Additional construction project for county

Ponoka County council is adding another construction project to its fall program, pending available funding.

Ponoka County council is adding another construction project to its fall program, pending available funding.

“I think our budget is pretty much committed, depending on the season we’ve got lots of miles to do,” said CAO Charlie Cutforth.

Coun. Keith Beebe is hoping to be able to push paving of Range Road 34 from Highway 53 to Township Road 423. The project would cost around $200,000, including fencing, pipeline crossings and agreements.

“I think it’s a good plan. We put it on the books we can start moving forward on it,” said Coun. Paul McLauchlin.

Cutforth said council could use reserves or Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding for the construction, but neither option was favoured.

Reeve Gordon Svenningsen especially didn’t want to commit the MSI money because the future of the funding program is uncertain.

Well drilling and gas program uncertainty

After an extension of the well drilling tax program for 2013, there is no assurance that the program will continue into 2014.

“And that for the last couple years has been about $600,000, so it’s substantial,” said Cutforth.

The gas tax rebate grant program has also come to an end. That money will no longer be available to counties unless it’s replaced with a new program, which Cutforth doesn’t expect to happen.

Rimbey Regional Synergy Group

Although council decided against Rimbey Synergy Group’s request to appoint a councillor as a representative to the group, with advance notification, they will attend more meetings.

“I’m not sure, I mean that’s typically between landowners and industry. But it’s up to council,” said Cutforth.

Svenningsen agreed, saying he’s also told synergy groups the meetings are between landowners and energy companies, “But they still would like the county to come and just to see the exchanges, what’s going on.”

McLauchlin chairs the Battle Lake Synergy Group and he said sometimes the county of Wetaskiwin attends. ‘They just get pelted. I mean, it’s good to know what’s going on. It does provide the opportunity, it’s a valuable exercise but I think that you’re better to look for events.”