Ponoka agrees to MOU for proposed project

Town sets outline for discussions to revamp former hospital site

After discussing the prospects, Ponoka town council will be moving forward on the redevelopment project of the former hospital site.

Council spoke extensively about the issue during their meeting on June 28 and approved administration to go ahead with discussions on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Landrex, the developer of the proposed project. However, it was only on Monday, July 5 that the developer agreed to partner with the town on the MOU.

That document will set out what the town’s involvement will be in the design process for the new Community Learning Centre that would be operated by Campus Alberta Central (CAC) a joint venture between Red Deer College and Olds College that provides post-secondary learning in 21 different communities. Local construction company Eagle Builders is also interested in becoming partner in the project, offering to coordinate the conceptual design process at its own expense.

Landrex’s proposal would see the new building house both CAC and a new town office. Town administration is presently looking at the feasibility logistically and financially of relocating as well as reaching out to other potential partners that may want to become long-term tenants. One of those possibilities is the Ponoka Library Board, who have expressed some interest in the idea.

“We are carefully moving things along in a step-by-step process that includes getting legal advice with each step and specialized financial advice to support Council’s decision-making,” said Albert Flootman, Ponoka’s chief administrative officer.

Part of that process includes considering what, if any, monetary commitment the town may make as well as that any decision to participate will depend on a long-term (25 year or longer) lease commitment from CAC or different significant tenant that ensures the viability of the project.

Currently, the town isn’t required to put any money into the project or decide if it will be involved further until after a period of time yet to be negotiated once the building and site design plus the final cost of the project is determined. The town has also maintained that any decision on permits or bylaw amendments or project approvals will remain at council’s discretion and not be impacted by its present involvement.

Mayor Rick Bonnett stated the town is excited at the proposed project and the possible benefits, which include the potential to reinvigorate the north part of downtown, the opportunities to train people close to home and replace a temporary solution to the old town hall that will soon be demolished.

“It offers huge post-secondary education opportunities for residents struggling with unemployment or under-employment during an economic downturn helping them retool and gain new skills right here. Redeveloping that site would draw more people and services into the downtown area, spurring new economic development,” Bonnett stated in a press release.

“It also potentially provides us with the most affordable, cost-efficient solution for a permanent home. We are currently in temporary quarters in an older building with layout and space constraints that are posing challenges.”

He added the MOU will allow the town to carefully evaluate the proposal before any decisions are made.

Talks on the conceptual design are slated to begin this week with representatives from all parties.

 

Just Posted

WATCH: Fashion show highlights Cree designers

The fashion show was part of a Samson Cree Nation conference on MMIW

Rimbey RCMP need help identifying vandals

Plus, GPS in stolen vehicle helps locate it and the suspect in Red Deer

Ponoka Chamber to host election forum

All-candidates forum for Lacombe-Ponoka set for March 28 at the Ponoka Legion

Ponoka County $3.6 million surplus used to prepare for future

An unexpected grant carryover along with operational savings in 2018 has provided… Continue reading

St. Michael’s Church commemoration held west of Bashaw

The celebration acknowledged the history of Hungarian settlers in the area

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read