An abandoned water treatment plant could become home to community groups in Ponoka.
Town council sees the old concrete building northwest of the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre being converted into a community activities centre in the growing neighbourhood.
“It’s a perfect spot for a park and activities centre,” said CAO Brad Watson.
Municipal staff came up with the idea to save the building rather than the more costly option to demolish it.
Located on municipal reserve land, the redeveloped plant could serve as an interpretive centre, a meeting space and community park. The Hudson Green nature space includes wetlands and a greenbelt.
The Town of Ponoka had hoped to commit only 25 per cent of the project’s cost but the government has asked for a 50-50 commitment before giving the Community Adjustment Fund application further consideration. At its July 14 meeting, council agreed to commit a further $43,550 to the project.
“Your expenses to demolish that and haul it away are phenomenal,’ Watson said.
Estimates are that it would cost $250,000 to reclaim the site but only $174,000 to convert it to a community activities centre. The town’s share would now be $87,100.
If the town doesn’t get the grant to proceed with the project, it could still become a priority in council’s long-range plan and considered annually at budget time.
Coun. John Jacobs suggested instead of the town operating another meeting hall, council might have an asset to se1l to a community group.
In an interview after the council meeting, Watson explained that after treating its own water since the community was founded, Ponoka connected to the North Red Deer River Water Services Commission in 2006.
“When we began to purchase our water, our water treatment plant became surplus,” he said.
The town would try to salvage what it can from the pipes and boilers in the plant before converting it but Watson said “nobody wants to buy 20-year-old technology.
“I would really hate to see that building demolished…it’s an aesthetically pleasing building,” he added. “It would be a shame to tear it down.”