In the midst of concerns from multiple parties, the Town of Ponoka has decided to grant the Ponoka Gymnastics and Trampoline Club ownership of the land the club’s recently constructed building sits on.
Club president Barry Groves says a lean has been put on the land, stating if the club ever decides to sell it must pay back a portion of the value to the town; but how much money that will be is still under negotiation.
On May 27, 2014, town council accepted the motion to grant the club ownership of the land following a trade with Ponoka County for a separate two-acre lot located in the southwest industrial park.
Earlier, in 2008, Ponoka County was approached by the Town of Ponoka looking for a title transfer of land situated along Highway 2A, which is where the new building of the Ponoka Gymnastics and Trampoline Club sits. Pre-2008, the land belonged to Ponoka County but county CAO Charlie Cutforth says the county had it sitting empty for years. “There was no market for it,” he said.
Ponoka County gave the land to the Town of Ponoka under an agreement stipulating the town would develop or have the property developed, sell it at not less than market value, share 50 per cent of the sale’s proceeds with the county no more than 60 days after receiving the full amount of the sale.
“Subsequent to this deal in 2008, the town proceeded with servicing but it never got sold,” said Cutforth.
Approximately one year ago, the county gave the Ponoka Gymnastics and Trampoline Club the lot in the southwest industrial park for its new building. “But it wasn’t ideal. (It’s) not a great place, especially for kids,” said Cutforth.
The Town of Ponoka and the Ponoka County later decided the town could have the land in the industrial park originally intended for the Ponoka Gymnastics and Trampoline Club if the town gave the land along Highway 2A to the club.
On Tuesday, April 28, 2015 members of the club attended Ponoka County council’s meeting, concerned the town was not holding up its end of the bargain.
At the meeting, council made the decision to have Cutforth write a letter to the town, asking it to honour the motion accepted on May 27, 2014. At the time the motion was accepted, Betty Quinlan was the acting CAO for the town, hence no immediate action was taken.
Groves says talk of the Ponoka Gymnastics and Trampoline Club only having a lease to the land, held by the town, did not come into talks until Town CAO Rachel Kuntz took the position.
Had the club accepted the lease, it would not have had to pay taxes, says Groves. However, with land ownership, it will. “We’re also being told that can be negotiated from year to year,” said Groves.
He added all the finishing details need to be ironed out by May 12 for town council approval.
Recently, the Ponoka Gymnastics and Trampoline Club was shocked to see thousands of dollars of damage done to the club by vandals, but even that is now on its way to being a hurdle overcome as the building has a new security system in use.
Spring classes will be held at the club’s downtown location but Groves says the new building is still set to open in September, despite the setback they have faced. A drywall is about to be finished at the new facility and the club hopes to host a painting bee on May 8 and 9.
In an effort to raise even more funds, the club is holding a raffle with the first prize being a Samsung 58″ Smart TV. For more information and tickets, contact Deanna Groves at (403)-396-1756.