Polls & Perspectives

Insights from industry and the community

Do you use the Smith Bridge? If so, how often? If the bridge was closed, how would it affect you?

Use this section to share insights of your own, and see what others have to say about the Smith Bridge.

The results from the first community poll are in.

The MD conducted a simple Smith Bridge community poll in the fall of 2022. Explore the breakdown below.

What are people saying about the Smith Bridge?

Mike Haire

MIKE HAIRE
Woodlands Manager, Vanderwell Contractors

"It's perplexing why this keeps getting delayed. There were plans in place, it was recognized, and then it got delayed and now it's being delayed again.

Eventually the bridge will come to end of life, and then it becomes an emergency fix to a critical piece of infrastructure. That's not good for anybody. It tends to cost more; it's not well-planned; it impacts the locals and the businesses that depend upon that bridge. And that's what the MD has been pushing to avoid."

"I'm hoping that the provincial government will consider the resource royalties they receive from our Marten Hills oil play, and that they free up some of those dollars they're receiving and make this bridge a priority — both for our economic benefit and theirs in seeing the oil & gas industry thrive in our MD."

Darren Fulmore
Councillor, MD of Lesser Slave River

Mike Haire

MICHELLE BROWN
Community Member, Hamlet of Smith

"This needs to be done because as our kids are getting older, if they can't have work out here, they'll have to leave. Whether it's in Marten Hills, the oilfield, wherever.

The bridge in its current condition does shut off a lot of avenues and accesses to younger generations that could be living here."

Darren Fulmore

DARREN FULMORE
Councillor, MD of Lesser Slave River

"For the community, this bridge is very important. A third of our community lives on the north side of the river, two thirds on the south side. It affects businesses, whether it be the store, the service station, especially the school with children on one side. If the bridge fails...if it closes, we are going to be in dire straits. 

This bridge is a vital link for our community locally, but also for our industry. It gives them access to oil, to logging. And the royalties have served our community, our MD and the Province well, because a lot of our tax base is tied up in the industrial assessment that we get from those activities."

"We use the Smith Bridge at minimum twice a month. We get water and dispose our wastewater in Smith.

Closing the bridge would mean we would need to get these services from Slave Lake, most likely at a higher cost due to extra travel time. It would also mean longer travel time to dispose of our household garbage.

We support the local businesses in Smith and with the bridge closed we would no longer have that opportunity."

Bob and Wendy Wiebe
MD residents

J.D. Dennis

J.D. DENNIS
Community Member, Hamlet of Smith

"We're in a community that is small, but there's still a fair number of people. And we're prone to forest fires around here. If this road gets shut down due to a forest fire, the inhabitants of Smith are toast if there's no bridge.

You've only got one way in or out, especially with the tourist traffic across the river that could lead to some serious implications."

Bill Krepps

BILL KREPPS
VP Operations (retired), Deltastream Energy

"If the bridge was fixed, it would be a safer route, because less time on the road is just by nature safer.

Regarding access to the Marten Hills project from people in the Hamlet of Smith: if it's closer, it's going to be more economical for the oil company, and they will use closer, more economical services. I don't think that can happen with the bridge the way it is. It’s just one-way traffic. I mean, it's just too risky."

"The Smith bridge is our connection to our water supply, our mail, our garbage collection, our road maintenance, our fire protection and school. If we were unable to cross the Athabasca River by bridge, this would add about a hour travel time (times 2) both ways travelling for specialist appointments in Edmonton and dentist appointments in Westlock. This is a concern with ambulance response also. We need the bridge!!!"

Donna Walters
MD resident

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