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Alberta

Province promises almost Half Billion Dollars to expand Calgary’s Deerfoot Trail

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Minister Mason, with Service Alberta Minister Brian Malkinson, announces a $478 million investment in Deerfoot Trail.

From the Province of Alberta

Deerfoot Trail upgrades to create jobs, cut commute

The Government of Alberta is expanding Deerfoot Trail to create jobs, ease congestion and reduce commute times.

Deerfoot Trail is the busiest roadway in Alberta with an average of 175,000 vehicles travelling on it every day. The province is adding both northbound and southbound lanes to 21 kilometres of Deerfoot Trail between Beddington Trail and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail, to improve traffic flow and ease congestion.

Multiple interchanges will also be upgraded with additional lanes at Memorial Drive, 17 Avenue, Glenmore Trail, Southland Drive and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail to reduce commute times at key bottlenecks.

“Deerfoot Trail is the busiest road in Alberta, and a vital artery for Calgary. It has become increasingly congested, and everyone who drives this road will appreciate this expansion plan. We want commuters to spend less time in traffic, and more time with their families and loved ones.”

Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

Calgarians rely on Deerfoot Trail as the city’s most used north-south vehicle corridor. This major infrastructure project will transform Deerfoot Trail into a modern freeway that meets the current and future needs of a growing, active city.

“These improvements to Deerfoot Trail have been long awaited by Calgarians. This substantial investment from the Government of Alberta will go a long way in improving the traffic flow and safety on a roadway that is used by thousands of Calgarians every day.”

Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

This major expansion builds upon work already underway to optimize traffic flow on Deerfoot Trail. In early 2019, the province issued a Request for Proposals for engineering of a new Intelligent Transportation System to help ease congestion by employing variable speed limit technology and new message boards to alert commuters of expected travel times and incidents ahead.

The expansion of Deerfoot Trail is expected to create 2,330 jobs, and $478 million has been allocated in the Capital Plan for the project.

Quick facts

  • An initial study released in 2017 made recommendations for short-term improvements to Deerfoot Trail, including:
    • New Intelligent Transportation System
    • New interchange improvements at:
      • McKnight to 64 Avenue ramp connection
      • 11 Street northbound connection to Deerfoot, north of Beddington
      • Southland Drive to Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail
  • In early 2019, the Government of Alberta issued a Request for Proposals for engineering and design work for short-term improvements to Deerfoot Trail.
  • The Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary are engaged in a long-term study of Deerfoot Trail that will be finalized this year. The core initial findings suggest:
    • Additional lanes northbound and southbound between Beddington Trail and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail are required to meet growing traffic demands.
    • Major interchange improvements are required at Memorial Drive, 17 Avenue, Glenmore Trail, Southland Drive and Anderson/Bow Bottom Trail to reduce commute times and improve traffic flow.
  • Deerfoot Trail first opened to the public in 1971. It has been a full freeway since 2005.
    • When the road was built to its present configuration in 2005, Calgary had one million residents.
    • The population of Calgary is now approaching 1.3 million, excluding the rapidly growing populations of Airdrie and Chestermere.

Alberta

Update 19: Northwest Alberta wildfires (June 12 at 5 p.m.)

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June 12, 2019

Evacuation orders have been lifted for Bigstone Cree Nation and the Hamlets of Wabasca-Desmarais, Sandy Lake and Chipewyan Lake. More than 3,700 people are now able to return home.

To date, more than 9,800 evacuees from the following communities have been approved to return home:

  • High Level
  • Mackenzie County
  • Dene Tha’ First Nation
  • County of Northern Lights, south of Twin Lakes Campground including Notikewin
  • Marten Beach (MD of Lesser Slave Lake)
  • Keg River/Carcajou
  • Peerless and Trout Lake communities
  • Bigstone Cree Nation 166 A, B, C and D
  • Municipal District of Opportunity 17
    • Hamlet of Wabasca-Desmarais
    • Hamlet of Sandy Lake
    • Hamlet of Chipewyan Lake

Evacuees returning received re-entry packages with advice on what to do when they arrived home.

Evacuees can find tips on re-entry by visiting https://www.alberta.ca/emergency.aspx. Information includes making sure all your utilities are working, cleaning up and how to deal with door-to-door salespeople offering services and insurance.

Approximately 700 evacuees are displaced due to a mandatory evacuation order for Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement.

