Access to a polling station is limited by construction projects for the Provincial Election on April 23rd. Edmonton-Millcreek voters will need to navigate a one lane dirt road in order to vote with no transit or walkup access provided.
In what is turning out to be one of the most contested elections in Alberta since the defeat of the Social Credit, and considering the fiasco of Robo calls in the last federal election, you would think the Officials at Election Alberta would want to make sure that there are no issues in this election. Unfortunately, the constituents in Edmonton - Millcreek may have issues getting to the polling station located at the Meadowlands Baptist Church, at the corner of 23rd Avenue and 17th Street.
It has been well known that the Millcreek Community Center construction was underway, but according to The City of Edmonton Construction Projects site there are no less than 5 major construction projects occurring at this intersection. So it led to concern on access to the polling station on April 23rd. We contacted the returning Officer for the Riding by email and advised them of our concern on April 4th advising of the access issue, the returning officer for R040, Danny Kinal responded with the following " Detour signs are posted on 23 Ave directing drivers to use Silverberry Road; 17 Street is the access route.". We have viewed the detour signs in reference and they are not what would be considered as open for business. Danny Kinal goes on to say "We are in daily contact with Meadowlands Baptist Church for updates or changes."
On April 16, the area received notification of their polling station and it stated "you vote at Meadowlands Baptist Church". So I decided to investigate the access referred to above further. Well, I am not sure what Elections Alberta thinks is accessible for up to 12000 constituents (a little less than half the total for the riding, Elections Alberta does not provide polling station per capita information) , or more in a 11 hour period, but if everyone votes that would require an average of 1100 people an hour or almost 20 people a minute. if you consider average of 2 people per car 10 cars a minute.
The duties of the Returning Officers are to: "administer open, fair, and impartial elections" this would include access to vote. The Pictures of the site and access to the site are such that based on our findings you would not be able to access the facility in inclement weather, you could not walk there in a short period of time. I walked from SIlverberry Rd and 17th St and it took 20 minutes avoiding cars on the 4 metre dirt road way to ensure I didn't get hit.
The Alberta Elections Website (http://www.elections.ab.ca) says the Polling station is handicap accessible, however the pictures show a wheelchair could not get to the site without vehicle transportation.
Another Elections Alberta miscue, we have contacted Elections Alberta and are waiting to hear, what it is they intend to do regarding the situation. After all this could be the most involved election in years and everyone should be able to vote.