PAECS must decide on equal representation

A request for assistance from the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association has sparked the issue of equal representation

A request for assistance from the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association has sparked the issue of equal representation on the ag event centre once again.

Ponoka County council was asked to help during the stampede but Coun. Gawney Hinkley wants the issue sorted with the Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society (PAECS) before making a decision. Questions of equal representation were discussed when former manager Chas Lambert was fired.

Both the county and the town have one member on the board. The Stampede Association and the Ponoka Agricultural Society each have three members with a ninth representing the community — although that position has yet to be filled after Don Letwinetz quit.

“When are they going to have a meeting with a new board and equal representation?” Hinkley asked. “We’ve been waiting for that for three months and it is time that was done.”

He feels the group is holding up the decision until municipal elections in October, which would cause another delay. Hinkley is in favour of supporting the ag event centre and the Ponoka Stampede Association but not until this issue is dealt with. “Until then don’t give them a damn thing!”

Coun. George Verheire is the county member on PAECS and was told by president Terry Jones the question is “in the lawyer’s hands.”

PAECS meets twice a month, one is a governing meeting and the other is an operations board meeting. PAECS met May 14 at 7 a.m. for an operations meeting and it is believed they wanted to appoint a member at large but Verheire said that decision must be made at a regular meeting. “I believe they were hand-picked.”

He also feels part of the issue with venting and roof leaks in the building is due to the construction of the walls, especially on the south side where the wall faces the sun. “That wall will move four inches on top.”

He believes the cost to remove the old insulation for repairs will cost approximately $70,000.

“You could see the sweating it was in the cracks between every form…Something is wrong,” added Verheire.

The Town of Ponoka has also declined support after a request from PAECS to haul 50 loads of sand until equal representation is finally dealt with. Town representative Coun. Doug Gill said there is nothing to report on equal representation or hiring a new manager but PAECS has made a change to access $86,000 in grants. “The ag event centre will now operate under the umbrella of the Ponoka Ag Society.”

“It’s only for grant purposes,” he added.

The Rimbey Ag Society is operating in this manner as well and Gill assured councillors there is no threat of the ag society taking over.