The following are brief items of interest from recent Ponoka town council meetings.
Nov. 26 council meeting
Winners of the naming contest
The winning name of “Ponoka Civic Centre” was released Nov. 18, and the three winners who submitted the name were presented with certificates at the Nov. 26 council meeting.
The three winners are Julie Feragen, Jeannette Van den Broek and Dave Piel. The winners received certificates entitling them to a $200 Town of Ponoka gift certificate that can be applied toward a Ponoka Aquaplex membership or a Town of Ponoka utility bill credit.
A total of 47 submissions were received during the contest, which was launched at the building’s official opening on May 24. A panel of judges deliberated over the names in September and October.
After further consideration and research, the panel also recommended the Cree word “mamawayawin,” meaning “meeting place” or “gathering place” appear above or below the name in smaller letters once the signage is mounted into the building.
The flat rates for water, sewer and garbage will increase by 2 per cent in 2020.
The cost of water will increase to $2.75 per cubic metre to align with the the North Red Deer Water Commission raising its rates effective Jan. 1.
The sanitary sewer commodity charge will increase by 10 cents up to $0.70 per cubic metre.
Alberta Municipal Affairs directs that utilities for municipalities must be self-sustaining and the increases are required to generate enough income to fund operations and for current and future capital projects.
A consumer using an average of 20 cubic metres of water per month will pay an additional $4.54 per month.
Ponoka Festival of Trees looking for a home
After some discussion, town council tabled a facility use agreement for the Festival of Trees to lease the arena lounge on the second floor of the Ponoka arena complex to the Ponoka and District Health Foundation as a space for the Festival of Trees.
Festival organizers have been looking for a space for a number of years, both for storage, and for a place to assemble and decorate trees.
The foundation recently requested a long term exclusive facility use agreement.
Although councillors and administration were in support of providing a space at low cost for the non-profit organization, concerns were raised about other arena user groups that currently use the space and what their lease agreements may entail.
The space was booked 28 times in 2019 but only generated $567 in revenue. The proposed lease would have began Dec. 1. 2019.
“If you’re going to take away a space that people have typically relied on for the last 25 years, for sure, then you need to make sure you have alternatives for them, or you know who winds up paying the dime for that? Your phone,” said Coun. Teri Underhill.
“We’re giving them basically four days notice that we’re renting out a space to the Festival of Trees.”
Although other options were discussed, either for different spaces or temporary solutions, ultimately no motions were made.
Nov. 12 council meeting
Town council received a letter from Melissa Burke, on behalf of a group of citizens hoping for better traffic control on 46 St.
The street is wide and traffic can be fast, as a main artery to the Centennial Centre, and with Rotary Park on the west side of the street, there is a need for speed signs and cross walks.
CAO Albert Flootman responded that himself and the mayor toured the street and the town will look at putting in a cross walk in the spring when the roads are clear, and that a letter had been drafted and would be sent back to the citizens.
Flootman added the town’s Transportation Master Plan will include pedestrian, cyclist and motorist safety and a residential street speed limit will be included.
The town needs to look at the way that road functions and find solutions and he’d like to engage citizens about where crosswalks should be, says Flootman.
Coun. Teri Underhill is in favour of lowering the speed limit on residential streets, saying in the past 50 km an hour was fine, because people paid attention while driving.
“Nowadays, nobody’s looking at the road — they’re texting, they’re on their phones,” she said.
She added she hopes administration will look at lighting on the street.
Coun. Carla Prediger says she would also like to see an extension of school and playground zone distances.
Council approved a motion to extend the lease with the community market to use the old library building year-round, with some amendments to make it more open-ended rather than exclusive use.
Utilities and Environment Committee
After working on the project for two years, Flootman presented the Utilities and Environment Committee’s list of recommendations to council.
“It’s been an interesting journey for myself, and the committee, I’m sure” said Flootman.
The committee was tasked with a study of the town’s utilities.
“In general, wer’e doing quite well in the distribution but not quite as profitable as might be.”
Mayor Rick Bonnett says he wished the committee would have shrunk down their recommendations in order to give clearer direction, adding the list didn’t really nail anything down.
Prediger says the recommendations were “vast” and “busy.”
Flootman agreed the list read more as deliverables and a plan rather than recommendations.
Council voted to accept the report as information, but directed administration to review and prioritize the list to their top three recommendations.
Oct. 22 council meeting
Calnash Ag Event Centre
Council unanimously passed third reading of the land use bylaw for the Calnash Ag Event Centre after a public hearing during the Oct. 22 council meeting. No one came forward to speak during the public hearing.
The expanded land use bylaw allows the centre to host more kinds of events.
Council voted to reappoint Deb Nichol to the Heritage and Downtown Revitalization Committee, appoint Lori Bruneau to the Heritage and Downtown Revitalization Committee, reappoint Suzanne Life-Yeomans to the Ponoka Economic Development Board and reappoint Hilgard Goosen to the Ponoka Airport Development Board.
The appointments were for three year terms and began on Nov. 1, 2109.