Contest to clean up Ponoka

The Town of Ponoka has launched a contest encouraging residents to maintain their properties.

Keeping your yard neat and tidy shows pride in ownership and now there’s another reason to pout your green thumb to work.

The Town of Ponoka has launched a contest encouraging residents to maintain their properties.

The Pride in Your Property contest is open to all residents and homeowners, as well as commercial and industrial properties, said Ted Dillon, protective services director.

“Every year we get all kinds of complaints about unsightly properties,” Dillon said. “We don’t want it to get out of hand. Maybe this will be seen as a bit of an incentive to get their property cleaned up.

“Once it’s cleaned up it’s not so hard to keep it clean.”

The bylaw enforcement department has become more strict about cleaning up nuisance properties, to the point where the Town of Ponoka will clean up the offending property and add the charges to the owner’s property taxes. Photos are taken and letters are served.

“If that doesn’t work, we go in with our forces and deal with it,” Dillon said.

The winners in the best kept residential, and commercial/industrial yard categories (including new construction) will win a $500 Town of Ponoka utilities credit. The winners of the most improved residential, and commercial/industrial properties (existing landscaped lots) will win a $750 Town of Ponoka utilities credit.

Dillon said different criteria will be used in the commercial and industrial districts; judges will still be looking for neat and tidy lots without weeds, vehicles and equipment stored neatly and buffers if necessary to screen storage lots.

Contestants can now pick up entry forms at the Town Hall. Completed forms can be dropped off or emailed to www.ponoka.org Entrants in the most improved categories must submit before and after photos.

Properties will be inspected throughout the summer. The contest will close Sept. 15 and then judges will pay a final visit to all contestant properties. Winners will be announced by Sept. 30. Dillon said contestants are encouraged to drop off or email photos showing the progressive improvement of the property.