Town interested in solar project with Montana First Nations

Other items of interest from Aug. 13 meeting

The following are a number of brief items of interest from the Town of Ponoka’s regular council meeting Aug. 13.

Airport user fee increase

Council approved a 2.50 per cent increase, effective Jan. 1, 2020, to the lease and user fee rates for the Ponoka Industrial Airport -Labrie Field. The airport currenly has an expected defecit of $25,893 for 2019 and the fee increase will result in $1,000 more in revenue.

Tax penalty forgiveness

Council voted, with one opposed, to forgive tax penalties in two instances.

In both instances, a widow had owned property jointly with her husband. After his passing, the town received a new land title certificate and received his name as an owner in their system, but unfortunately, that also removed the banking information as well, resulting in missed payments.

Coun. Kevin Ferguson was sympathetic to those who have suffered a loss, saying it leaves “everything up in the air.”

Coun. Carla Prediger was concerned with setting a precedence for more people to ask for penalty forgiveness.

“A loss can be interpreted widely,” she said.

Council voted to forgive both tax penalties, to the amounts of $492.86 and $539.42, with Coun. Prediger opposing the motions.

Public auction reserve bid

Council approved a reserve bid of $88,500 for the property located at Lot 7, Plan 1124KS, which will offered for sale at the 2019 public auction. The auction will be held Sept. 4 at 1 p.m. in council chambers.

Solar project

Council signed an expression of interest in a joint solar project with Montana First Nation on Aug. 9.

The project would be a joint effort between Phase 3 Electric Ponoka Ltd, the County of Ponoka, the Town of Ponoka and Montana First Nation.

The location would be close to the Montana nation and would be a five-mega watt solar installation.

The potential site has been deemed unusable for other purposes and the power generated would be used within the town’s distribution system.

CAO Albert Flootman says the feasibility of the project may depend on the election in October, as funding for the project wouldd have come from the funding side of the former provincial government’s carbon tax.

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