June’s MLA Report

Floods CougarCreek PhotocreditGovernmentofAlberta
Photo credit Government of Alberta
Cameron Westhead MLA Banff-Cochrane
Cameron Westhead
MLA Banff-Cochrane

When I ran for election in 2015, there were several priorities in Banff-Cochrane I hoped to address if I were to be elected. Now approaching the two-year mark, I’d like to report on some of the progress that’s been made.
Flood mitigation was one of my highest priorities. While there is still much work to be done, there has been a significant commitment with respect to funding these projects that will protect Bow Valley communities. All three levels of government have committed funding to the Cougar Creek retention structure project, for example.
The Town of Canmore and Government of Alberta are working as quickly as possible to ensure approvals are in place in order to begin construction.
Another priority was to address the shortage of affordable housing in the Bow Valley. In April, Minister of Seniors and Housing Lori Sigurdson visited Banff and Canmore to announce nearly $12 million in funding for an affordable housing project on Deer Lane in Banff that will provide 132 units, as well as $10 million in additional funding for 60 new units at the Bow River Seniors Lodge. Investing in affordable housing provides a safe place to call home, and helps to make life better for Bow Valley residents.
Along the affordability theme, two other commitments from our 2015 election platform have begun pilot projects in Canmore and Banff.
In Canmore, a school nutrition program has started at Elizabeth Rummel. Students can’t learn on an empty stomach, and I am proud that our government has invested in helping children to get the best possible start in life. Meanwhile in Banff, the government has committed funding to support 40 new daycare spaces capped at $25/day. This program will provide flexible child care options for parents who perform shift work.
Complementing the school nutrition program and $25/day daycare is our government’s investment of over $14 million towards public transit in the Bow Valley corridor. Not only does this make transportation for residents more affordable, it also helps to ease traffic congestion. With the influx of tourists expected this coming summer, public transit in the Bow Valley helps to make life better for residents and visitors alike.
During the election campaign, we also committed to stable, predictable funding for healthcare, education, and municipalities. Indeed, we have followed through on that commitment despite calls by the opposition parties to make drastic and reckless cuts. The Canmore Hospital has received $1.8 million for renovations to the admitting area and lobby, acute care nursing stations, additional patient washrooms, resurfacing the parking lot, upgrading the elevator, and replacement of the emergency generator. Banff Mineral Springs Hospital is receiving nearly $1 million for upgrades to isolation rooms, surgical suites, acute care main desk, and the physio front desk.
Looking back on the past two years, I’m proud of what has been accomplished, and the progress that has been made on the platform we put forward during the election. There is much more to do, and I will continue to work diligently on your behalf in the legislature and in the constituency. As always, I welcome you to share your thoughts with me by contacting my office.