May 30th, 2024

MLA Neudorf focusing on infrastructure and trails acts

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 1, 2021.


Nathan Neudorf is looking forward to a couple of bills being passed in the fall session of the Alberta Legislature.
Neudorf, the MLA for Lethbridge East, said recently legislation the UCP government is working on will have an impact for Albertans.
“There’s a couple really good pieces of legislation, things I’m passionate about,” said Neudorf.
One is the upcoming Infrastructure Act, he said.
“The Infrastructure Act has got some really good stuff in there for transparency, a 20-year plan. Coming from the construction industry, we’ve been pushing for that kind of long-term planning for a long time.
“So this is a really well-thought through piece of legislation that I really like and it’ll help municipalities in different regions of the province to know where on the list is their project and when it moves up and down that list with some predictability,” he said.
It will help municipalities learn if their project will be six years down the pipeline or seven years, as an example, Neudorf said.
“Without that public list, who knows? Is it 176, is it number 2,044? They have no idea of knowing and they don’t know what parameters will move it up or down that list,” Neudorf added.
Priorities can change “so this helps provide that matrix for how it’s prioritized. And one thing many people don’t understand if you have a school or a bridge and you do some significant maintenance work to do that, it drops lower on the priority list for eventual replacement,” he said.
One example of that is the Highway 3 bridge work that was done under the previous government, Neudorf said.
“The previous administration put a lot of work into it – a couple million dollars to resurface it and do some needed repairs on it – but in terms of a replacement, that drops it way down that list.”
School boards could also be impacted by going ahead with modernization projects, which would drop replacement down the list, he added.
“Our school division has said no to a modernization because if they do that modernization, they lose out on a new school or something else,” he said.
“There’s lots of factors; it’s not always that simple. Population growth, enrolment growth or decline, city and regional demographics on where people are living, what age group are living within those regions, those kinds of things can all have an impact.”
He said the bill “helps clarify a lot of those kinds of things,” said Neudorf, adding this piece of legislation has been in the works for almost two years. He was part of a task force that looked into different elements of it.
The UCP is also looking at a Trails Act, which Neudorf said will bring a lot of controversy, while clarifying that it shouldn’t.
This act will identify areas that can handle high traffic and others which can’t and will allocate money for maintenance, development and environmental protection, Neudorf said.
“The reason that’s of interest is we all know tourism is an industry that was extremely hard hit by the pandemic” and tourism operators in Alberta are trying to keep residents spending their travel dollars in the province, Neudorf said.
The purpose of the act will be to ensure the environment is protected while also helping tourism operators.
“This will help maintain and establish some environmental protections so that many generations can enjoy that beauty while also helping the tourism industry,” he said.

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Regarding trails, Mr. Neudorf, maybe the goverment can consider the science on trail density and erosion? And maybe the UCP can stop negotiating with coal mining companies to open up the eastern slopes to surface mining (not so good for tourism)? And maybe stop trying to end-run federal water protection goals to reduce mining pollution? Maybe do your job and protect our scarce water supply?