County approves Westlake boat launch project

Ponoka County council approved a $523,000 boat launch project for Gull Lake.

Ponoka County council approved a $523,000 boat launch project for Gull Lake.

The decision was made Tuesday, Sept. 8 during a regular meeting after hearing Al Saunders Contracting provided the lowest bid for the Westlake project.

CAO Charlie Cutforth said the next lowest tender was from Iron Horse Earthworks at $616,000 and the highest was from Tyschuk Construction at just over $1 million. Besides being the lowest bid, Al Saunders also has experience with work in the area, he added.

“Al Saunders contracting did the work on the east boat launch,” said Cutforth.

One of the biggest costs of the project is for $130,000 worth of dirt to build up the launch, which put the project over the budgeted $400,000. Cutforth said the actual boat launch construction is under budget but the dirt work raised the cost.

Development authority for the Ponoka airport

County planners are working with Town of Ponoka planners over the Airport Development Board.

The town is working on a new development plan and needs some changes made to the county’s area structure plan as the airport is on county land but Cutforth is hoping to accommodate those changes with a bylaw rather that amending the structure plan.

“We just want to find the least painful way that the town can have development authority at the airport,” explained Cutforth.

He is waiting for more details from the lawyers involved in the drafting process, the same lawyers who deal with the county’s bylaws.

Coun. Mark Matejka was appointed by council to the new airport development board.

County ceases sewage dumping at Bluffton site

In an effort to reduce unpleasant smells in homes in Bluffton, Ponoka County has stopped the practice of dumping sewage at that site.

Cutforth received complaints from residents when septic trucks would dump sewage into a manhole to be treated in a sewage treatment facility. Sewage odors were reported to be felt in the homes.

The county now has an agreement with the Town of Rimbey to allow contractors to dump the product, which will then be treated at the Rimbey facility, explained Cutforth. He added the county may still have to use the Bluffton site, but only in an emergency situation.

Public hearings

County council approved first reading on a reclassification request after hearing no opposition to change approximately 12-acres to country residential hobby farm from agricultural district.

The request was made by William Beekman with the intent to sell the 12-acres and keep the remaining land for farm use.

“We’d like to move closer to our work,” he explained to council.

The area is on Range Road 40 near Rimbey.

Another request came from Brad and Billie-Jo Poitras to close one mile of road on Range Road 240 and Township Road 434.

Mrs. Poitras explained in a letter to council that GPS mapping indicates the road goes through their property but she has found that motorists get lost and end up in the farm land. In May her husband’s welding truck was stolen and another vehicle was left burning in front of their property, which has caused the family some concern over their safety.

She added in the letter that traffic can be busy in the late hours of the evening. The request was to use a gate on the lot to prevent motorist from entering the property.

Council received no protest from neighbours, rather support, to allow the Poitras family some privacy.

Council voted in favour of first reading of the bylaw and Cutforth said he would pass the request on to the Ministry of Transportation. As the area is considered a statutory road allowance the minister must make the final decision, he added.