Before choosing to support the Ponoka Air Cadets with funds to help build a new hall the group is looking into, Ponoka County councillors are directing county administration to collect more information on the matter.
The Air Cadets asked for $20,000 from the county and have already raised $56,000 for the project, which is estimated to cost between $800,000 and $1 million.
In the information sent to council, it is stated the Air Cadets are looking to dismantle the existing structure and rebuild at the same location.
The reason councillors did not allocate the funds immediately at their May 13 meeting is because it is felt the Air Cadets have other options they could consider besides rebuilding.
“We have a school that’s just about shut down in Ponoka (and) they’ll have a huge gymnasium. I mean there’s lots of opportunity. I think they don’t need to be thinking about building a building,” said Coun. Mark Matejka.
He feels if the different organizations and clubs in town co-operated and shared their space, then each group wouldn’t be affected by as many financial shortages.
“And that’s always been the difficulty. Every organization is doing their own thing with their own interests. They’re all for very good purpose, but in a small community, they’re all competing for the same dollar from the same people,” CAO Charlie Cutforth added.
Council also decided to donate approximately $2,700 to the Farmers’ Market to replace the tables.
Klaglahachie Fine Arts Society
Despite putting a caveat on Klaglahachie’s request for $15,000, stating the money would be given only if town council provided matching funds, council is now going ahead with the donation.
However, they are giving the society the entire $30,000 that would have come from both municipal bodies. “In our actual budget we committed $15,000, assuming the town would match,” said Cutforth.
The second $15,000 is coming from an allowance of $30,000 with an unspecified intent that was built into the budget.
Council saw the request during their 2014 budget deliberations but was wary because the money will be used to upgrade the seating in the Ponoka United Church, where Klaglahachie holds their extravagant theatrical productions.
At their most recent meeting council was informed the society has no affiliations with the church and only lease the space they use.
While it is felt the location is politically “unfortunate”, council recognizes the church as the best location in town for the group, space and seating capacity-wise. “It’s a good usage of a facility that is probably outdated for the church usage but it’s an excellent size for the Klaglahachie club needs,” said Matejka.
“There’s quite a number of kids involved also and it’s a very positive thing for the community,” said Cutforth.
“I think it’s a worthwhile cause . . . It’s part of the fabric of the community,” added Coun. Doug Weir.