CARDSTON: In general, farmers have a good thing going right now with excellent crops
and great weather to get them off the field. What they don't need, is a
road-block to their work.
The province has a 75% road ban on Highway-505 north of Cardston, running
from Highway-2 to Glenwood.
Cardston, Taber, Warner Wildrose MLA Gary
Bikman, says he can't get an explanation for the road ban, other than the local
road department manager says there needs to be a ban on the road. Bikman explains,
"When I asked him if the standard tests had been done (on the road) he didn't
know if the tests had been done or when they had been done. He's just taking
their word for it. I said that I (Bikman) have driven the road and I can see no
sign of problems with the road - the surface looks great so what do you think
when you drove it and the department manager said he hadn't driven it".
Bikman says he has heard from farmers who use Highway-505, that the road ban
means most grain trucks can only haul about 50% of a normal load,which is
increasing their costs.
According to the MLA, "Farmers are having to make more trips, fuel costs more
because the government took off the six-cent a litre fuel break that the farmers
were getting - that was taken off during the spring sitting of the legislature -
so they have increased costs and it's taking more time to do the same job".
Bikman also noted, any possible road problems can't be due to heavy rain or
flooding since that area was not impacted during the spring. He has sent an
email to Agriculture Minister Verlyn Olson and Transportation Minister Ric
McIver, asking them to end the road ban, which is keeping farmers from getting
crops of the field in a timely manner.
The Wildrose representative says County Councillor Cam Francis has been told
that repairs are planned for the road and the ban may not be removed until after
the repairs are done. Bikman says area farmers understand if repairs have to be
done but at this point, there is no indication what those repairs might be or
when they may be done.