Mayor Rick Bonnett took some time to speak to, and hear from, members of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Chamber Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Rather than speak during the entire session, Bonnett took questions from attendees. For Theresa Turner the concern was over plans for a new recreation facility and how it would affect the downtown area. She suggested if the building were to be moved too far away from the downtown core, it would hurt businesses.
“Keeping in mind the downtown core is essential,” said Turner.
Bonnett agreed and said council’s goal is to ensure downtown is considered. He added that as an area for retail shops it may not be ideal but offered that it might be better suited to house business offices or something similar to that.
Council has also created a utilities and environment committee as well as a downtown revitalization committee to tackle those issues, he added.
One question Bonnett received from Linda Steinmann related to construction near businesses. She referred to the heavy construction near Hamilton’s IGA that has blocked access to Highway 53 from 50 Street. “It seems the businesses you are affecting are the last of your concern,” said Steinmann.
In the IGA situation, it is believed there was little to no communication with owner Jim Hamilton and crews parked their equipment on his property without permission. Hamilton later added that the town is working closely with him on the project now and councillors are apprising him of any changes.
Bonnett replied that is one of the issues council wants to know about. He said one of the reasons a communications officer position was created was to ensure proper and timely communication of issues such as the road construction delay. He hopes to eventually see a streamlined checklist that ensures the proper steps are made to include businesses.