Momentum in Ponoka’s growth and development projects

Looking back at the year gives everyone a chance to reflect and consider possibilities for the future.

This 2011 population age structure graph for Ponoka helps planners plan for community needs.

Looking back at the year gives everyone a chance to reflect and consider possibilities for the future.

Reflecting on those accomplishments is something Sarah Olson, economic development officer for the Town of Ponoka, feels is an integral part of her job. The town hosted a social gathering at the ag event centre Dec. 5 to show businesspeople some of the highlights of 2012 and to consider what the next year will bring and, “to thank the economic development board.”

“I think it’s a good opportunity to also invite people out who are interested in economic development and have people share ideas and collaborate on what’s worked well in the past and what can we potentially do in the future,” she explained.

She feels there is a benefit to reviewing the past year as it is easy to forget different campaigns.

An exchange program with Crossfield called First Impressions Community Exchange (FICE) had representatives from each town toured the other municipality and gave feedback of their experiences. Information was exchanged in the spring. There were five areas they feel needed to be addressed:

• An industrial park cleanup initiative.

• Enhancing downtown appeal.

• A need for public transportation and alternative housing.

• Create a draw for young families and professionals.

• Better leverage of tourism opportunities.

She feels there are some benefits to the program.

“I think FICE was just a really good way of having, as the name suggests, a first impression of our community from an outsider perspective…It had good benchmarking for a community that had some similarities to ours,” she stated.

It also gave her some ideas for moving forward.

A recent community statistics report from Census Canada has given the town information of the different groups of residents; the number of men and women at a certain age and how many children live in town help planners identify community needs. Olson suggested if there was a high population of children in the community then more homes and family services would be needed.

“If you have more in your aging population then you’re going to have more people looking towards senior’s living, condominium units… health care needs in the community change based on your population structure,” said Olson. “Basically it helps identify a lot of community needs when you look at that and how the municipality addresses them.”

There is still 2011 information that has not been released by Census Canada as it takes time to compile it, she explained. Labour statistics are not yet available.

However the town does have 18 housing starts to date for 2012 making up $4.3 million of the $15.7 million in building permits; the difference comes from commercial and industrial permits.

Olson looks forward to next year. “I’m just excited for the amount of development interest we’ve had in the community. We’ve had a lot of interest from developers and people looking into the community, both internally and externally.”

She feels the opening of the ag event centre, the 75th anniversary of the Ponoka Stampede and other developments such as the splash park and the Summer Send Off are helping make Ponoka a desirable location. “It’s important to note that it’s an upward trend.”

The ag centre is a building Olson feels has helped lead the way for Ponoka. “Some of the interest that’s come into our community already, people have mentioned the ag event centre, so they’ve heard about it.”

Events she feels have promoted Ponoka include a film crew with Women’s Pro Rodeo Today that filmed a three-part series during the Ponoka Stampede; it helped showcased the town in the United States, said Olson. “A total of 545,000 viewers across three episodes.”

The group follows women’s barrel racing and felt the town was ideal for their program.

Another program unveiled Ponoka’s “Keep it Real” brand, the new website was launched and the Nominate Your Neighbour campaign was held.

Olson believes these different experiences have helped Ponoka and its development. “I feel like everyone’s working really well together.”

Expect to see new banners for downtown showcasing the brand and a business and community guide and a promotional video produced by Global TV. Also way-finding signage for visitors will be developed, which will point to downtown and the visitors centre; eventually Olson expects to see pedestrian signs pointing to the river valley trails and other amenities.

Just Posted

Supporters rally for Jason Kenney as UCP leader stops in Red Deer

Kenney promises equalization reform, stopping ‘Trudeau-Notley’ payroll hike, trade, economic mobility

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Rimbey RCMP need help identifying vandals

Plus, GPS in stolen vehicle helps locate it and the suspect in Red Deer

Ponoka Chamber to host election forum

All-candidates forum for Lacombe-Ponoka set for March 28 at the Ponoka Legion

Ponoka County $3.6 million surplus used to prepare for future

An unexpected grant carryover along with operational savings in 2018 has provided… Continue reading

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Most Read