September 9 | Poll respondents indicate clear desire to see West Road completed.

At the start of the 2007 campaign for St. Albert City Council, candidate David Climenhaga asked voters in an Internet poll what they thought should be done about the West Road.

Responses to the poll to date show clearly that most St. Albert candidates want the West Road finished as quickly as possible, but that there is also a strong body of opinion in the city that the cost of the road should not be paid by the city's taxpayers alone.

As of Sept. 5, respondents were evenly divided on the two most popular options in the three-question poll.

- 43.9% answered yes to the option "complete the West Road as quickly as possible."
- 43.9% answered yes to the option "delay the project until the province comes up with funds for the next stage."
- 12.2% answered yes to the option "halt the project now."

"This is an informal poll, but we can draw reasonable conclusions about how St. Albert residents think from the answers given by the people who responded," Climenhaga said.

"One is that most St. Albert residents want the road completed as soon as possible," he said. "But another is that many, if not most, think the province should pay its fair share of what is, for all intents and purposes a provincial highway.

"Only a small number of respondents felt construction of the road should be halted, and judging from what I've been hearing from voters, that accurately reflects the percentage of people in St. Albert who hold this opinion," he said.

Respondents' thoughtful comments were interesting, Climenhaga said. Here are a few:

- "The West Road needs to be completed ASAP and the province needs to pay for it. This is a regional road, if not a highway, and though the
road is desperately needed, St. Albert taxpayers can't afford to pay for it."
- "…Force the provincial government to pay for it and take it over. Get our money back."
- "You do not build capital projects during a boom — simple economics."
- "Get it done before the costs rise even more."
- "Hey, if (Calgary Mayor David) Bronconnier can strong-arm the province into paying for the inflated costs of new infrastructure, why shouldn't St. Albert?"
- "Dead issue. The horse has been flogged for over 25 years. Get the funds, but continue to build."
- "The current council missed a golden opportunity to call it quits after Phase 1 and drop the ball into the province's court. … A municipality the size of St. Albert cannot afford to fund a project of this magnitude."

Climenhaga concluded: "It's obvious that any politician who supports stopping the road is risking his or her political future. But it's equally clear that St. Albert residents expect their elected officials to vigorously lobby the province to pay its fair share of this road."

Click here to contribute your view to David Climenhaga's West Road survey.


David Climenhaga | Candidate for St. Albert City Council