The transfer of lands to the Ponoka Stampede Association (PSA) is now a few steps closer after town council passed a number of motions during its regular meeting on Sept. 8.
Council voted to declare the area in question as surplus lands, to waive the requirement of the Land Disposition Policy for an appraisal to be completed, to advertise the proposed transfer, and to begin the process of closing the portion of 54 St. south of Hwy. 53.
The 30-acre area to be transferred to the PSA is described as the south east quarter section five, Township 43, Range 25, west of the fourth meridian and located south of Hwy. 53.
“It starts the process of actually moving this forward, and going forward, with having everything that we want to see encompassed, working out,” said Mayor Rick Bonnett.
“The reason why the Land Disposition Policy and the appraisal is being waived is because we’re not willing to sell that to anybody else — we’re not going to sell it from underneath them to create a develop-able piece of land,” he said.
“We’ve got to get that road closed because we should have done that a long time ago.”
Sandra Lund, general manager of corporate services, stated that the PSA confirmed in a discussion that morning that they do wish to consolidate all of the land at the same time.
Coun. Carla Prediger asked to be reminded what future partnerships were planned to look like.
Lund answered the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed between the town and the PSA in June, 2020, included the intention of the PSA to continue to manage the land for the public good and the long-term good of the Ponoka Stampede, and included an agreement to the create an Area Structure Plan.
The MOU also goes into changing the area to a Stampede district.
If, at a future date, the Ponoka Stampede As PSA ceases to exist, the value of the land will be transferred back to the town.
The PSA is a non-profit society, so if it ceased to operate, all profits that the land would produced would go back into the community or a local charity in the community.
Coun. Kevin Ferguson questioned if negotiations could be “tweaked” as town council moves forward.
“The negotiations are no where near done,” said Bonnett.
As the PSA’s current lease with the town expires in May 2050, the lease would need to be rescinded with the completion of the land transfer.
The current lease includes a triangle of land north of the highway and south of the arena that is not intended to be included in the transfer. The lease also grants the PSA the right to use the arena parking lot during Stampede week, and the town intends to discuss a new parking agreement for the arena site with the PSA, that would give the town reasonable ability to make changes.
Administration also advised that consolidation of the former house lots at the east end of the track may be required to avoid creating landlocked parcels.
Subdivision approval will also be needed to separate the portions north and south of the highway, and to consolidate the closed road allowance. Completion of that subdivision is being aimed for March of 2021.