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Rocky road to ring road may be near end
Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary
Published Thursday, September 19, 2013 5:01AM MDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 19, 2013 6:27PM MDT
Negotiations to build part of the city's ring road through the Tsuu T'ina Nation have been in the works for over 50 years and on Thursday, Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver confirmed a tentative deal is on the table.
McIver says the deal is similar to the one that band members rejected back in 2009 by more than 60 percent.
He says that unfortunate wording made the original deal hard to accept and he is cautiously optimistic that something can be finally nailed down.
The Tsuu T’ina Nation still has to vote on the agreement which won’t happen until October 24, 2013.
McIver says that a vote in favour of the deal by the Tsuu T'ina is only the first step.
"Even if the Tsuu T'ina people do vote in favour on the 24th, the Government of Canada has to ratify the deal and as I understand it, that could take two weeks or two years. So you can see why I can't give you an accurate timeline of what could happen after that point," said McIver.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he thinks the deal is a win-win-win for the city, province and Nation.
"The thing that’s different this time, last time around the Tsuu T'ina people were asked in a referendum to vote on a deal where there was a lot of uncertainty. I think from the city’s perspective we’ve tried to eliminate that uncertainty. So very early in our term, our city council said if there were to be negotiations, this is what the city would agree to and put on the table and I understand that was very helpful in the negotiations going forward," said Nenshi.
Premier Alison Redford says the Nation and McIver have done a great job but more work still needs to be done.
"We're not going to start outlining this in the media or providing more details. This is still very much tentative, there's been lots of hard work. You'll remember in 2008, one of my commitments when I ran for MLA was to get the ring road built so you can image, I'm very pleased with where we are, but we're not done yet," said Redford.
Redford says she is glad the Tsuu T'ina were willing to come back to the table and sees the tentative deal as a positive step towards getting the project done.
The southwest portion of the project would connect Sarcee Trail with 37th Street and ease some of the traffic troubles on Glenmore Trail.