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Gym club seeks spot at Kinsmen hall

The Ponoka Gymnastics Club is close to having its own building, but until that time they have asked town council’s permission

The Ponoka Gymnastics Club is close to having its own building, but until that time they have asked town council’s permission to continue use of the Kinsmen Community Centre.

The request is the same as last year with the club using the centre every Tuesday and Thursday from September to November, being flexible if those dates are booked.

CAO Brad Watson said there were a few bumps but “things went well.”

“I’ve cautioned the staff to expect to extend that beyond November,” he said.

He expects construction would take longer than the proposed time.

Spokesperson for the club, Lavern Hooper, said there are some legal challenges they have to work on before construction can begin.

The legal issue appears to be over a $200,000 donation from the late Duncan Grant and there are some questions from Grant’s son over the legitimacy of the donation, explained Hooper.

Council agreed to the request with the understanding that it may continue into the spring.

Road closure, final reading

Council gave final approval for the road closure of a portion of 39 Avenue, which was due to removal of access from Highway 2A. Approval had to come from Alberta Transportation before council could pass second and third reading. The portion of the roadway will be converted to a public utility lot.

Town financials: operating statement

The town’s operating revenue and expenditures were given to councillors with information up to June 30.

The operating surplus is $719,162, revenues are $6.9 million with $5.7 million in expenditures. Director of corporate services, Betty Quinlan explained the reason behind the surplus.

“Compared to last year we had a slightly larger surplus. I think part of it is because we’ve had some staff turnover,” she said.

Also because construction gets started later than when these statements come up. The largest variances come from the transportation and water as they have large maintenance budgets, explained Quinlan.

Transportation sits at expenses of $475,199 with a budget of $1.2 million. Water expenses sit at $1.18 million with a budget of $2.5 million.

“Those things kick in when it’s summer and they’re out repairing roads,” she stated.

Town financials: capital statement

The capital expenditures for June 30 show $652,770 with a budget of $6.1 million. Again Quinlan said many capital projects had not begun until August.

“They would all show up in the September statements…A lot of the big construction projects are just under way. So it will all start showing up in the next quarter.”

Community events sign

Council has approved the advertising rates on the community events sign be unchanged for the next three years.

“Although we have escalating power costs and a decrease in overall usage — the use was down a bit due to a computer malfunction in 2011 — we are not suggesting that an increase be made,” said Watson.

He has offered advertising for free to the ag event centre to promote its events.

Costs for the sign in 2011 were $2,550.56 with revenue $3,047.62 and there were 68 paid ads and 31 town ads with no charge.

Mayor Larry Henkelman asked if the ads would increase.

“Do we foresee that the ads will be increasing to what it was in the last two years?” he asked.

Usage varies within the community, explained Watson, and he anticipates similar numbers to slightly higher numbers for 2012.

Grant proposal

Council was asked to support an application from the town to a new grant program announced by the federal government, called the Western Economic Diversification – Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF).

Staff worked to get an application together for the CIIF program as Watson said the window to apply is fairly small.

The funding is for a maximum of $250,000 with applicants matching funds; it must also be shovel ready.

“We submitted to upgrade the arena and we’re using funding from 2012 to leverage the grant request. We’re also putting $46,000 before you using the 2013 budget,” explained Watson.

The total submission is $554,000 with $250,000 coming from the CIIF grant.

Watson is hopeful the proposal will be approved.

The goal was to maximize the funding, said Quinlan.

“We were given about a two-week window to complete this,” she said.

Council supported the request.

Rezoning of land requested

An application to the Town of Ponoka has come through from Robert Traylen, who represents an unnamed company in Ontario, with a request to reclassify 7.71-acres on Highway 53 across from Extra Foods, which is owned by the Stampede Association.

“To reclassify it into highway commercial district, which would allow this commercial development,” said Watson.

Council gave first reading to the application with notices in Ponoka News for two weeks and a public hearing on Sept. 11.

New concession

There is a new concessionaire at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex.

Director of community services Wes Amendt said the town has entered into a one-year exclusive contract with Jim Frender from Wetaskiwin.

“He has some previous experience in the restaurant industry,” Amendt explained.

Initially there seemed to be some interest in running the concession and the town advertised in Lacombe and Wetaskiwin newspapers as well as Kijiji but Frender’s was the only application received.

“My main goal was to have someone in there providing service,” said Amendt.

The concession has new paint and lighting, and Amendt also hopes usage of the arena will become year-round.