Resident Darrel Adams takes a look at some facility concept plans Tuesday

Packed room at recreation master plan open house

More than 100 residents young and old filled the Kinsmen Community Centre to provide feedback on the town’s concept plans for the future.

More than 100 residents young and old filled the Kinsmen Community Centre Tuesday, Sept. 29 to provide feedback on the town’s concept plans for the future.

Speaking on the concept plans was Gary Debney, a consultant with McElhanney Consulting, the firm hired to bring together a recreation and culture master plan that will set the chart for Ponoka for the next 30 years. The number of attendees were so high that there were not enough surveys to hand out to all participants.

Debney, whose mother lives in Ponoka, spoke about the concept plans stating population growth had to be considered in the plans. He estimated growth over the years to be from half a per cent to one per cent growth per year. Ponoka has seen slow growth compared to other communities.

“A community that’s growing like Blackfalds can see 20 per cent growth per year,” suggested Debney.

“Your demographic is going to change from a young to an older population,” he added.

There were some questions about the concepts, which bring community multi-use facilities to the site of the Kinsmen Community Centre and the Drop-in Centre.

Those concepts created some concern with senior residents who use the drop-in centre on a regular basis. They worried their activities would be forgotten if the centre were to be removed.

Drop-in centre treasurer Ulla Thomson spoke against taking down the building that houses the centre. She said there are many people who access the drop-in centre monthly and members like things the way they are. “For us, we need smaller rooms to get to know each other.”

Debney offered that a multi-purpose building would enhance their programs rather than hinder them and will be interwoven into the programming.

He said the goal of the night, and of the concept plans, was to work together as a community. “As a vision we need to get the community around something so that we all agree.”

Residents favour one multi-use building

Debney said the concepts were created using feedback from recent surveys provided to residents.

They would see the re-purposing of the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex to other amenities, including an indoor skate park or BMX park with a new arena with seating of 750 to 1,000 people built off the south side of it. Debney suggests a skate park or BMX park would see more activities for youths.

Resident Bruce Clark suggested an aquaplex and other recreation amenities could be added to the west side of the arena by removing the ball diamonds rather than on the Kinsmen Community Centre site. One thought from Clark was that since there are ball diamonds in Riverside, that space could service a better purpose. Parking and access to the addition is one area that Debney sees could be an issue with this plan, which was not part of his conceptual plan.

Clark feels an arts and culture building could be built on 50 Street near the railway line or where the Kinsmen Community Centre is. In a recent survey designed for residents, Debney said arts and culture is an important part of this plan.

He also created the concepts with the goal to improve on the downtown area of Ponoka by building close to the railway or by the Town Hall site. Some attendees applauded when one person stated that rejuvenating the downtown area is a waste of time and recreation should be put under one roof.

There was a sense that it did not matter to people where the multi-use building was, it did not nesessarily need to be in the downtown core.

Regardless of the future location of the aquaplex and recreation facilities, Debney suggests a leisure pool, along with a lane pool would be a magnet for families.

“This type of facility garners more young families, more activity, more interest, but it’s also more popular with seniors,” said Debney.

One of the challenges for Debney was creating a plan that would give the town the biggest bang for its buck while still being sustainable for taxpayers. Over the next 30 years Debney estimated the overall cost would be $30 million for all the different facilities.

The question of re-purposing buildings came up. Coun. Sandra Lyon suggested that if Debney feels the arena can be re-purposed, then could the same happen to the aquaplex? Debney replied that structurally the aquaplex is limited in life while the arena has a strong foundation. He added that residents will have to make some serious decisions about town facilities over which ones should still be used.

Debney said the most important thing is for residents to come together on the plan. “A vision is only as powerful as the people behind it,” he concluded.


Just Posted

Ponoka church hosts community summer sports series

Basketball and volleyball brings Filipino families together as part of a summer sports series.

Red Deer Lake residents have seen water levels drop steadily

AEP study shows levels on straight line decline for 40 years, investigation will continue

Ponoka high school students fundraise for women’s shelter

Creating awareness for #MMIW Ponoka Secondary Campus students hosted a bake sale

Maskwacis and feds sign historic education agreement

The Maskwacis Education School Commission signed an agreement setting the stage for their education

Ponoka Christian School among group suing province

Group suing Alberta over Bill 24, the act supporting gay/straight alliances

VIDEO: Canadians rise for early-morning Royal wedding celebrations

Canadians gathered for early-morning broadcast of marriage between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

30 cm of snow expected for eastern Canada, in May

It might be hot in Alberta, but some of Canada still dealing with cold

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

Judge: President Trump can’t block critics on Twitter

The judge had suggested that Trump mute rather than block some of his critics

No suitors emerge for pipeline project stake as Kinder Morgan deadline looms

Analysts and observers remain perplexed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s comment last week that “plenty of investors would be interested in taking on this project”.

Energy wells plugged as Hawaii’s volcano sends lava nearby

A spike in gas levels could prompt a mass evacuation in Hawaii

Trump seethes over Russia probe, calls for end to ‘SPYGATE’

“SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!” Trump said on Twitter

Philip Roth, fearless and celebrated author, dies at 85

Literary agent Andrew Wylie said Roth died Tuesday night of congestive heart failure.

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Most Read