The replacement for the bridge, shown here with holes in the deck and failing girders, is due to be finished by the end of the month. File photo

Ponoka County passes Gull Lake IDP

Ponoka County has given its stamp of a approval to the Gull Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP).

Council passed the final draft of the provincially mandated agreement that governs how each municipality (Lacombe County, the Summer Villages of Parkland Beach and Gull Lake) conducts development and communicates with each other regarding the more than 200 square kilometres surrounding Gull Lake.

Ponoka County CAO Charlie Cutforth stated the agreement is simply a formalized deal of what the four have been doing for years in the area during the county’s council meeting Oct. 8.

He added there were a few concerns raised by the two summer villages as well as by some members of the public regarding the exclusion of some clauses that had been in the previous agreements the four municipalities had followed.

Those clauses included references to what the levels the lake should be at, a definition of the lake bottom and that all municipalities will continue to work with Alberta Environment to maintain the level of the lake which may include pumping.

“Lacombe County requested that (pumping clause) be deleted because it isn’t something that should be part of a planning document,” Cutforth said.

“However, the summer villages and some individuals objected to that at the public hearing. The expectation is that their municipalities will support this effort and that’s part of why it has been included. It doesn’t change anything that we are doing or our commitment.”

Council gave first reading to the IDP between them and Lacombe County. A public hearing on that document will be held on Oct. 22.

ICF update

Cutforth brought council up to speed on the status of the two Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) negotiations with the towns of Rimbey and Ponoka.

With Rimbey, talks have reached the stage where the two sides are discussing per capita funding and facility contribution figures. One positive is that Rimbey is recognizing the county’s various contributions to other facilities and projects.

Meanwhile, dealings with Ponoka have fallen off track as the town’s CAO Albert Flootman cancelled a recent meeting to discuss the ICF and that town council wants a meeting together without administrative staff.

However, county council refused to do that, although they will work on what they want for an agenda.

Gravel request

Council passed a motion that allows for some in-kind donations of gravel and grading work to the Ponoka Agriculture Event Centre Society (PAECS) for a project that would see pavement installed in certain portions areas in order to fix various drainage issues.

Based upon the amount of gravel, the use of county trucks and graders, the donation would work out to be about $13,000.

Coun. Doug Weir did state that PAECS is contributing $100,000 to the project and has also been told that the county may not have funds available in the future due to anticipated budget cuts in the looming provincial budget.

Rezoning

Approval for the rezoning of a approximately 90 acre parcel from agriculture to country residential hobby farm was given by council.

The property, located along Spruce Road (Twp Rd 422) and MacDonald Road (RR 254), is still intended to be used for agriculture, but the owner wanted the rezoning for this portion in order to split it off from a 40-acre parcel to the north as part of a potential sale agreement for the second parcel.

Bridge work

It will be at least another couple of weeks before the construction will be completed on the replacement bridge on Township Road 441, near the county’s gravel pit that is west of Range Road 15.

The road was closed at the end of September and it is anticipated to reopen by the end of this month.

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