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Province hires lawyer to fast track Springbank reservoir

PC Alberta leadership candidate Ric McIver speaks in Edmonton on Aug. 21, 2014. McIver is the new interim leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative party.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

ALBERTA (660 NEWS) — The Alberta government has taken steps to speed up the process to get the Springbank reservoir built.

Lawyer Martin Ignasiak has been hired to assess the status of the project and advise the government on immediate action they can take.

Minister of Transportation Ric McIver says Ignasiak, a partner at the law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, has extensive experience obtaining regulatory approvals for large projects.

“The federal government process is clearly not within our control which is why we have hired the expert to make sure that we haven’t missed anything — that there’s nothing that we haven’t done that is delaying the process,” McIver said.

READ MORE: City continuing work on flood mitigation projects

“Really to do a scan to see if there’s anything that the federal regulatory process” is doing to delay the project, he said.

The province has committed to building the reservoir in the name of the safety and economic security of Calgary and everyone living downstream of the Elbow River. On top of this move, McIver is aiming to speak to the groups that oppose the move to make sure their concerns are heard.

“I intend to get around and talk to them — I’m making the assumption that the previous government spoke talked to them,” he said. “Whether they have or have not, we’re going to talk to them now to make sure that they are heard, that if they have questions that remain unanswered then we will try to do that.”

The United Conservative Party promised to find ways to speed up the construction and identify the project as part of their overall flood mitigation strategy.