By Letter to the Editor on June 13, 2018.
The Frank Slide, known around the world, is North America’s most deadly rockslide. It’s a stunning, jaw-dropping memorial for approximately 100 people.
During the 100th anniversary (2003) of the Frank Slide, Frank Slide Interpretive Centre visitors looked down on Highway 3 and witnessed the unthinkable. Industrial equipment was actively bulldozing the designated historic resource they had come to see.
The destruction continued. Incongruously, it occurred at a site where visitors, if found guilty of disturbing the rocks, could be fined $50,000, or imprisoned, or both.
The Frank Slide’s 1977 designation as a Provincial Historic Resource delivered formal protection, thus preserving, for posterity, the site’s cultural and geological significance.
Alberta’s Historical Resources Act stipulates that when a Provincial Historic Resource is altered or destroyed, the minister may restore it, and the Crown can recover the costs.
How did the 2003 destruction to the Frank Slide occur and, more importantly, what can society do to ensure that the site is not further degraded?
A Highway 3 functional planning study is currently in progress. Plans expose the intent to destroy much of the Frank Slide. Proponents envision this: the spending of untold millions to create a twinned highway built in the projected path of another rockslide, the long-forecast “second coming” of Turtle Mountain.
How might society react to the proposed placement of a twinned superhighway through Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Rutherford House or Lougheed House?
Perhaps the most important first question is this: What is the Government of Alberta doing in response to an open plan to violate Alberta’s Historical Resources Act?
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