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Ponoka County council wants more information on proposed Rimoka lodge expansion

Jan. 30 regular council meeting briefs
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Rimoka’s Spring Tea at the Golden Leisure Centre. (File photo)

Ponoka County councillors decided not to back the proposed expansion of the Rimoka lodge in Ponoka until they receive more information.

During their regular meeting on Jan. 30, Coun. Doug Weir advised the proposed project couldn’t go ahead without the approval of the individual contributing municipalities.

In their discussion of the matter, councillors said they felt there were too many variables that still needed to be addressed, including including government funding and debt servicing, before they made any decision.

Weir said a discussion regarding a “population approach” to funding versus an “equalized assessment” contribution should be held.

Council will discuss the matter further when more information becomes available.

The following are brief items of interest from the Jan. 30 meeting minutes.

Rimoka board appointment

Rimoka Vice-Chair Sandra Lyon has accepted the role of vice-chairman of the Rimoka board while Town of Ponoka Coun. Ted Dillon is off on medical leave.

Public Works report

Public Works superintendent Blaine Rose presented the Public Works department report. He presented a proposed road program that included 10 miles of construction depending on landowner agreements.

Chip seal projects under consideration include Range Road 283 from the Huseby Road (Township Road 420) to the Meadowbrook Views subdivision. The internal subdivision road had been chip-sealed utilizing the per lot levy. The estimated cost would be $130,000.

Also to be considered was Range Road 263 from Highway 604 two miles north. Potentially the road surface should be widened prior to repairing the chip seal.

Two bridges were slated for replacement with culverts at an estimated cost of $150,000 each.

Bridge 1694 on Range Road 24 south of Rimbey was being assessed for repairs.

Negotiations for dust control products were ongoing but the program would be advertised as soon as possible.

Administration recommended that the rebate program remain for 2024.

The gravel program would commence on May 21, weather dependent.

Jones Crushing would continue gravel crushing for the county at the same rate as 2023.

Three graders had been received that had been ordered in 2022. The two gravel/plow trucks would be delivered soon, with Renn gravel boxes installed.

A side-by-side had been purchased for the construction program to assist with surveys, etcetera.

A water truck was purchased for the West District Fire Department and the unit will arrive in February. The 1998 Mack being replaced will be retained and utilized by the county construction crew.

The Alberta Water Crossing Remediation Grant application was denied by Alberta Forestry and Parks for repairs to the low-level crossing west of SW 34-42-26-W4.

The crossing would be monitored to ensure safety while reapplication was occurring.

Administration was attempting to obtain approvals for dredging at the county’s two boat launches.

Ponoka solar power project

Chief administrative officer Peter Hall presented a notice and background information from the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) regarding the Ponoka Solar Project Power Plant and Interconnection proposed for the NW 22-43-25-W4 by Acestes Power ULC.

Ponoka County will be issuing a letter of concern to the AUC on this project as the proposal would remove 161 acres of prime agricultural land from production, and the moratorium remains in place on new developments pending the ongoing provincial review.

NRCB

Representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB) attended the meeting to present to council.

The NRCB members explained the board’s mandate, the three different kinds of confined feeding operation permits and permitting requirements.

The NRCB currently employs seven inspectors throughout the province. Inspectors follow up on complaints, permit conditions, conduct post construction inspections, and conduct compliance program inspections.

According to the NRCB, their inspectors receive 250 to 300 complaints per year.

Nurses needed

Coun. Nancy Hartford noted the Rimbey area was still short of nursing staff.

ASB conference

Hartford and Coun. Bryce Liddle attended the Agricultural Service Board conference in Lethbridge recently. The new technology with drones for weed control could be considered for inaccessible areas.

Wetaskiwin FCSS

Coun. Mark Matejka noted Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) had secured office space in Wetaskiwin to manage the operation of their FCSS.