Movement afoot in downtown Ponoka

Timing may just be right for the Town of Ponoka’s new Downtown Revitalization Committee.

Timing may just be right for the Town of Ponoka’s new Downtown Revitalization Committee as there are a number of new businesses opening up.

The committee was recently approved by council and town planners are in the process of recruiting members to fill the committee, says Stephen Novak, economic development officer.

With the expected addition of Pizza Hut and a new physio therapy facility on Chipman Avenue, plus some shuffling of locations with the Bibles for Missions store moving to the old Rip’N Ronnies location, the committee may be able to provide feedback to council on some of the potentials for the area.

Novak says there are 11 voting positions available: two from town council, one each from the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Board, five downtown business members and two voting members of the public. Novak is a non-voting member but will provide guidance to the committee.

He suggests this may be an opportunity for residents and business owners to provide feedback into seeing growth in the downtown area. The key with this committee, says Novak, is action. “We want to focus on implementation of the plan.”

One area that needs to be addressed is how to entice businesses to the downtown core.

“There’s kind of a shift in the types of businesses that are located downtown,” said Novak.

“If you don’t have retail space, you can still make a go of it,” he added.

The downtown area has a mix of retail and business offices.

Tying in proper planning with the downtown area is something Novak feels may also help with its development. As the land use bylaw talks continue, Novak says there has been some discussion although it is not set in stone of allowing secondary suites in the downtown area.

He said providing rules for these suites would increase the residential population in the downtown area, which could in turn increase the need for services. Knowing how that will work can only happen by making plans and following through with them, suggested Novak.

“We need to have some wins. And we’ll probably have some setbacks,” he added.

The important part of that is taking action. Novak suggests the new committee can be of service to the town and development in the downtown area.