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LINK Pathway project receives cash injection

Posted on February 15, 2024 by Sunny South News
Sunny South News Photo by Justin Seward. Cheque presentation: Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter, on behalf of Minister Tanya Fir and the Government of Alberta, presented the Link Pathway committee a $1 million grant from the Community Facility Enhancement Program towards the completion of the 15-kilometre pathway on Saturday. MLA Grant Hunter presents the $1 million cheque from the Community Facility Enhancement Program to the Link Pathway committee at the Coaldale Civic Square Atrium.

By Justin Seward
Southern Alberta Newspapers

The MPE Link Pathway recreational project that will connect Coaldale to Lethbridge got a major funding boost on Saturday.

Taber-Warner MLA Grant Hunter, on behalf of Minister Tanya Fir and the Government of Alberta, presented the Link Pathway committee a $1 million grant from the Community Facility Enhancement Program towards the completion of the 15-kilometre pathway. The presentation was made at the Coaldale Civic Square Atrium.

Hunter says the Government of Alberta sees the importance of these types of projects.

“I just think that it’s going to be fantastic and so do they,” said Hunter.

“That’s why we got the money here today.”

“This is a good project for this area,” said Hunter.

“Anytime you can actually get people out walking and cycling and getting some exercise, that’s always a good thing to do. It’s the best health care you can get.”

Hunter is excited to see how the path will go through agricultural land.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t really recognize the value of farmland and irrigated land and this will kind of showcase that for them,” said Hunter.

“For young people, young families, they can go out there and they can see what a pivot looks like and what an irrigation canal looks like and that’s great.”

The funds will allow the committee to complete Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project, which is the Highway 512 underpass to Range Road 20-4.

“And really moves (it) forward … to construct the largest infrastructure piece of the project,” said Henry Doeve, MPE Link Pathway committee chair.

Coaldale Mayor Jack Van Rijn said this is very exciting times for all of southern Alberta.

“The fact that we were able to get this large CFEP grant for a million dollars will really let us hit the ground running this spring,” said Van Rijn.

George Lohues, St. Mary River Irrigation District board chair, said the organization is stepping out and doing something that they haven’t done before, allowing this pathway on their right of way.

“As a board member for the Pathway, after 10 years of hard work, it’s an amazing day for us,” said Lohues.

“It’s a day that makes the pathway look very real, especially being able to tender the crossing of Highway 512. It’s a large piece of infrastructure and it’s just a great day when you know that it’s absolutely going to happen now. There’s no stopping this pathway.”

The 15-kilometre pathway will allow for a safe and accessible route for pedestrians, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts.

“The pathway aims to promote active living, boost tourism, and foster a deeper connection between residents and their surroundings,” as read in the release. “Importantly, the pathway winds through pristine irrigated croplands in southern Alberta, allowing pathway users to experience rural Alberta like never before and providing groups like Corteva the chance to educate the public with interpretive signage along the way.”

The Link Pathway currently has a third of its length under construction and will move ahead with certain stages in 2024 with financing available.

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