Ponoka County Nick Kohlman warned the municipality to be cautious when dealing with the Town of Ponoka in its collaboration discussion.
He addressed council at its Feb. 12 meeting and pointed out a number of concerns he and others have with how the town is being run. He wants to ensure the county is informed before it gets too involved with provincially mandated talks about municipal collaboration.
“I want to make it clear that we are very pleased with the local government we have in our county. I recognize you have some difficult decisions and I have submitted most of the information in writing,” Kohlman explained.
“However, there are a couple of new things we have just learned recently.”
Kohlman claims the town failed to answer seven questions that town resident Edwin Geuder submitted back in January.
Also, Kohlman alleges that the commencement date of May 1 comes before the construction completion date of June 9, while the town paid rent during the time interior work was being done, and before the building was occupied, all contrary to the lease agreement.
As well, he claims the new town building is listed as commercial and doesn’t meet the code for a public building. He alleges it’s a “white elephant” if the town wants to buy the building.
“If the town provided clarity, this issue could be resolved,” Kohlman noted.
“I understand that you are being required to do this by the provincial government, but I still wanted to bring this to your attention. I think it isn’t so much the question of collaboration, I think maybe its more condoning and when we condone what is happening here we perpetuate it.”
As for the county, Reeve Paul McLauchlin thanked Kohlman and noted his council does have it’s own concerns.
“One thing is you are extremely thorough. We get bits and pieces of this, but it becomes a question of the level of accountability and I don’t have the answers,” McLauchlin said.
“Is it concerning, yes and where does the truth lie? We don’t know.”
He added that Kohlman’s assertion about the county not having a choice hit the nail on the head, therefore the county’s responsibility in the process is to do what it can to get a good deal and hopefully avoid any impasses.
“So, we need to do everything we can — through normal discourse and diplomacy — to get to a point where we can come to a deal.