(File photo)

(File photo)

Ponoka County council discusses ending payments for Ponoka, Rimbey Ag centres

December council meeting briefs

Ponoka County council discussed the payments it makes to the agricultural centres in Ponoka and Rimbey during their regular meeting on Dec. 14, 2021.

Coun. Mark Matejka suggested that administration review the payments being made to the Ag centres and that they potentially be put on notice that the county will not be continuing the loan payments.

Payment of the manager’s wages at Rimbey would also need to be reviewed.

Chief administration officer Cutforth suggested that the county give notice that it is prepared to support the Rimbey manager’s wages for one year only and a committee will evaluate what the long-term relationship will be with the county.

He also recommended that council evaluate the financial statements to determine the risk. Matejka made a motion that Ponoka County evaluate the financial statements of both Ag centres with relation to the loan payments.

The motion passed with fourin favour and one opposed.

Public Works

Public Works superintendent Blaine Rose presented his year-end report to council. He noted the following projects had been completed:

• 6.5 miles of road construction.

• 19 miles of upgrading.

• Three subdivisions received chip-seal surfacing.

• 271 locations received calcium for dust control; 17 residences had received oil.

• 2.3 miles of the Bobtail Road received pavement with the project coming in under budget.

• 167,598 tonnes of gravel hauled, 207,100 tonnes of gravel crushed.

• Three bridges had been repaired/replaced, with work on Bridge 8821 (RR 40) slated for commencement later that week.

• Three graders have been ordered for spring delivery; the light duty and heavy duty trucks ordered should also be delivered in the spring.

• Administration has applied for a remediation grant for the low level crossing (W 34-42-26-4) but have not received a response yet.

• Testing was being undertaken on a potential gravel deposit off Highway 792.

• A number of residents had requested chip-seal on RR 283 to access Meadowbrook Views. This will be further considered during budget deliberations.

The current supply issues would affect equipment replacement. The Degelman mowers should not be affected.

Two gravel pups need to be replaced at an estimated cost of $100,000 total.

The Bluffton landfill loader should be moved to the gravel program and a smaller unit purchased for the landfill (est. cost of $320,000) with delivery in the fall.

Council authorized administration to order two new gravel pups, mowers and a loader for the Bluffton landfill site.

Seasonal road

Rose advised that the south end of Rosas Road between the second and third Chain Lakes was too steep and gets very icy. The road had been designated as a seasonal road many years ago.

It was agreed that the road be closed seasonally, as deemed necessary, through use of barricades and potentially blockades, for the safety of the residents.

Highway 604

Coun. Doug Weir requested that the Administration of Lacombe County and Ponoka County join together to lobby the government to get Hwy #604 finished. Administration would contact Lacombe County to facilitate this request.

Budget report

Reeve Paul McLauchlin advised that the well drilling tax would be cancelled immediately.

The donations budget line was over due to contributions given to the Rimbey Municipal Library and the Rimbey Raceway.

Hobby farm

Following a public hearing, Ponoka County council passed third and final reading of a bylaw to rezone approximately 10 acres of land from Agricultural District to County Residential Hobby Farm District.

The land in question is proerty NW 1-43-1-W5.

Another 163.54 acres, located at SW 2-43-25-W4, was also given approval to be reclassified from Agricultural District to County Residential District, following a public hearing.

FCM membership

Council voted to continue wither membership in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), although Coun. Matajka was opposed to the motion. The invoive from the FCM for membership dues was $2,668.47.

Rimbey library budget

Council voted unanimously to contribute $52,654 toward the Rimbey Library budget for 2022. The library requested an increase of $5,285 to its annual contribution from the County. The increase will be considered during budget deliberations.

It was suggested that a funding formula be established for future reference

Action4Canada

Reeve McLauchlin advised that 80 people had attended at the Town of Rimbey office to issue a notice of liability regarding the COVID Restrictions Exemption program.

Sunnyside Marina

Cutforth advised that the SV of Parkland Beach was inquiring about the status of the Sunnyside Marina. The license of occupation had expired in 2014 and currently no one was managing the site. 358/21 Moved by Councillor Weir that Ponoka County advise that it has no interest in the marina.

Staff salaries

Council voted to increase staff salaries by $3,000 per year, effective Janurary, 2022. Four were in favour and one was opposed.

Ponoka County