The RM of Portage la Prairie Council meeting this week highlighted a visit from the Province of Manitoba by Kelvin Shuvera, who works with Provincial Ditch Maintenance.
Reeve Kam Blight and council had an informative discussion with Shuvera. Blight says it was the result of a resolution at the AMM annual conference to reinvest in maintaining the drainage network of the province's infrastructure. He notes the focus was on third-order drains.
"It's to get this water flowing early in the spring, and it's not backing up creating a lot of overland flooding, which is what we saw this past spring," says Blight. "Mr. Shuvera came out and spoke to just highway ditch maintenance, to a certain extent, which is somewhat separate from what we're discussing. But we appreciated the opportunity to speak with Mr. Shuvera and talk about future plans and updates that are going to be taking place in Municipality, or that are of concern to our RM. And the RM of Portage has always had an excellent working relationship with Shuvera and the staff, and we appreciate him taking time out of his busy schedule to come talk."
Blight explains the region with which Shuvera is involved extends up to Hwy 430, making anything west of 430, including PR 227, something of his concern. He says the RM asked about updates since the announcement last August that PR 227 would be upgraded.
"We just talked about how that (PR 227 upgrade) has been approved, and that's going forward," continues Blight. "The announcement and presentation took place at Meadow Lee Hall. He just talked about how that's still proceeding, and hoping that it will start from the west side working east. It just makes sense, logistically, and for cost-effective purposes. We also questioned and asked if there's an opportunity for improvements to Hwy 26 and where that is in the schedule for improvements, as it desperately needs something. It's a highway that impacts many municipalities, and many residents are traveling to and from for work and for agriculture and commerce."
He describes the 26 as a death trap to travel on.
"We wanted to make sure we reiterate those concerns," adds Blight. "He understands and knows that there have been discussions around that, and we'll continue to push that message forward that Highway 26 definitely needs some attention and investment put into it."
Highway 305 was also raised in their talks. Blight notes the RM has been discussing the raising of the road to Road Transportation Association of Canada standards.
"To bring a lot of traffic from the south directly up that route takes pressure off other secondary highways," explains Blight. "So, that is something that's going to be continuing to be worked on, and I believe there are some bridge improvements that are taking place. We're encouraged by the conversations with Mr. Shuvera. It's always good to sit down and discuss and see what their plans and their thoughts are. We know that's forever changing, based on some of the challenges that they're faced with, and the hand that they're dealt with from Mother Nature."