Gym Club awarded land title in gift from town after county fumes exasperation

Town of Ponoka council agrees to land transfer title for the Ponoka Gym Club.

  • Jul. 1, 2015 4:00 p.m.

After months of negotiations, concerns raised by several involved parties and almost an ultimatum from the county, Ponoka town council has agreed to transfer the land title of the Highway 2A plot to the Ponoka Trampoline and Gymnastics Club for their new building.

“I’d like to propose the council direct the CAO to initiate the transfer of title to the Gym Club as a gift in kind with the value of $160,000,” said Coun. Tim Falkiner at council’s Tuesday, June 23 meeting. Coun. Sandra Lyon was the only one opposed in the vote which supported the motion.

The showdown at the town council came after a Ponoka County council meeting earlier in the day when the county leadership openly expressed their exasperation with the way town management handled the affair. Members of the club attended the Ponoka County meeting with a view to updating councillors on the proceedings and to vent their frustrations.

Board member Dale Hoar told county council the club was originally looking for a title transfer and then a lease was brought to the table the club knew it would have to be a 25-year lease or it would get no backing from the bank.

Hoar told council the town had later come back with a 10, 10 and five lease, which would have allowed for renegotiations. “So that makes us quite nervous,” Hoar said.

County council felt the town was holding onto the sting of past dealings and operating so cautiously that it was hindering those it is working with.

“I would say the town has some work to do internally, on the project,” said Coun. Mark Matejka.

“At the same time, these things keep happening,” said Reeve Paul McLauchlin.

During the club’s meeting with the county, Hoar said the town was proposing a 22-page lease contract. “Ponoka County does business with a two-page lease on property way more valuable,” said McLauchlin.

Ponoka County council also hinted that to make town council and administration move back onto a less cumbersome path, it would take the “magic word” multiplex. “They’re never going to get that damn thing built because they pissed everybody off in town,” said Coun. Doug Wier.

Council feels the future of the Gym Club building should in no way be tied to a multiplex because councillors do not believe the two projects would be working with the same amenities.

“I’m truly fascinated by all of this,” said Reeve McLauchlin.

He told the club if the title was not transferred or a lease agreeable to both parties was not reached at the town council meeting later that evening, the club should still open its doors in November, run under civil disobedience and operate as if they own the building.

The announcement will come as a great relief to club members who had been fighting hard to have their voices heard. Town council’s decision will also relieve many of the county’s concerns, as councillors felt the town may not come to what they considered to be the best decision.