Ponoka’s updated Municipal Development Plan (MDP) has been approved.
There were few objections to the plan during a public hearing Sept. 10 but some suggestions from two residents. Danny Lineham raised his concern over dangerous goods being routed through 50 Street and the downtown core. “It’s seems to be that’s the absolute wrong place to be routing dangerous goods right through downtown.”
He feels there is already quite a bit of heavy traffic coming through the area.
Lineham also voiced concern that there are no areas in the downtown core deemed green space. He suggests a park space or market space would be an ideal way to drive traffic through there.
“Gathering spots are an important part of revitalizing downtown,” he said.
For Lineham’s first concern, Bob Riddett, planning consultant, says the plan will not set the dangerous goods route but the traffic bylaw will. “This is something you would do subsequently after adopting the MDP.”
Ted Dillon, director of protective services, says dangerous goods will be addressed through the traffic bylaw as it concerns him as well. The best way to educate is to have an officer to fine violators. “We’ve gotta be there to catch them.”
Setting a goal to have parks in the downtown core within the MDP would require council to have one started within six months of approving the MDP.
“You have to buy it within six months or the policy lapses,” explained Riddett.
He suggests council would have a better plan by discussing downtown parks in the capital budget.
CAO Brad Watson added the MDP does plan for the town to adopt policies with regards to parks in Ponoka. Section 8 states the town will “create a large multi-purpose joint use public space in the downtown to bring various segments of the community together through sports, arts, environmental, cultural and family activities and special events.”
There is an entire section on parks, recreation schools and culture in the MDP.
Coun. Rick Bonnett asked if there is any benefit to passing second reading on the bylaw and waiting for public comments but Betty Jurykoski, planning and development officer suggested staff have done everything they can to get the information out to the public. “We have been very studious.”
The bylaw passed unanimously.
Long-term lease with the Stampede Association
The Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association wants to have a long-term lease with the Town of Ponoka. An old landfill site in the southeast corner of town would be an ideal location for parking during the Stampede, says Watson. “They have taken over the lease by way of taking over the land.”
The lease is zoned for agricultural use and the group wants to use it for a corral and parking. He says they hope to eventually develop the property for trailers.
Alberta Environment has a caveat on the land not to develop any permanent structures.
“They cannot disturb the clay cover,” added Watson.
The association would like a long-term lease on the property as they do with other town property and Watson suggested to council for a lease until 2025; other leases with the town expire in 2050.
Coun. Loanna Gulka feels the town should have a shorter lease. She is not opposed to the working with the association but questioned if long-term lease benefits Ponoka.
There is no need to stick with a long-term lease however, replied Watson. “Either party can opt out with 30 days’ notice.”