FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — A new advisory body has been set up to explore the current and future transportation needs of the Athabasca oil sands region.
A committee has been established, consisting of municipal, industry and provincial representatives, who will be charged with identifying transportation requirements for the area.
“Our government recognizes the critical importance of collaboration with stakeholders to make informed decisions on roads, highways, rail, and air in the oil sands area,” said Jeff Johnson, Minister of Infrastructure and Minister responsible for the Oil Sands Secretariat. “This committee will be a powerful tool for the region to plan and coordinate its transportation needs and will help support the continued growth of the entire region.”
The Athabasca Oil Sands Area Transportation Coordinating Committee, which at first glance seems absent of any trucking-specific representation, will meet at least four times a year to “provide strategic advice and recommendations on transportation planning, design, funding, construction, operations and maintenance; including all classes of roads, transit, rail, and air traffic within the Athabasca oil sands area,” the province of Alberta explained in a release.
The committee will be chaired by Heather Kennedy, Suncor Energy vice-president.
“This is about working together to meet the transportation needs of the local community,” said Minister of Transportation Ray Danyluk. “By involving all the partners, the future transportation plans for the area will truly reflect the needs of the region, industry and municipalities.”
“Transportation has been a key concern for our municipality, and the establishment of this committee helps address that concern,” added Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. “By having the municipality as part of this committee, a local perspective is guaranteed to be present and active in transportation decision making. We look forward to collaborating with the Province and industry to improve and enhance our transportation networks and resolve the region’s transportation challenges.”
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