The following communities remain on evacuation alert:

  • Bigstone Cree Nation 166 A, B, C and D
  • Hamlet of Wabasca-Desmarais
  • Hamlet of Sandy Lake
  • Hamlet of Chipewyan Lake
  • County of Northern Lights
    • North of Township Road 910 to the north county border, including the Twin Lakes Campground, Keg River, Carcajou and the Town of Manning

Current situation:

  • Chuckegg Creek wildfire, southwest of High Level, is about 269,648 hectares.
  • Jackpot Creek wildfire, approximately 11 kilometres north of Lutose, is about 28,167 hectares.
  • McMillan Wildfire Complex, southwest of Bigstone Cree Nation, is more than 263,969 hectares.
  • Battle Wildfire Complex in Peace River is about 55,179 hectares.
  • There are more than 2,000 wildland and structural firefighters and staff, approximately 159 helicopters and 22 air tankers and 233 pieces of heavy equipment on these fires.
  • Check Alberta Emergency Alerts for more detailed and frequently updated information.
  • People driving in fire-affected areas should carry enough fuel, as it may not be readily available.
  • Be cautious of organizations not registered to solicit donations. For information on how you can help, visit https://www.alberta.ca/emergency.aspx.

Visit alberta.ca/emergency for detailed and frequently updated information.

Air quality

Financial supports

  • Evacuees should check alberta.ca/emergency for updates on evacuation payment eligibility.
  • Evacuees in need of financial assistance for immediate needs can apply for an Income Support program emergency needs allowance. This benefit may cover your accommodation, clothing and other urgent needs. Please call 1-877-644-9992 for more information.
  • You may qualify for the evacuation payment if you:
    • were living, working or vacationing in the affected area
    • were forced to leave due to an evacuation order
    • paid for most of your costs to evacuate
    • were forced to leave your residence (primary, working or vacationing) due to a mandatory evacuation order – current communities include:
      • High Level
      • Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement
      • Bushe River
      • Chateh
      • Meander River
      • Wabasca-Desmarais
      • Bigstone Cree Nation 166 A, B, C and D
      • Sandy Lake
      • Chipewyan Lake Village
      • Keg River
      • Carcajou
      • Northern border of the County of Northern Lights to Township Road 922 (Notikewin Road)
      • Steen River
      • Trout Lake
  • Albertans who qualify will receive $1,250 and $500 for each dependent child under 18 living in the same home when the evacuation order was given.
  • Application methods:
  • Apply online through the MyAlberta Evacuation Payment application using a smartphone, device or desktop. Interac e-transfers may take 24 hours to process.
  • All payment distribution centres are now closed.
  • If you need help applying, contact Alberta Supports to find the nearest centre: Toll free: 1-877-644-9992 (Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.) In-person: Find an Alberta Supports Centre.
  • More than 11,400 individuals have received evacuee support totaling close to $11.6 million.

Reception and call centres

  • All evacuees should register with an evacuation reception centre, even if you’ve found alternate accommodations.
  • Reception centres are assisting evacuees either in person and/or by phone:
    • Grande Prairie – 780-567-5587
    • Peace River Town Hall (9911 100 Street) – 780-624-2574
    • Wabasca-Desmarais Lakeview Sports Centre (102 Opportunity Drive) – 780-891-2659
    • Dene Wellness Centre – 1-867-874-2652
  • Evacuation reception centre hours can be found at alberta.ca/emergency.
  • The Government of Alberta contact centre is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. Call 310-4455.

Highway updates

  • To stay informed on all road closures due to the wildfires, visit 511.Alberta.ca or download the mobile app.

Insurance information

  • Most home and tenant insurance policies provide coverage for living expenses during an evacuation.
  • Evacuees should retain all of their receipts for food, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer.
  • Albertans can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information about insurance coverage is available online at ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.

Justice and legal matters

  • Community Corrections and Release operations have resumed in High Level.
  • High Level Court is open.
  • Chateh Court matters will be heard in High Level Court until further notice. Call 780-926-3715 for inquiries.
  • Fort Vermilion Court matters have resumed. Call 780-926-3715 for inquiries.
  • Wabasca-Desmarais matters will continue to be held in High Prairie until further notice. Call the High Prairie Court at 780-523-6600 regarding any matters scheduled.

Education

  • The schools of Fort Vermilion School Division will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Students wishing to write a diploma exam, Grade 6 or Grade 9 provincial achievement tests should make arrangements with the Fort Vermilion School Division. For further information visit: fvsd.ab.ca.
  • School officials in fire-impacted areas will address the impacts of disruption on the academic program and school year. Students or their guardians should watch for online or direct communications from local school authorities about specific changes.

