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Summer projects in Innisfail proceed despite wet weather

Heliport project could be finished and operational by the end of September

INNISFAIL – The town has faced heavy early and mid-summer storms since June but the job of moving forward with critically important infrastructure projects has still moved forward despite the obstacles.

Innisfail town council was recently briefed by administration about the status of this summer’s planned projects, and all are moving forward amidst the weather challenges.

“We had some significant delays due to that rain, so we're a little bit behind schedule. But everything is progressing now quite well,” said Steven Kennedy, the town’s director of operational services, in a recent interview with the Albertan.

Kennedy told town council on July 25 that the million-dollar sound wall replacement project along 42nd Avenue (Highway 2A) would soon begin.

On July 28, workers from Sylvan Lake’s Lakeview Contracting began removing 15-year-old wooden panels from the old half-mile long fence that stretches from the south of the Petro-Canada gas station to the south edge of Sunset Manor.

He said the new concrete-based sound wall, which is expected to last 50 years, should be completed in the late summer or early fall.

Kennedy said there has been good progress made with the long-awaited heliport upgrade, which has a projected budget of $641,541.

He said the concrete asphalt is in place and workers have completed the top soil placement and the painting. Kennedy added the new fence should be completed in a week.

“The heliport is progressing very well. We are hoping that the majority construction will be done by the first week of August,” said Kennedy, adding the project is on budget. “And then from there we're working on the operations and maintenance manual. And then we need to schedule to get Transport Canada to do approvals and inspections.”

He said it’s hoped to have the updated heliport operational by the end of September.

As for surface improvements to local streets and roads, Kennedy said this year’s construction plan involves multiple roads, including 42nd Street, 52nd Street and the north service road just off Main Street.

“That’s all one project,” he said, adding the paving of the path leading to the White Rock rail crossing is also scheduled for this month.

As for the new outdoor rink and playground behind Innisfail Twin Arena, Kennedy said the town has just completed its gravel base work portion of the projects and is working on extending the parking lot for the adjacent Diamond #7 to accommodate the project’s additional amenities.

“It’s going a little slow on those ones just because of the water table out there and all the rain we've had,” he told council.

However, he added it’s hoped the playground will be installed by the Innisfail Kinsmen the second week of August.

Last March, the town set aside a maximum budget of $275,000 (not including GST) for the playground project and is partnering with the local Kinsmen and Variety – the Children’s Charity of Alberta, an organization that supports children who are living with disabilities and specialized needs in communities across the province.

The new facility will be the town’s first fully accessible and all-inclusive children’s playground.

The new outdoor rink will replace the old boardless one behind Innisfail Twin Arena. The total anticipated cost of the project will be $372,650, which is below the estimated project budget of $400,000.