County election nomination fees increase for October

Nomination fees have been raised by Ponoka County council to $250 from $100.

Nomination fees have been raised by Ponoka County council to $250 from $100.

Coun. Gawney Hinkley had originally made a motion to charge $500. He feels the amount is reasonable for a person who is serious about entering the fall municipal election. “Anybody who can’t afford $500 has no place running.”

One concern with charging too much is it could create a challenge for someone wanting to run, said Coun. Paul McLauchlin. “At the end of the day it’s democracy. You don’t want to create any barriers.”

Hinkley’s motion for a $500 fee was lost but Coun. Keith Beebe was in favour of a smaller amount. “I don’t want to make it that somebody can’t run but I would be in favour of $250.”

Candidates will get a full refund if they withdraw within 24 hours and the money is refunded if they receive half of the winning person’s votes or wins.

Application revisited

Councillors revisited an application from P. McDonough to reclassify approximately 148-acres. They felt there were too many approaches to the property on Parkland Beach Road.

The applicant amended the proposal to only three approaches and seeing as there are already two, CAO Charlie Cutforth feels it was worth discussing again. “She’s minimized it from a total of five to three.”

Council approved the amended proposal for the land to be rezoned country residential hobby farm from agricultural.

Mixed-use request

A request from Paul Polson has been made to council to consider the idea of mixed use zoning on a 70-acre property in the Parkland Beach area, explained Cutforth. Polson has had some desire from different buyers to use lots for different purposes.

Owners may want to have some holiday trailers on a one lot. “And then it becomes sort of their private campground.”

Some buyers have considered building a cabin on the property and this creates mixed use.

“We’ve expressed some concern over that,” added Cutforth.

Council would have to create a new bylaw before being able to make a decision on the request and Cutforth has received some questions from the County of Wetaskiwin over how they are managing these issues. “Failing that he would like to have it considered for lake resort… That I think is more appropriate.”

Creating a mixed use bylaw would cause problems for the county later on, says McLauchlin. “We’ll be judged harshly in the future for mixed land-use.”

Setting the zone and letting developers deal with that is a better option, said Coun. George Verheire. “Are we moving in the real estate business or what?”

There is other proposed development in the area and that would create some confusion for future residents. Cutforth’s recommendation to councillors was to allow Polson to re-apply under one zone as lake resort.

“I think it would be less, certainly less complicated,” he added.

No decisions were made but Cutforth will recommend Polson change his application to lake resort use and not mixed. A public hearing has been set for June 11.

Concerns with Cutting Edge tire recycling

There have been some calls from concerned residents of the Cutting Edge tire recyclers north of Ponoka. The existing shredding plant has recently changed ownership and signed a new contract with Suncor Energy to recycle the company’s large loader tires, explained Cutforth. “The problem is it takes them more than an hour to do one tire.”

However for the first time since the company’s inception they are recycling more product than they are bringing in and he feels that is a positive indication the issues are being dealt with. Fire Chief Ted Dillon has also been in consultation with the company and they are working with Dillon to ensure his recommendations are adhered to.

“They do have plans for expansion and those plans haven’t changed. I think ultimately it will be fine,” said Cutforth.

Cancellation of taxes

Councillors approved the cancellation of $400 of taxes on a property on SE 19-42-25-W4. The owner recently subdivided the property and has been reassessed however no changes have been made to the property yet, explained Cutforth.

“When there is a new owner then those taxes kick in,” he added.

Weed inspectors

Council has approved the appointment of four weed inspectors: Kelsie Reed, Wendy Smith, Jessica Sperber and Blair Mulder.

Highway corridor study

Cutforth updated councillors of a Highway 2 corridor study commissioned during budget deliberations.

Bob Riddett has been contracted to conduct the study.

Cutforth anticipates there will be some public hearings on the matter.

Whelp Brook

Ponoka County is collaborating with Lacombe County on a Whelp Brook – Wolf Creek Drainage Study. Councillors are asked to appoint Lacombe County to participate in the study as well as have Lacombe County administer the study. Ponoka County is contributing 10 per cent of the cost.

Wolf Creek School Division

Ponoka County agreed to an election contract with WCPS polling stations. The county has done this for the last few years and Cutforth does not see any issue with working with the school division. “They run their own returning officer but we use our common poll clerks…We’re doing that anyways.”

Since the completion of the subdivision on Crestomere School property for a machine shed, a sales agreement must be signed to transfer the sale of the property. There was only one change to the agreement that Cutforth asked to be taken off.

“They asked that we handle and look after the maintenance and so on of their fueling facility,” he said.

Having the fueling station on the property is not an issue but Cutforth did not want to take on that responsibility. The change is being made to the agreement.

The sale is for $1.

Ponoka Gym Club relocation

The county has agreed to donate up to four acres of land in the southwest industrial area to the Ponoka Gymnastics Club. Because of heavy use on north side of the property Cutforth has moved the group to the south end where there is less traffic.

Funds for the erection of the building are available but the club will still need to raise money for the utilities and services.

The Town of Ponoka has offered gravel access to the street for the club and the only issue that remains is servicing, explained Cutforth.

The club spoke with town administration to provide servicing and there was some concern over putting town servicing outside their jurisdiction.

Cutforth does not see an issue with the town doing the work for a common community project. “If they do want to be consistent, then annex it and I don’t think the county would object to it.”

Reeve. Gord Svenningsen is in favour of the plan as long as it is consistent with the municipal development plan. Hinkley agreed. “Let them have it.”

Councillors approved Cutforth’s request.

Rimbey Raceway project donation

After some years of discussion, Ponoka County has approved a $200,000 donation to Rimbey Raceways. The group’s hope was to have $300,000 but with reduction in provincial funding, Cutforth feels the county is going to need the money for bridges. “The county commitment through MSI funding is more than fulfilled.”

Coun. George Verheire also mentioned the proposed Rimbey library move as one of the reasons the county deferred the donation during budget deliberations. “I think they’ve got it backwards.”

He suggests the better idea would be for the town offices to stay and the library move to the new location. Verheire proposed $200,000 for the raceway project.

Hinkley was against giving them any money until the library and town sort out their issues. “We don’t have any money to give.”

Coun. Keith Beebe has heard taxpayers for and against the raceway project and he has issues with the decision. The motion passed 3-2.

McLauchlin suggested this donation will probably be the last major donation from the county as the MSI funding is needed for bridge work.