Wheatland County Council has scheduled a public input session regarding the speed limit of Township Road (TWP) 232 in response to input from ratepayers.
Following his presentation to County Council regarding the background information of the roadway, including how it is used and the speeds at which commuters travel, Senior Peace Officer Kris Permann offered possible outcomes that council may consider.
“The options to consider would be to … leave the current speed limit as it is, 100 (km/hr) with the 80 zone, council could adjust the speed limit of TWP 232 to 100 (km/hr), adjust the entire township to 90 (km/hr), or adjust the entire township to 80 (km/hr).”
In August, county council directed administration to bring forward a report on TWP 232, regarding some background, engineering speeds and enforcement actions on the road.
At the time it was completed, the speed limits on the road were 100 km/hr from Highway 817 east to just before the corner connecting to Range Road (RR) 243, then it was 80 km/hr for the remainder of the paved roadway and on the gravel portion to the Trans-Canada Highway.
In 2017, the 80 km/hr section was increased to 90 km/hr, then in 2019, the entire road was made standardized at 100 km/hr.
Later in 2019, the speed limit was decreased back down to 80 km/hr between RR 244 and 241, with the remainder of the road remaining at 100 km/hr.
County Reeve Amber Link said she has been on the receiving end of numerous comments regarding the road from constituents, which prompted the discussion.
“What preceded this request to administration were several letters of concern that initially I’d received from rate payers. Some of those concerns were also expressed on social media, I also did hear some counter perspectives where people were happy with the speed limit on the road or would like to see that 80 km/hr piece removed,” said Link. “One correspondence that I received that went directly to administration … referenced that we would request an opportunity for the ratepayers to address council with their concerns.”
Rather than relaying concerns herself, Link suggested it would be better to simply allow concerned ratepayers time to address council directly.
Link added from her own perspective, she would not support reducing a standard road speed on the section to 80 km/hr, as there is a lack of available data to support such a decision.
Permann said he would simply like to see a consistent road speed for the section of highway, as the variance is proving to be a burden on law enforcement, as well as sending the wrong message.
“I would say that consistency is important. My concern is that keeping and reducing, (etc.) place and unreasonable burden on law enforcement because it has the appearances that we are trying to target and generate revenue from these areas rather than look at it as a safety concern,” he explained.
“We are not revenue generators in protective services, Wheatland County has never been that way. We enforce based on safety concerns.”
A date for the public input session has been scheduled for Jan. 11 at 10 a.m. regarding the speed limits on TWP 232.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times