By Trevor Busch
Sunny South News
Transportation and Economic Corridors Minister Devin Dreeshen travelled to Washington, D.C., recently to promote the importance of expanding economic corridors in North America.
Last month, Dreeshen met with House representatives and transportation stakeholders for several days before proceeding to Manchester, N.H. for meetings with state representatives. The final leg of the trip saw Dreeshen in Toronto, Ont. to promote the importance of economic corridors with Ontario government representatives before returning to Edmonton.
“The seamless movement of goods and services within Canada and through the United States is vital for economic growth and the movement of agricultural, forestry and energy products on both sides of the border,” said Dreeshen in a statement. “To achieve our goals, we must take a nation-building approach to economic corridors, looking beyond Alberta’s borders to opportunities across the province, the country and the continent.”
Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter, who serves currently as Parliamentary Secretary for Agrifood Development and is a promoter of the Highway 3 agri-food processing corridor, wants the world to know all that southern Alberta has to offer.
“I think it’s an extremely important and great job. We just were over in Japan and Korea, and we need to tell our story. We need to present our value to the world. We are doing something down in southern Alberta here that hasn’t been done. So we have to get out there.”
Chin Reservoir in the St. Mary River Irrigation District is currently slated for an expansion and modernization that should add more than 200,000 additional irrigation acres for the region by 2028.
Hunter is firmly convinced that in terms of agri-business development related to irrigation, the pop culture adage “if you build it, they will come” rings entirely true.
“Southern Alberta has great, exciting things happening in terms of irrigation – 230,000 irrigated-acre expansion – that’s unheard of throughout the world,” said Hunter. “And so our ability to access, capture that water and spring runoff into offstream storage, it’s critical for us to be able to facilitate that over the next 10 years. And then hit all those companies, which are always looking for that certainty of irrigated land, especially in specialty crops, like potatoes and so forth. They’re going to come.”
Hunter was in Medicine Hat in mid-October to learn about that region’s connection to the Highway 3 corridor.
“Actually had an opportunity to head over to Medicine Hat and chat with them about being a part of this agri-food processing corridor. Now, obviously, it’s not in my riding, so I have to get to know and understand where their competitive advantages are.”