Plans for a new town hall and learning centre have moved one more step closer to completion.
Town councillors unanimously approved administration take the next step — Nov. 8 during a regular meeting — to begin lease negotiations with Landrex, the company looking to create a new space where the old hospital is situated. The decision came after an in-camera session where council heard the lease proposal from Landrex to the town.
During the public portion of the meeting, CAO Albert Flootman presented council with a concept drawing of what the new building could look like.
“The purpose of this concept is two fold: to show how the site would be developed for consultation purposes and for land-use development approval purposes showing how the site will be developed in the future,” said Flootman.
Old hospital getting torn down
The plan is to demolish the old hospital and create a new town hall, library and post-secondary learning centre for Campus Alberta Central, as well as some space for lease. In this case the proposal is for the town to lease the building from Landrex in a public/private development. As the town is also the development authority there will need to be some consideration as to how to proceed with approvals.
Along with the negotiations, a public open house is set for Nov. 29 at the Kinsmen Community Centre where residents will be able to hear more about the project with representatives from Landrex, Campus Alberta Central (CAC) as well as other stakeholders.
The concept plan shows where the building sits in relation to the street as well as how many parking spots have been set aside for it. In addition there is some potential for a future commercial/retail office space at about 10,000 square feet, explained Dennis Haan, co-director with Eagle Builders, the company that provided the plans on the building.
Flootman said any extra work will be done by Landrex.
Coun. Marc Yaworski asked about parking needs for the building and Flootman said it would not be enough, however added there are more spaces for parking along 50 Street. Haan estimated approximately 65 parking stalls including on the street, with 40 of those on the building site.
In an interview Mayor Rick Bonnett said he is pleased to see CAC interested in coming to Ponoka. The challenge he sees will be in managing the project as it will be a public/private development.
The positive potential for Bonnett is in removing an aged building that has not been used in the last 30 years. If a deal is resolved with Landrex, it would mean the town would pay an annual lease rather than borrowing, says Bonnett. What those costs are remain uncertain as the town has only begun negotiations with Landrex.
Bonnett says he looks forward to the direction from administration as the plans for the project continue.
Ponoka News editor Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye is a member of the Ponoka Jubilee Library board of directors.