Lacombe’s Parent Link Centre has received permission and support from the Wolf Creek school board to extend its lease for an additional three years. However, the extension has to be approved by the Minister of Education.
Despite concerns of all-day kindergarten on the horizon, which would create a space problem in the centre’s facility, according to Joe Henderson, secretary-treasurer, Parent Link is satisfied with their current location and the school board voted to extend the lease past the initial expiry date.
For the extension period, a clause would also have to be created, saying the space can be taken for other uses if needed during the extension period.
After three years there is the prospect of another extension period, possibly at a different location.
Additional photography contest added
The board also decided to fund another digital photography contest for grades 4 to 6 due to an abundance of requests. It was mentioned grades 4 to 6 wouldn’t be able to compete in the existing contest against grades 7 to 12.
This contest will cost $100.
Digital photography from the contests will also be displayed in the Ponoka Learning Centre during the month of September.
Trustees debate local authorities elections
A Local Authorities Election Act survey, pertaining to municipal and school board elections, was completed by the board with open discussions. However, at one point during the survey the meeting was held in camera.
Under the current act the term for local elected representatives is three years. The government is considering changing that term to four years. Trustee Lorrie Jess believes four years may be a better route because fewer elections would mean less taxes being paid to support them.
It was also mentioned that four-year terms, for municipal councillors and school trustees, would be beneficial to the jurisdiction and organizations because experience would be accumulated over a longer time and kept at a longer involvement period.
A counter argument ensued, saying four years may be too much commitment for people and the pool of those wishing to be involved will change or decrease.
“Four years, for some people, can be a long time. They can’t get time off,” said trustee Bob Huff. School board meetings are held during the day and that schedule doesn’t work for everyone.
Huff said that by switching to every four years, is a message being sent that not everyone can or will have the opportunity to run for school board or municipal positions.
Trustees agreed school board and municipal elections should be held at the same term because then voters are already out and polling booths could be shared, saving time and money.
Trustee Karen Engen said if the government is in favour of four years the school board should support that.
Henderson said it would be crippling to the school board if they were on a different election schedule than the municipal election. “Term of office should be the same for all local authorities, regardless whether it’s three years or four. That’s more crucial that the actual number itself.”
The survey stated that the election date for a local election is held in October for a general election. It asked if the timing for a general election should be changed to the spring and be aligned to occur midway between provincial elections.
Keeping the elections in October was agreed upon for a number of reasons. Voters recognize elections in October; switching could keep them from coming out.
Also, having the local elections tied to provincial elections would not be favorable.
Trustees also agreed voters should be required to verify their identity at the polling booth.
Voters lists are not a part of municipal elections. The survey asked if they should be used in all elections, despite the knowledge the school board would have to hire staff to create a voters list, members said that a voters list should be present.
However, one member disagreed that it would be too easy for someone with voting rights to be missing from the list.
PCHS mechanical room dismantling cost named
The cost to dismantle the Ponoka Composite High School mechanical room has been established. Removal of abandoned equipment is set to be contracted to Allwest Demolition for $169,200, plus GST. 68 per cent of the GST will be returned.
This isn’t the final cost of the project because the boilers also have to be taken out and there is the cost of chemical consultants and removal of asbestos.