Provincial park closures

  • All provincial parks that were temporarily closed due to the threat of fire have reopened.
  • Calling Lake Provincial Park campground is currently supporting evacuees. The boat launch in Calling Lake remains open.
  • Current information about fire bans, restrictions and closures in provincial parks and campgrounds is available at http://www.albertaparks.ca/

Boil water advisory

  • A boil water advisory is in place for Meander River (Dene Tha’ First Nation).

Health

  • Wabasca-Desmarais Healthcare Centre is now open.
  • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour help line at 1-877-303-2642, the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322, or Health Link at 811.
  • The Northwest Health Centre in High Level is open.
  • Alberta Health Services is providing enhanced addiction and mental health services to help residents in High Level following the evacuation.
  • New, temporary walk-in services for individuals experiencing addiction and mental health concerns are available seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mental Health Clinic at Northwest Health Centre in High Level. For more information, please call the clinic directly at 780-841-3229.
  • Alberta Health Services has relocated acute patients and continuing care residents from La Crete and Fort Vermilion to health facilities in Edmonton and surrounding communities.
  • The emergency department at St. Theresa General Hospital in Fort Vermilion remains open. 

Pets and livestock

  • High Level animal control has collected household pets that have been left behind. For questions regarding your pets, please call 780-926-2201.
  • For evacuees in the Wabasca area, please fill out an online form on the Alberta Animal Disaster Response Facebook group, or text 403-869-4964 and provide your name, contact number, number of animals missing, where they were last seen, and a brief description of your pet.
  • The County of Northern Lights will allow residents to enter property to look after livestock between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Residents must first go to the county office to register for the temporary access pass.

Electricity and natural gas billing

  • High Level and area residential, farm, irrigation and small commercial electricity and natural gas customers will not be billed for the period covered by the evacuation order.

Donations and volunteers

  • High Level is not accepting donations or volunteers at this time.
  • The Town of Slave Lake has set up an online form for offers.
  • Check the Mackenzie County Facebook page for an up-to-date list of donations needed and drop-off locations.
  • There have been reports that local residents in High Level are being solicited by email or phone for donations in support of firefighters or affected residents. Do not share your personal information with them or donate money.
  • When asked for donations (either over the phone, through an e-mail, or in person), ask the canvasser for identification or printed information about the charity.
  • If you have concerns about the activities of a charitable organization including its fundraising practices, call Service Alberta: 1-877-427-4088.

Canada Post

  • Mail and parcel delivery in certain communities has been affected by the wildfires.
  • Canada Post has contingency measures in place to serve residents of these communities.
  • Check the Canada Post website for updates.

Other income and social supports

  • Evacuees who receive Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped or Income Support benefits by cheque should contact their worker to make arrangements to receive it.
  • Call Alberta Supports at 1-877-644-9992 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday to Friday if you:
    • need information on other social supports
    • are a contracted service provider, family member or individual needing assistance through the Persons with Developmental Disabilities program
  • For information on child intervention and child care, call 1-800-638-0715
  • Employment insurance: evacuees can visit Service Canada online to apply at www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html. Use code 4812014812201900.

Health card, driver’s licences, ID cards, birth certificate

  • To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card call 780-427-1432 or toll free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.  
  • If driver’s licences, identification cards, and/or birth certificates were left behind during the evacuation, replacement cards and certificates can be ordered free of charge at a registry agent.

Public information

  • You can call 310-4455 for more information – Monday to Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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Alberta

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2019: Mike Rogers, Hockey Athlete

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Mike Rogers played professional hockey for a total of 12 years; five years in the World Hockey Association, then seven years in the National Hockey League. Mike has the distinction of being one of only four players in the NHL to achieve 100 points in their first three seasons – the others are Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Peter Stastny. Mike’s first year in the NHL was with the expansion Harford Whalers team in 1979/80. He scored 105 points in both his first and second year. Mid-way through the 1980/81season, he was named captain. Mike joined the New York Rangers for the 1981/82 season and led the team with 103 points. He averaged 67 points in his next three seasons as the team adapted a more defensive style of play. In 484 regular-season NHL games, he had 519 points. In 1974/75, during Mike’s first year in the WHA, he led the Edmonton Oilers rookies in goals and points and was selected the WHA’s Most Gentlemanly Player. He was traded to the New England Whalers in 1975/76 and was their top scorer in 1978/79. In 396 WHA games, he scored 145 goals and had 222 assists for 367 points.

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