Questioning removal of safety positions

Reader questions Ponoka's cutting of safety and peace officer positions

Dear Editor,

I read with interest and concern the decision by town council and/or administration to terminate both the Community Peace Officer, as well as the safety officer position effective Dec. 31. Certainly it’s an economically challenging time, so municipalities, businesses and individuals alike must make tough decisions in order to balance their respective budgets.

As a business owner, taxpayer and frequent user of our streets in Ponoka, I question whether cuts could have been more wisely made in other areas. Without knowing specifically what the safety officer’s duties entail, I think that the safety of town citizens should be of paramount concern to both council and administration?

Who will enforce the safety by-laws that currently exist for Ponoka residents? What if my neighbor doesn’t shovel his walk appropriately, ice results and someone (maybe you or me) slips, falls and gets hurt? Will these decisions pit neighbor against neighbor when things aren’t done the way they should be? In regards to other by-law enforcement; it took three years for two or more unsightly premises to finally be cleaned up and we allegedly had enforcement? What will happen now?

And traffic wise. Every day I see multiple traffic laws being broken in our town; vehicles not stopping at pedestrian cross walks, even when there’s someone part way across. I had just crossed the street in front of my business recently, and came face to face with one of my out-of-town customers. We exchanged pleasantries, and she started to cross the street to the store. I said to her, “be careful, drivers don’t pay attention to this crosswalk.” She started across, and guess what? A driver, whom I could identify if asked, briefly slowed down and then actually accelerated as he cut her off in the crosswalk.

This is a daily occurrence at this crosswalk. And that solid yellow line in the middle of our streets? It obviously means “do a U-turn here,” so you can park across the street on the opposite side of the direction you are heading as it happens time after time on most downtown streets.

Just wondering if this is the best decision for the residents of the beautiful Town of Ponoka.

Sherry Gummow