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Cold Lake voices disappointment over lack of provincial funding for Highway 28 upgrades

The City of Cold Lake expressed disappointment with the Government of Alberta’s three-year capital plan, highlighting the absence of funding allocated to initiate improvements on Highway 28. This omission means that substantial upgrades to the highway, crucial for the region’s economic connectivity, will likely not materialize until at least 2028.

Mayor Craig Copeland voiced concerns, stating, “We know a commitment was made to study what upgrades are needed for Highway 28 in early 2023, but there does not seem to be any sense of urgency for a highway that has been in obvious need of upgrades for well over a decade.” Copeland emphasized the critical role of Highway 28, connecting the Cold Lake Oilsands to major urban centers, and underscored its importance for workers accessing one of the province’s most lucrative regions.

Highlighting the upcoming implementation of the federal government’s Future Fighter Capabilities Program, which is expected to bring over $1 billion in federal investments to the northeast, Copeland emphasized the potential economic benefits, including hundreds of additional construction jobs, increased personnel stationed at 4 Wing Cold Lake, and heightened economic activity.

Copeland expressed concern over neglecting essential community infrastructure in Cold Lake including schools and other priority facilities, in the government’s capital projections. He criticized the disproportionate allocation of funds to urban centers while vital regions like northeastern Alberta struggle with inadequate infrastructure.

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“I don’t think I’m alone when I say that we were expecting a greater commitment to the industry and municipalities that helped build so much of this province,” remarked Copeland. “We were sorely disappointed that a small portion of the revenue from our corner of the province wasn’t returned in the form of basic infrastructure.”

The City of Cold Lake’s disappointment underscores broader concerns about regional disparities in infrastructure funding and the need for equitable investment in essential infrastructure to support economic growth and community well-being in northeastern Alberta.

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