Airport development ahead of schedule

Development is taking off at the Ponoka Industrial Airport thanks in large part to a collaborative plan

Development is taking off at the Ponoka Industrial Airport thanks in large part to a collaborative plan between the town and county of Ponoka.

This Airport Development Plan (ADP), which was developed by MMM Group Ltd. and paid for by both municipalities outlines development, growth and governance of the airport. Updating council on the plan was Mike MacLean of MMM on Tuesday, Jan. 26 during the regular meeting.

He presented council with some amendments to the town’s ADP that will help set the stage for 2016. MacLean said things are going well in Ponoka, which is partly due to availability of lots. He added there were five new developments last year and considering consultants planned for one new development per year, they are ahead of schedule.

There are three more applicants waiting to develop property at the airport. Once final land use bylaw plans are updated, MacLean said they will be ready for additional development.

Coun. Teri Underhill was in favour of approving the amendments. “We went from an airport that we supplemented significantly to now we have people knocking on the door.”

MacLean added the governance board is working well under the plan. A request from the lawyers helping develop the plan for the airport required town council’s acceptance of the county’s land use bylaw for the area and MacLean said the information was readily available.

He praised the collaborative process between the town and the county on the airport.

Over $16,000 in utility write offs

Council approved $16,475 to go to accounts receivable and another $16,367 for utilities written off to bad debt hearing administration was unable to collect overdue funds.

Sandra Lund, director of corporate services said the town averages about $6,000 in write offs per year but the last time this was reviewed was in 2011. Part of the reason, said Lund, has been the municipal software conversion a few years ago, which took extra time and training.

Lund added the new utilities bylaw recently approved by council will alleviate some of the pressure in collecting bad debt.

Utilities committee appointments

Council approved four individuals to the town’s Utilities and Environmental Committee: Thomas Hefti, one year; Fred Calkins, two years and Bruce Oordze, three years starting Jan. 1. Council also accepted the recommendation by the Economic Development Board (EDB) that Justin Graham, the EDB chairperson, be appointed to the committee.