Ponoka County council voted to rescind development authority for the Ponoka Airport from the Town of Ponoka during its regular meeting on Oct. 27, as the town sold the airport to the Ponoka Flying Club.
The town approved the sale in February, 2020.
The county had transferred development authority to the town while the town owned the airport, as the airport falls under county jurisdiction, but with the sale, development authority needed to revert to the county, explained CAO Charlie Cutforth in an interview.
The county is now awaiting business plans from the flying club, and Cutforth says they are interested to see what they have in store for the future.
Council confirmed Oct. 27 that their pledged contribution two years ago of $70,000 to the Parkland Beach Improvement Plan was still valid, even though the project has had to be scaled back.
Parkland Beach has applied twice for a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant, and was denied both times, so is now planning to just dredge the swimming area.
Historically, the county has contributed funds for any capital improvements to the beach as requested, as while Parkland Beach is its own municipality and owns and operates the beach, the beach is open for use by all county residents, says Cutforth.
“County residents are entitled to use it, so we partner on projects.”
Oct. 13 council briefs
Livestock and land use bylaw
The county recently received a request from a landowner to authorize them to run more animals on the land than allowed under the land use bylaw (county residential).
Under section 705.9 of the bylaw, only one animal can be kept per hectare of land (not including dogs, cats and domestic pets).
The landowner wanted to know if the term “animal unit” meant one animal or one cow and calf pair, and also requested more animals for a shorter time period to control the grass.
Cutforth noted the land owner was currently in contravention of the bylaw and McLauchlin stated any leniency could quickly get out of hand.
The Alberta Agriculture’s Animal Unit Month (AUM) defines animal units as “one mature cow and her suckling calf weighing a cumulative 1,000 pounds.”
Council voted unanimously that “animal unit” be considered a cow-calf pair when referenced in the Ponoka County bylaw.
County council gave third and final reading Oct. 13 of bylaw 24-20-A, which amended the land use bylaw to allow for second residences within certain districts as a discretionary use.
The amendment allows for a second residence on residential lots, with some exceptions. The second residence must also be hooked to the same utilities as the first residence, where possible.
The second residence can’t be a permanent structure and must not be opposed by adjacent landowners.
Rates and fees
Reeve Paul McLauchlin noted that discussions were occurring regarding drilling permit fees. The fees had been encouraged as a way to cover the cost of road repairs and maintenance, rather than municipalities charging extra fees for inspections and road use permits.
Ponoka County did not charge for these services. The fees being charged covered the cost of the service provided.
Council voted to have Ponoka County services confirm what is being charged for different fees and services.
Coun. Bryce Liddle moved that development permits be required at the discretion of the development officer in the six Recreational Resort district lots in Phase II of Westlake Estates.
Cutforth requested council amend Policy 01-002 Personnel Management to include pandemic leave in the list of excusable absences. The motion carried unanimously.
Ponoka Ag Event Centre
Coun. Doug Weir advised that the Ponoka Ag Event Centre was encountering issues with permits to erect a donated windmill on their property.
Bobtail Road bridge
Liddle noted that if the Bobtail Road bridge is scheduled for replacement this winter, that Montana First Nation will need to be notified as they were using it exclusively for access.
Noise from the generator at National Tire will not be dealt with until Fortis Alberta is able to bring power onto the site, says Liddle.
Ponoka County Peace Officer
Liddle noted that dispatching for the Ponoka County Peace Officer would be contracted to Lacombe County to ensure safety of the county’s officer.
McLauchlin stated that the Minister of Municipal Affairs interim announcement on assessment would be a temporary solution with little impact on municipalities.
RMA District meeting
McLauchlin expressed concern to the recent Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) District 2 meeting that Ponoka County was not like other municipalities that were overcharging oil companies.