Ponoka’s Kinsmen Community Centre is now on the auction block following council’s decision to declare it surplus.
The motion to put the building up for sale came at the end of council’s Jan. 22 meeting and after a lengthy in-camera discussion on what the price should be.
That price tag was set at $500,000 — a figure that was arrived at following consideration of an independent appraisal done late last year.
Earlier in the meeting, Ponoka’s general manager of planning and infrastructure Tim Schmidt outlined the process and the reason behind administration’s request.
“The reason we are doing that is we have been presented with a formal written letter of interest,” he stated, noting it also includes just over one acre of property made up of mostly parking.
In addition, Schmidt explained some of the analysis done that brings out part of the justification behind recommending the facility be sold.
“For example, the most recent capital improvements were done in 2016-17, with some audio visual improvements and windows, but there are no other planned improvements for that building,” he stated.
“For operating, it has been running a deficit for multiple years.”
To further the last point, Schmidt added there were 160 bookings at the Kinsmen last year with 79 of those by the town. Monthly usage also varied between a high of 12 in December to just one in August.
That lack of private bookings was among the reasons behind Coun. Teri Underhill wanting to look at selling.
“When we talked about private bookings, in the month of August which is prime wedding season, that we had one booking,” she said.
“I think it’s been shown that the (Kinsmen) community centre isn’t being used for what it was originally intended.”
With the building now on the auction block and booking having been made into February, Schmidt added some plans will have to be made with users going forward.
It’s no secret as to who made the offer, as Jim Hamilton was in attendance at the meeting and his previous purchase attempt last June was scuttled after council botched the process. It’s also well known that his plan for the space is for an expansion from the current liquor store space.
And it was because of that mistake that the town came up with a new method for disposing of land assets, approving the policy that enabled them to sell town-owned properties back in October. It also was done to comply with more recent changes to the Municipal Government Act.
Schmidt added the property must now be advertised for sale — with the price included — mostly to allow potential other offers to come forward. Once the time frame for considering offers has expired, council can enter into a sale with the prospective purchaser it chooses.
One thing of note regarding the price, it must be paid in full.