 million for Fort Vermilion and Mackenzie County for their relocation efforts and the previous announcement of $16.9 million to install 92 kilometers of natural gas pipeline in the southern half of Mackenzie County.

The MLA and the government are committed to recover from the economic challenges.

“Our Alberta economy is emerging from one of the worst global economic downturns in its history caused by the dual impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s collapse in oil prices,” Williams says.

“Our goal is to protect lives and livelihoods and we’re doing that with a historic investment in health care and investing $20.7 billion in shovel-ready projects.

“The aim is to create thousands of good paying jobs throughout the province and right here in the Peace.”

He is also eager to get past the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions.

“As we continue on towards the summer, I look forward to see the easing of more restrictions as we work to expand vaccination opportunities for Albertans,” Williams says.

“Like many residents, I’m looking very forward to seeing life return to normal.”

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