Gym club land remains source of controversy between town and county

The Town and County of Ponoka continue to square off over the gym club.

Issues over the presence of Ponoka Gymnastics and Trampoline Club building on property without a title has the Town of Ponoka and Ponoka County squaring off over who is at fault.

Most recently, town council was given two options by administration during their regular meeting Tuesday, May 12 to either:

1 – Offer the land the new building sits on as a lease or

2 – Transfer the title to the club with an agreement in place and a price of $160,000 paid to the town when the land is sold.

Coun. Loanna Gulka, who was in attendance by phone, was uncomfortable moving forward with any decision as Coun. Marc Yaworski and CAO Rachel Kunz and Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services, were not in attendance.

“I just have a concern that we don’t have a CAO and we don’t have an acting CAO present,” said Gulka.

Coun. Carla Prediger made the motion to approve the first option but all discussion on the matter was halted as Coun. Sandra Lyon requested the motion be tabled to have more time.

Lyon, Coun. Tim Falkiner and Gulka voted in favour of tabling the motion while Prediger and Mayor Rick Bonnett voted against it.

Ponoka County Coun. Mark Matejka was in the gallery during the meeting and he voiced his displeasure with the wording in the preamble, which states: “Ponoka County did not transfer the parcel in the county to the Town of Ponoka.”

On May 27 2014, town councillors approved a land exchange with Ponoka County in exchange of two acres being granted to the gym club. During that same meeting town council requested a memorandum of understanding be made with the gym club before construction took place.

It appears no action was taken on either of those motions and the gym club started construction of their building without a title. Matejka’s issue was with the statement that the county did not transfer the parcel.

“We signed it. We delivered it here (Town Hall) and our staff are taking a hit for it,” said Matejka.

He requested the town make a formal apology to the county over the error in the public document. Indeed, an email in April from the town to the county, there was a request for the legal description as town staff were unable to locate it.

Ponoka County staff confirmed the legal land number and the town replied it had found the transfer documents executed by the county. The county had sent the title to the town some time in the fall of 2014.

“It was not our mistake,” said Matejka.

Coun. Falkiner said the some of the blame for the dispute falls to the gym club who moved ahead with construction without the title. “The gymnastics board has a responsibility as well as us,” said Falkiner.

The request will come back to town council at its next regular meeting, Tuesday, May 26.


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