Mayor looks to the future for Ponoka’s growth

With one year under their belt, town councillors have put into place changes intended to see growth in Ponoka.

With one year under their belt, town councillors have put into place changes intended to see growth in Ponoka.

Despite these changes, Mayor Rick Bonnett says they still have much to do. Among the list of things is the repair of many of the town-owned buildings.

“We know we’ve got a lot of infrastructure that’s in ill repair,” said Bonnett.

He says the passing of the 2015 interim budget allowed for some room for growth. Issues with the price of oil and whisperings from the provincial government that funding will be dropped cause him come concern and he wants Ponoka to be prepared for that eventuality. “$60 oil scares me.”

In an effort to be prepared for growth, the mayor, along with Stephen Novak, economic development officer and five Ponoka-based developers are heading to the International Council of Shopping Centers in Whistler, B.C. at the end of January.

Last year, councillors and some staff attended the conference, but Bonnett says this year they know more of how the conference works and intend on putting Ponoka developers in contact with company planners.

“We got a lot of traction from it last year,” said Bonnett.

He says land annexed on Highway 2 across from the Don Laing Industrial Park will be a big focus of council for the next two or three years. Some plans have already been approved in the interim budget with $130,000 for an electrical line feed to Highway 2.

“We want to explore the cost and scenario if we had a lot of a development on the highway,” said Bonnett.

He feels trips to Whistler for the conference are worth the investment as they are integral to economic development.

Accomplishments also include providing more open dialogue with residents by allowing people to speak to council during regular meetings and by opening up budget deliberations to the public. Other accomplishments of town council in 2014 were the development of a new strategic plan and the hiring of a new chief administrative officer.

Bonnett is eager to see the budget process improve by allowing residents to share input in the springtime.

Were there benefits in low taxes?

Replacing the North Bridge is estimated at $3.5 million and Bonnett says that is just the start of major infrastructure improvements needed in town.

The RCMP detachment is expecting to be relocated to a new building in the next few years and many town-owned facilities need repairs, said Bonnett. Raising taxes may be something councillors and residents will have to consider.

“You have to remember we’ve had 20 years of low taxes,” said Bonnett.

Similar to the provincial government relying on oil revenues for their budgets, Bonnett says the town has relied on electricity revenues to support Ponoka’s budget. Council’s focus is going to be more on proper staffing levels and ensuring workers are up to date with their professional development.

Bonnett says residents can also expect to see a push in bylaw enforcement and dealing with dormant properties and empty buildings.


Just Posted

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Pair arrested in Ponoka with several weapons, face 98 charges

Two men nabbed after early morning suspicious vehicle reported, stolen weapons found

UPDATE: 18-year-old Rimbey teen dies in collision

A portion of Highway 53 west of Rimbey is down to one lane while crews investigate

Ponoka County approves $70,000 to dredge Parkland Beach

Parkland Beach to see some dredging support from Ponoka County

Ponoka sets bylaw on cannabis retail, pushes for quick public consumption regulation

Town passes first reading on retail outlet bylaw, questions staff on need to separate public usage

U.S. congressman issues dire warning to Canada’s NAFTA team: time is running out

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to resume talks with the U.S.

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only nine of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Tilray Inc sees $10-billion in market cap go up in smoke

Tilray’s share price closed at $123 US on Friday, a decline from its intraday peak of nearly $300 US earlier in the week

Canada to boost support for riskier forms of renewable energy: minister

A $30-million contribution to a $117-million tidal project hopes to harness the immense power of the Bay of Fundy

WATCH: Grey Cup was in Red Deer to support military families

Money raised will go towards the Military Family Resource Centre

Most Read