Post-Stampede security issues discussed by town council

During Stampede Week the RCMP staff were taxed to their limit, according to Coun. Loanna Gulka.

During Stampede Week the RCMP staff were taxed to their limit, according to Coun. Loanna Gulka.

More than 80 provincial violation tickets were issued with fines totalling $20,600. Charges included public consumption of liquor, no vehicle insurance, stunting, littering, and public intoxication.

Three impaired drivers were caught and several 24-hour suspensions were issued. Every person picked up for public intoxication was charged. So even though the Stampede is over, the RCMP are still going to court.

The Ponoka detachment had 144 prisoners over the course of the week, which is down from 2011’s 152.

Ted Dillon, director of protective services, volunteered at the Tri-Services Stampede cabin July 29 and 30. Within those two days Dillon returned nine lost children to their parents. Most were under age 10. In a two day-period this number of lost children is up from last year.

There were complaints made about defecations being left in public areas. Gulka believes, despite the already present responsibilities of the RCMP during Stampede they should walk through certain areas of town to help prevent these situations. She also believes the idea of private security should be discussed with the Ponoka Stampede Association.

The arena complex was also left in a mess after being used as the beer gardens. While council acknowledges the lease of the arena is a benefit to the town something needs to be done about the state it’s left in. It’s taken longer than last year to clean up the mess, according to Dillon.

Gulka believes security should be extended and a bigger damage deposit looked at.

Dillon will discuss security issues with the association at the post-Stampede meeting.

Wrestler denied funding

Without a motion, council has decided not to donate town funds to wrestler Kelsey Raab.

“I think this falls outside of the realm council can do,” said Coun. Doug Gill. Council believes if they funded this venture it would set a precedent for other similar requests. “There has to be a point we say no.”

According to council, the idea of putting money together for an athletic request, such as a tournament, is to bring people into the community.

“I believe in her cause,” said Coun. Rick Bonnett. But he said that it wouldn’t be right to make taxpayers fund her dream.

“For her cause I would definitely personally, myself donate $100 and challenge all other county, town and businesspeople to donate money towards her goal,” said Bonnett.

Gulka hopes the challenge donations will set a precedent for other people and businesses to also donate.

Immigration association seat accepted by council

It’s been decided council will have a member sit on the advisory committee for the Central Alberta Immigrant Woman’s Association.

The volunteer will routinely report to council on the advisory committee and if it’s seen more valuable in the future the volunteer position may be changed into a commission position.

“It’s something we may have to keep in the back of our mind,” said Bonnett.

Gulka said Alberta is may enter another immigration boom and that the council and Ponoka should become or involved in the affairs of immigration.

Through CAEP (Central Alberta Economic Partnerships), communities throughout central Alberta have been given toolkits to help them attract and welcome immigrants. The toolkits are mainly information based and work to provide information to newcomers, such as settlement resources and education and employment resources.

“Basically it’s just getting yourself prepared to help someone new in your community,” said Sarah Olson, economic development officer.

The volunteer position is a way council could expand on those toolkits.

“We could become more involved with the welcoming communities,” said Mayor Larry Henkelman.

Ponoka has never executed CAEP’s community welcoming plan, according to Olson. It was discussed at the council meeting to have CAEP make a presentation to council to rejuvenate the program.

Splash park may open soon

Underground water tanks for the splash park were installed July 11, as well as the tanks that will move the used water to a septic system.

After the tanks are installed, the splash park fundraising committee needs to install cement and lay the sod.

According to Barry Neath, chairman of the splash park fundraising committee, more fundraising will need to be done to finish the project.

Before its opening the park will also have to pass an inspection by Alberta Health. “Basically there needs to be a dry run before any kids can go in it,” said Neath.

The committee had thought about having a grand opening but they don’t have the funds for it. Neath said they’re going to hand the keys over to the Town of Ponoka to open it.

Barrel racing numbers increase

From Aug. 20 to 26 the Alberta Barrel Racing Association is holding finals in Ponoka.

There’s normally around 400 contestants, this year more than 600 are expected.

“Their membership has gone from 600 to over 900 because of the facilities they see here,” said Gill. “We would have to run round the clock competitions to get all the competitors in,” said Gill.

Magazine follows town branding

The Town of Ponoka is hoping to have their Business and Community Profile magazine out by September.

The town previously published a Welcome to Ponoka brochure, but its content was limited and focused on those already living in Ponoka.

“We wanted to give businesses a chance to advertise,” said Olson.

With the magazine, one focus is a business relocation guide but it’s also relevant to newcomers to the town.

The magazine was scheduled to already be available but, according to Olson, the town wanted its branding set first, so the schedule was pushed back.