Permit application fees see an increase for developers

Developers will see an increase in their permit application fees.

Developers will see an increase in their permit application fees.

Betty Jurykoski, planning and development officer, explained to councillors during a meeting July 23 the purpose behind the increase and how Ponoka compares to other municipalities.

A motion to increase development fees was tabled last meeting until Jurykoski could provide more information. Coun. Rick Bonnett had voiced his concern over a letter stating the fees would be greater than that of Red Deer.

“How’s it going to affect the potential growth going forward?” Bonnett asked.

“At the end of the day when developers have done their area structure plan, rezoning, their subdivision, all of it. It is still more economical for them to develop here versus the City of Red Deer,” explained Jurykoski.

The application to amend or adopt an area structure plan is $500 plus $100 per lot. In comparison Ponoka County charges $600 per lot. The City of Wetaskiwin charges $400 for an area structure plan.

New buildings this year

There are seven new housing starts to date for Ponoka, compared to 12 in 2012. Despite the drop, Jurykoski is not worried. The new housing starts are valued at $2 million but redevelopment permits are valued at $1 million.

“People who have already invested in property are willing to redevelop,” she explained.

She feels redevelopments are important for the town to be aware of and is preparing that information since 1998 to be a part of the proposed Municipal Development Plan (MDP). Jurykoski wants to be able to compare new housing starts as well as redevelopment permits.

“They (builders) still have a good, solid investment and it’s more economical than building brand new,” she said. “Since the boom I think people have seen the benefit of redeveloping existing property.”

She hopes to have the information ready for a presentation to the MDP committee July 31.

Financial statements tabled

Although councillors tabled financial statements to their next meeting, Betty Quinlan, director of corporate services, took some time in an interview to explain how the town is looking for the year so far.

“It’s right on target,” stated Quinlan.

Operating revenue shows $7 million so far with a budget of $14.5 million. Construction costs are showing $790,000 spent of the $6.6 million budgeted but those invoices have only started coming in.

“June is only seeing the very tip of the construction work starting,” she said.

Much of the work done in the summer will have invoices sent to the town in October and November. The biggest capital work so far is the lagoon aeration at $280,000.

The Southwest Industrial Park had work costing $230,000 as well. “They were putting the final lift of asphalt on it.”

Some projects are being carried forward; the automated meter reading project has been pushed forward to allow Quinlan and the town to learn the new Diamond Municipal Software upgrade.

Ponoka County also increased their grant funding for county residents use of recreation buildings to the Town of Ponoka to $240,000 from $177,000.

Currently the town is at a net surplus of $650,000, last year was at $719,000.

Noise control request

Residents have requested a noise control hedge or fence be installed along the south side of Highway 2A east of 53 Street and north of 63 Avenue. A new walking trail has been installed parallel to the highway and six residents have sent a letter to the town with the request, says CAO Brad Watson.

He is speaking with a company to see what it would cost the town to install a hedge to ensure noise is reduced. “It’ll likely be like the bushes along 50 Street.”

The pathway is intended to be paved.

Tour of Alberta

The Tour of Alberta is coming through Ponoka Sept. 5. The town has been asked to ensure no vehicles park along 50 Street, says Watson. “They’re doing a sprint on 50 Street and 50 Avenue.”

He estimates five million Canadian TV viewers will be watching the Tour of Alberta bike race and 25 million globally. Notices will go out to homeowners that no cars will be allowed to park along the street from approximately 1 to 2 p.m.