Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett sets sites for second term

Ponoka’s mayor looks to take lessons from last four years

Mayor Rick Bonnett intends to run for a second term in the Town of Ponoka’s top seat.

Bonnett spoke with Ponoka News about his intention to seek a second term and offered that he’s learned quite a bit in the last four years as mayor. Bonnett served one term as a councillor before this stint as mayor.

He feels two terms is an ideal amount of time to be in one position.

“I always said you do two terms in any position and then you need to let other people in,” explained Bonnett.

Despite some of the contentious issues over the last four years, he’s also excited about the movement in town pointing out the new development where the old hospital sits.

What’s Bonnett’s platform? Full regionalization.

With costs being downloaded to municipalities he suggests it’s time to consider ways to make the money go farther. And that’s not just in fire services; Bonnett wants to see a move to a regionalization of municipalities in the area.

Amalgamation is one area Bonnett feels needs to be considered. “We need to turn our community into a ‘we community.’”

“I’m tired of the old us against them mindset.”

Looking at upcoming changes to the Municipal Government Act, that regionalization will soon be a reality whether municipalities want to or not. Bonnett suggests being in silos is more costly in the long run.

Considering the number of representatives in the area: seven in the Town of Ponoka, five in Ponoka County, five in Rimbey and three in Gull Lake, the numbers are relatively high compared to the City of Edmonton with 12 councillors and a mayor serving a population of 1.4 million.

One thing he enjoys about municipal politics is being close to the public and while there have been some challenges with councillors in the last four years, he’s enjoyed working with residents.

“That’s why it’s so important that we work together as a collaborative group,” said Bonnett.

He added that he’s learned the importance of working closely with councillors. If there is a potential contentious issue, then Bonnett says he plans on actively working with those councillors who may disagree.

“There’s always going to be a bit of tension,” he said.

Something he’s struggled with over the last seven years in municipal politics is the wheels of government move slowly.

It takes months of planning rather than weeks when it comes to growth, says Bonnett. Despite that, growth is vital to a community.

“If you don’t want growth and you don’t want to continue this community’s growth then don’t vote for me,” he stated.

Nomination day is set for Sept. 18 and the general election is set for Oct. 16.

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