Work could soon begin on having a framework to establish commercial and industrial development in the southern portion of Ponoka County.
At its March 14 meeting, county council approved a motion that will see administration move forward with negotiations on a contract to generate an area structure plan (ASP) for the Highway 2 corridor running from the southern border of the county to the Pleasant Hills subdivision.
An ASP is a requirement by Alberta Transportation for any business development to be done along the corridor and one was completed in the past by the county for the corridor north of Highway 53. While the present plan to have an ASP developed for the short stretch on the south end, CAO Charlie Cutforth explained the entire area between Highway 53 and the southern border will have an ASP in the near future.
“The present need for an ASP is for this particular region that has been experiencing pressures to expand on its commercial and industrial development,” Cutforth stated to council.
“The idea is to do the entire stretch in sections, with a potential for a buffer area, which is why it was determined to go only up to the Pleasant Hills subdivision for now.”
He added it has yet to be determined when the ASP for the other sections of the southern corridor will be completed.
The development of the ASP for this section is estimated to cost between $25,000 to $30,000 and will include hydrological and geo-technical studies, a traffic impact assessment plus a pair of public information sessions.
“It was suggested the process start with a meeting for all affected landowners to, in essence, clear the air and put all of the positives plus any issues and concerns on the record,” Cutforth said.
“Following all the input and knowing what type of development council would allow, a draft would be produced and a second public meeting held to discuss that. This has to be done anyway and we want to do it right the first time. Also, we are not going to get it for any more of a reasonable price than this.”
Once the contract has been signed, it’s anticipated a date for the first public meeting will be determined.
An update on the continuing adventures of the abandoned tire collection at the former Cutting Edge Recycling site on Bobtail Road stated the wheels are still turning, albeit extremely slowly.
Cutforth and Coun. Bryce Liddle met earlier this month with representatives of the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA) and the Fath Group regarding the situation. ARMA will still take the program (passenger vehicle) tires, but is denying it is responsible for the giant mining tires (GMTs) while a company in the Fath Group remains interested in taking all of the tires on the site.
Cutforth said the county’s lawyer is moving ahead in attempting to get a court order for access to the property in order to clean it up and remove the tires. In addition, the lawyer is working to determine the ownership of the GMTs.
Getting the court order could help solve the issue since the county would control the land and the Fath Group has indicated it would like to process the tires on site or on the county land right beside it. Doing that would be preferable since it could cost around $1 million to transport the GMTs elsewhere.
Council heard a presentation from representatives of the Ponoka/Rimbey Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) and the Boys and Girls Club of Wolf Creek that came with a request for $40,000 to fund the programs for 2017. A motion was passed later in the meeting that will direct $25,000 to BBBS and $15,000 to the Boys and Girls Club, an increase of $5,000 overall from last year. Council felt the hike was needed with BBBS use rising by eight per cent and attendance at the Boys and Girls club in Rimbey up 25 per cent plus a modest jump of four per cent in Ponoka.
Counc. Mark Matejka saw his motion approved to have administration looking into how the county’s tipping fees at its landfill and transfer facilities compare with other area municipalities.
“There has not been an increase in 15 years and I’d like to know how we stack up with others in the region,” Matejka said.
Administration will conduct the study over the next couple weeks and report the results back to council.