Bridges, Bobtail are county’s big projects in 2020

Paving and replacing pair of bridges are scheduled for the summer

The plan for this year in Ponoka County is for about eight miles of road to be reconstructed along with at least two bridges being rebuilt.

That was what council heard from public works superintendent Herb Schwingel at their Feb. 11 meeting.

One project that got underway last fall and will continue this year is the one mile of construction on Range Road 24 from Township 440 to 441. That same road, this time two miles from Twp 444 to Secondary Hwy. 611, will also be rebuilt this year.

The largest amount of road work for the county will be on Twp 424 (Wooddale Road) with a five mile stretch from Secondary Hwy. 771 to RR 22 to be rebuilt. However, there remain several agreements that need to be reached before that job can get started.

Meanwhile, new pavement will be coming to 2.5 miles of Bobtail Road (Twp 434) with the tender to be sent out soon as well as a new bridge, as council approved to put that out for tender.

CAO Charlie Cutforth explained the county has three funding applications out for bridges it wants to replace, though only one is anticipated to be approved.

“If we tender this immediately, there is the potential of if the price is right and all of the approvals come in, that we could have the bridge in place before the restrictions come in place on April 15,” he said.

“However, we could miss that window if the funding applications get held up.”

Schwingel added that if that happens, then the bridge construction would have to wait until after July 1.

Cutforth also said that it looks fairly good that both the bridge and the paving tenders may generate some very competitive prices, as the county’s engineers have said there are no construction tenders out yet.

“The chances are that the prices should be as good as we can hope to get and if we hold off who is to say what will happen,” he said.

The rest of the public works projects for 2020 include building a new cell at the Bluffton landfill, realigning Wolf Creek, chip sealing of the Lloyd subdivision near Secondary Hwy. 795 as well as the Ponoka transfer site and other areas as required.

Land

Council reluctantly agreed to a suggestion from administration that, under the proper circumstances, the county would agree to the Deere Park condo association dissolving and turning the property into a private subdivision.

The concept for the subdivision, located near Gull Lake, hasn’t really come together as the developer would have liked, explained Cutforth.

“They have sold about eight lots with just three homes having been built,” he said.

“An auction last year saw none taken and so they want turn it into a typical private subdivision development.”

Cutforth added the process to dissolve a condo association is rather onerous, as it must abide by strict provincial rules, and expensive to go through. The association must get 100 per cent consent from the existing owners as well as navigate what can be a lengthy legal process.

“With all of that, they wanted to find out if the county was amenable to considering this,” Cutforth said, adding it would depend on all of the county’s conditions being met for a subdivision and new agreements having been signed.

Coun. Mark Matejka had an issue, if council approved the application once it is received, about the county then being responsible for the internal road.

Meanwhile, Reeve Paul McLauchlin was concerned about the potential of the lots creating a huge campground.

Cutforth explained, if approved, the increased lot levy to $5,000 plus any property taxes would cover the cost of snow plowing and enforcing any covenants created would be very challenging.

“With the right conditions and protections it will work, but it will be treated as any other application and they are aware of our expectations,” he said.

It isn’t known how long the dissolution process could take or when an application may be coming.

Tower change

The county has bought a communications tower near Crestomere from Xplornet for $1 as a replacement for the county’s leaning tower right beside it. The deal also lowers Xplornet’s annual land lease fee from $2,500 to $1,000 as it has a second tower on the site. It would have cost about $44,000 for a new tower.

When asked why this was necessary, Cutforth added the county has the two-way radio infrastructure and, since many employees work alone and cell coverage is spotty in that area, it made sense given the present tower is leaning so much it isn’t useful now.

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