Rocky View County (RVC) council has agreed to get the ball rolling again on examining the development of a secondary emergency access route for West Bragg Creek residents and users of the extensive trail system on the north side of the Elbow River.
Unanimous support was given to a motion brought forward by Div. 1 councillor Kevin Hanson and seconded by deputy reeve Sunny Samra to have a report presented to the county's governance committee on the Bragg Creek Secondary Access project.
The report will outline the identified access/egress routes, the status of the project, and potential options for the committee’s consideration to advance this project.
Currently, the only access is by crossing the Balsam Ave. bridge and in the case of an emergency could leave several thousand people without an exit.
"We need to continue to look at this, given the safety of our citizens," Hanson told council. "Today, we looked at whether it was 10 or 14 houses, and the reality is there are a couple of thousand people any given weekend on the north side of the Elbow River with only one road out."
Brian Reimann, RVC operations executive director, said they will continue to lean heavily upon a report completed in 2017.
"It's kind of a departure from the resolution, but more a continuance of the study that was presented to council that had six different access options available for council's consideration," he explained on May 23.
In 2017, Tetra Tech prepared a report on potential emergency routes from the area for the county. Three of the six identified were considered unfavourable because they travelled through areas considered to have extreme wildfire behaviour potential.
That October, the county council identified its preference for an option that traversed onto Tsuut'ina Nation land. It wasn't a cheap project. In 2017 dollars, it was estimated to cost $14.5 million, and about $3.6 million more should some additional paving be optioned.
Discussions were held in 2018 between the county and Tsuut'ina officials and a memorandum of understanding was prepared but has not been signed as of yet.
The update is expected to be brought back to the governance committee in September.