Council approves plans for preliminary design for new arena

Town council gave the nod for $88,000 to develop a preliminary design plan for the town’s new recreation building.

Town council gave the nod for $88,000 to develop a preliminary design plan for the town’s new recreation building.

Dubbed the Community Wellness and Activity Centre, the decision for planning of the facility was made Tuesday, May 24 during the regular meeting, which will bring further community feedback on the concept designs.

Coun. Loanna Gulka had some concerns over the expense. She said with the recent meeting on asset management, she struggled with the idea of these additional costs. “Our budgets are so tight.”

CAO Albert Flootman said having a plan ready to go is a good first step. “I would make the point that if the recreation facility was to go ahead in this form (with a plan), it would be with senior federal funding.”

Coun. Tim Falkiner agreed suggesting there is a strong recreational culture in Ponoka. He added if the town isn’t ready to go with a plan, if grants do become available, then residents will have missed out.

Other councillors were concerned over the constant change to the plans presented by McElhanney Consulting, the company hired to put together the Recreation, Culture and Master Plan. Coun. Carla Prediger said she has seen several different design ideas, which seem to change each time they are presented.

Gulka reiterated her concern. “Are we relying too heavily on grant money that may or may not come?” she asked.

Completing the project, regardless of grants, was on Coun. Sandra Lyon’s mind. She suggested even if grants do not come, residents still want to see the project completed.

Mayor Rick Bonnett said the Town of Penhold was able to take advantage of grants from the federal government because they were ready and while Ponoka doesn’t have a solid plan if there is no grant money, the chances are greater. “We’ve got one shot at this,” said Bonnett.

Money for the project will come from the building development reserve.

Administration working with Ponoka Minor Soccer

Coun. Lyon voiced her concern over the upkeep of the Lucas Heights soccer pitches.

The soccer pitches were redone last year with new sod and layout and she worried that with all the money spent to rebuild them it would be a disappointment if they were lost through not being watered.

Before the rains arrived, there was little watering done on the pitches and Flootman said part of the issue was over not clarifying expectations between the town and the Ponoka Minor Soccer on upkeep responsibilities. He said the plan is to meet with Rob McArthur, president of the association, to discuss expectations. “We need to define expectations about the level of maintenance.”

Change of date

Due to the busy Ponoka Stampede week coming up at the end of June, town council will move its regular meeting on June 28 to 5:30 p.m. up from 7 p.m.

Town supports playground project with letter

Town council supported a request for a letter of support for the Ponoka Elementary School playground committee.

The group is continuing its grant requests for the project, which is expected to start in the fall.