WHEREAS rural municipalities try to work with their citizens to find cost-effective methods of providing service; AND WHEREAS rural municipal residents wish to travel upon undeveloped road allowances to access their fields; AND WHEREAS Saddle Hills County would like to keep this affordable and time-saving access available for its ratepayers; AND WHEREAS we believe that the province does recognize differences in road maintenance as in section 532 (1) (a) and (b) of the Municipal Government Act;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that the Government of Alberta amend the Municipal Government Act so that municipalities may keep trail access open to their citizens by eliminating municipal liability for roads that may be referred to as unmaintained roadways.
Rural municipalities have several undeveloped road allowances adjacent to farmers fields. With our Peace Country soils and several drainage courses, it is extremely expensive to construct roads as large culverts are required. Travelling with a combine along an undeveloped road allowance quite often saves our ratepayers an hour each way. In times of economic hardship such as now, we must do everything we can to reduce the costs to our ratepayers. One example of why the Municipal Government Act should be changed is an undeveloped trail that has a three-foot erosion scour. The County does not want to fix the scour as there is no road there. A resident drives off the trail, hits the hole and wrecks his vehicle. The County can be involved in a lawsuit due to the Countys duty of care to provide road maintenance. A few available options are to build an extra 500 miles of road or make the ends of these trails impassable and go through the formal process of closing the road. The common-sense approach appears to be sign the road as an unmaintained trail and have the province exclude this situation from municipal liability.
The AAMDC has no resolutions currently in effect with respect to this issue.