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St. Cyprian's

 

Worship is perhaps what we think of first when we think of our Christian ministry. It is the main way we fulfill the Great Commandment: to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. In worship we acknowledge that God is worthy of our praise. To know that we are loved by God, made for God, and that our life is a gift from God leads us to want to worship.

In the bread and the wine Jesus assures us of his real presence and profound love for us. By offering ourselves to God, our worship shapes us and helps transform us into an even more Christ-like form.


Services

Regular Sunday Services

We typically alternate between lay-led Morning Prayer and clergy-led Holy Communion services on Sundays at 10 am. Our address is 5005 C&E Trail, Lacombe T4L 1N5

When possible we also offer recorded sermons and/or Morning Prayer services:

5005 C&E Trail, Lacombe

 

OPEN LETTER (November 29, 2023)

Concerning Lacombe's Intersection Design Change at Highway 12 and C&E Trail

by The Rev. Dr. Robert Sears

You may have noticed that there are new left-turn lane lines painted on the road at the intersection of Highway 12 and C&E Trail. The Anglican Parish of St Cyprian has been against this development plan since we were informed of it this Spring. We think there are three problems with this plan.

First, there is a problem with the process. There was no public consultation on the project with affected property owners. Second, there is a problem with the justification of the project. Lacombe’s engineers misrepresented the project. In the end they did not meet any traffic design safety standards. And third, there is a problem with city oversight of this project. There has been no response by city council concerning misrepresentation, lack of justification, and negative impact of the project.

The Parish of St Cyprian is an Anglican Church that has been in Lacombe for 125 years. The church was built in 1901 and moved 75 years ago our current location at the corner of Highway 12 and C&E Trail.

We were informed this Spring that Lacombe wanted to redevelop the intersection at Highway 12 and C&E Trail. This is an $8,500 project that turns the former four lanes (two traffic and two parking lanes) into three lanes, two for opposing lanes of traffic and one central turn lane.

For us this plan removes 50% of our street parking. The overall impact is worse. There is a total of 16 street parking spots around the intersection that will be removed. This will have a profoundly negative impact on our property use. Like downtown businesses in Lacombe, for our 75 years at this location we have depended on street parking to operate.

Initially the justification for the loss of this parking was safety. From the Manager of Engineering to the Chief Administrative Officer, the claim was that they came to this decision by considering and meeting highway design safety standards.

Both individuals have claimed that the relevant Transport Association of Canada (TAC) safety conditions were met: “These conditions were met in 2015, 2017 and 2018” (May 3, 2023); add “The accident conditions were met in 2015, 2017 and 2018” (October 24, 2023).

And it was because they claimed to have met these standards that we were told that the negative impacts to property owners were outweighed. At no time, however, has anyone in administration or on council been able to give any account of how the negative impacts were quantified or weighed in the balance.

We wanted proof that the TAC safety conditions were in fact met. And proof that there were the appropriate number of left-turn accidents on all four left turns should be readily accessible, if this was at the heart of the planning process as they claim. Every city concerned with traffic safety regularly meets either safety or volume conditions when trying to improve traffic safety at intersections. It is normal operating procedure for cities.

We went to the Lacombe Police Service (LPS) and asked them for accident information about this intersection. They wouldn’t share their data or their report to the city. They said we had to ask the city for that information. When I called city hall, I was put through to someone’s messaging service in “legal.” The front desk wasn’t sure they should share this kind of data either. I have yet to hear back from that message.

So we decided we had to go directly to council. We went to an “open mic” session. We made our 5-minute pitch. We said we also value traffic safety. We knew one of those reported accidents was a someone who crashed into our street sign. We told council that we were resigned to lose some street parking on the condition that they met the safety standard they claimed to have met. However, if the city can’t meet those safety conditions, then it should not go ahead with the plan. That was our argument. We received smiles, thank yous, and someone will follow up with us.

I received the follow up phone call. I was told again that the TAC safety conditions were met and, yes, negative impacts to property owners were considered and deemed to have been “more than offset.” But when I pressed, no criteria or assessment of negative impacts was forthcoming. And when asked about the Lacombe Police Services accident data, I was told that the LPS accident report did not log accident scenarios. So, I said there was therefore no way the city can support their claim to have met the TAC safety conditions, unless some other source or assessment was available. That received no response.

After the call I decided that I had to let council know about their failure to meet their claimed safety conditions. I wrote an email to the mayor and city council. I detailed the reasons why I thought the city engineers have failed to met TAC safety conditions. I then repeated our claim that the project should therefore be reconsidered, especially considering the obvious and unchallenged negative impact to property owners.

My reasoning was this: If Transport Association of Canada safety conditions for adding left-turn lanes were in fact met, then Lacombe would be able prove that four or more collisions related to left turns per year, or six or more occurred within two years for any particular left turn. But since the LPS accident report does not give accident scenarios, there is no way to meet TAC safety conditions.

There is no way to establish that six or more accidents occurred on left turns, never mind on which left turn they might have occurred. Even if these nine accidents were all making a particular left turn, that would mean that the conditions for only one left turn lane could be justified. Yet the project has added four left turn lanes!

Only one councillor took my email seriously (for which we are nevertheless thankful). The councillor pressed the administration for a response to our repeated request for proof. In the email reply I received from the Chief Administrative Officer I was told that we had apparently not been clear enough about our requests. And upon reflection the administration agreed that the LPS data was insufficient to meet TAC safety conditions. But the origin story had now changed.

Now the project was said to have only ever have been based on “local” information. It was now claimed that the administration never intended to make any claim that the addition of four left-turn lanes at the intersection of Highway 12 and C&E Trail will prevent accidents or improve traffic safety. The redesign plan was apparently just based on “anecdotal” information and not on any kind of professional traffic safety assessment.

If this is the case, then there is simply no reason for the city planners to have wasted time and money with this intersection redesign. And it also means nothing about the project’s purpose or justification offsets the negative impacts to property owners’ land use.

Council has made it sound like public consultation is something they value: “Council believes that land development is a partnership. [...] It may require circling back to repeat previous stages, integrate feedback and revisit certain elements. The time invested in respectful and meaningful consultation up front will likely save a good deal of adversity and expense in the long run” (Public Consultation Policy 61/211 (09)).

Nevertheless, there was no consultation before this project was approved by council. There has been no circling back around to integrate salient feedback, like their lack of justification for the project and the unmitigated negative impacts of the project.

The TAC safety conditions have not been met. There is no traffic study, engineering report, or any other accident data available to justify this project. Even though council now knows that they approved this project based on unsubstantiated claims of meeting TAC safety standards, there has been no follow up with us, no revisiting the plan, and no course correction. This project no longer has any claim to compelling reason to be implemented.

Lacombe City Council has, in our opinion, failed to demonstrate accountability for its part in approving a misrepresented and ultimately unjustified project.


 



The Anglican Parish of St. Cyprian, 5005 C & E Trail, Lacombe, Alberta T4L 1N5