(Stock image/Metro Creative Connection)

(Stock image/Metro Creative Connection)

Ponoka County reeve expects new premier to go ahead with provincial police force

Ponoka County council discussed the RCMP versus provincial police issue during their regular meeting on Sept. 13.

Councillors Nancy Hartford, Doug Weir and Bryce Liddle attended an online meeting with Justice Minister Tyler Shandro regarding the RCMP versus provincial police issue.

Reeve Paul McLauchlin suggested that once the new premier was decided on Oct. 6, 2022, they would be sending a letter to Ottawa to withdraw Alberta from the RCMP.

The province would need to hire 3,000 officers to fulfill their promise to put 10 officers in each town/municipality. The majority of municipalities did not support the move with the main concerns being cost and staffing.

Liddle had attended a town hall meeting with the Bashaw RCMP regarding the provincial police issue. They will need a new detachment to house 10 officers.

Property rights

Chief administrative officer (CAO) Charlie Cutforth advised property rights aren’t entrenched in the Constitution of Canada even though they were proposed under the Prime Minister P.E. Trudeau leadership.

There is reference in the Municipal Government Act “Development” section that protects personal rights on private land, but there was no protection for the ability to retain your land.

Council discussed the expropriation of land occurring in the Netherlands, the excessive spreading of manure and the County’s CFO exclusion zones and watershed boundaries.

Council voted unanimously to have administration prepare a bylaw to amend the Municipal Development Plan to confirm that the county recognizes the right to enjoy “real” property unless as required by law.

PAECS update

Weir advised that the Ponoka Ag Events Centre society had met with representatives of the Town of Ponoka to review its plans for expansion.

Unpaid oil and gas taxes

McLauchlin noted that the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) had forbidden AlphaBow from purchasing any additional sites until all outstanding taxes are paid.

It was suggested that Darcy Allen with the office of the Farmer’s Advocate be invited to attend an upcoming meeting to discuss the operation of the AER.

Road signs

Hartford advised that quite a number of road signs and directional signs are disappearing in Division 5 on a regular basis.

Brushing on RR 43

The brush clearing done previously on RR 43 north of Highway 53 is growing back and should be sprayed down.

Regional Fire Department event

Hartford and Coun. Mark Matejka attended the fire department’s inaugural town/county “Get to Know Your Firefighter” night.

Truck haul to injection site

Matejka noted that Bylaw Enforcement Officer Doug Wareham was monitoring the trucks hauling to an injection well with the intent of re-routing them to less populated roads.

Asphalt plant, rules for operation

Matejka suggested that the asphalt plant on Section 21-42-26-W4 should be required to operate under set rules as other businesses in the area were required to do.

Assistant CAO Peter Hall advised that they had been issued a temporary development permit to December 2022. The neighbors would be notified if there was any request for a new permit. The plant was on leased property.

Leafy spurge concerns

The leafy spurge issue is a continuing problem south of Ponoka. The agricultural fieldman was working with the landowner to address the control of this noxious weed. The area was mowed and plans were being made to mow in the spring and fall of 2023.

Replacement of address signs

McLauchlin noted that a number of the blue address signs were fading. The signs were being ordered and replaced as they were discovered by county staff.

Currently staff was reviewing the signs from Division 5 east toward Highway 2.

Water line in Maskwacis

Hall reported that Pidherneys was re-installing some water lines in Maskwacis for Samson Management.

The cost to run new water lines from the county’s water source to the residences would be approximately $500,000.

The current system in the Samson site had quite a number of dead ends which should never be allowed.

A meeting was being scheduled to consider a franchise agreement whereby the line would be owned and operated by the Samson Band with the band receiving the revenue for the water usage.

Council voted to propose a franchise agreement with the Samson Band for water services to that portion of Maskwacis within Ponoka County jurisdiction.

Community Justice Centre engagement sessions

The Justice and Solicitor General was commencing stakeholder engagement on how a Community Justice Centre (CJC) could improve access to justice and address the root causes of crime in the county.

They would be hosting engagement sessions in Wetaskiwin and Red Deer during the RMA convention.

Gull Lake Cemetery

Hall investigated the feasibility of installing a Columbarium at the Gull Lake cemetery. If the society could pre-sell some of the plots for $1,900 per spot, they could have the columbarium pay for itself.

Further discussion would be held with the society prior to a recommendation to council.

Rimbey Outdoor Court Sports group

The county received a request for funding from the Rimbey Outdoor Court Sports.

The organization had raised over $200,000 and was looking for the county to share the cost of the boards for an outdoor court. The estimated cost is $44,296.

Council deferred their decision until the group could attend a meeting or until budget considerations in the spring of 2023.

Ponoka County

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