Tsuu T'ina First Nation rejects ring road
Published Wednesday, July 1, 2009 4:17PM MDT
It is a stunning defeat for Calgary's biggest and most important highway project.
The Tsuu T'ina First Nation has voted against the southwest section of the ring road.
More than 700 members of the Tsuu T'ina First Nation cast ballots in Tuesday's crucial vote.
60.5 per cent voted against allowing the highway to cross Nation land.
The vote ends 60 years of negotiations to build the much-needed highway.
Calgarians living on both sides of the Glenmore Reservoir and Weaselhead are shocked, surprised and concerned about the Tsuu T'ina decision to reject a ring road alingnment through First Nation's land.
Bob Knight lives on the south side of the Weaselhead in Haysboro.
"It's going to hurt everyone living in Calgary quite frankly, and the traffic we have here."
One possible alignment is along 37th Street SW, traveling over the Weaselhead, through the community of Lakeveiw, where Brad Krizan lives.
"Any of the communities that border the western edge of the city and border the reserve are going to be impacted."
Mayor Dave Bronconnier is disappointed in the vote results, but he says one thing is clear: a First Nation's alignment is off the table, and other options must be explored.
"Based upon finances, based on technical merit, based on buildability, based on constructability...there are all kinds of metrics that will have to be used in the next short while."
Trent Bancarz, a spokesman for Alberta Transportation, says there are no plans to try to restart talks with the Tsuu T'ina First Nation.
"We're not looking at going back to the table right now. We're looking to go forward and explore some other options for traffic in southwest Calgary."
Tsuu T'ina officials declined to talk on camera about the vote results, but offered the following statement from Chief Sandford Big Plume:
"Nation citizens have given us our direction and we will respect their wishes. The nation will not enter into this agreement. ...this was more than a simple economic transaction for us. We consider our land to be a sacred trust."