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Balgonie first responders allowed access off Trans-Canada highway
Published Sunday, November 5, 2017 6:40PM CST
Last Updated Sunday, November 5, 2017 7:04PM CST
The town of Balgonie is finally making progress in its fight for better access off the Trans-Canada highway.
Construction crews spent the weekend building an emergency entrance for first responders. The province may also be willing to consider a right turn lane onto Main Street.
This will be Balgonie's new emergency access for first responders. It's located in front of the high school.
It replaces the old main street highway crossing which was closed this fall due to safety concerns. The town has been fighting ever since for alternatives.
We are putting in emergency access almost right at the school. It's going to have armed gates of which the emergency response team will have full access to. They will have the controls,” said David Marit from ministry of highways.
The emergency entrance doesn't help the business community which has struggled since the main street intersection at the Trans-Canada was closed. It has been replaced by a new overpass west of town. The service station has lost 80% of its business, the diner is struggling and the motel has gone up sale. Town representatives have now met with the minister of highways at the legislative building.
"I found it encouraging. It was actually the first time that we have been able to meet with Mr. Marit himself. We have been pushed around to his deputy minister and people below him before and we felt we were getting nowhere with them,” said Jesse Edwards, Balgonie first responder.
The community says the minister suggested it hire an engineer to come up with a right turn proposal.
"And we know that we are going to be able to come up with something that's going to work for our town for a right in and to keep our businesses prosperous,” said Edward.
The NDP opposition says a solution must be found.
"We're spending two billion dollars on this bypass. We are the customer. They taxpayers of Saskatchewan are the customers,” said Buckley Belanger, NDP MLA.
The community is now looking into the possibility of hiring an engineer. A fundraising campaign may be launched to pay for it.