Potential work-around to airport planning woes

A slip-up by former town administrators appears to have caused subdivision and development challenges for the Ponoka Industrial Airport.

A slip-up by former town administrators appears to have caused subdivision and development challenges for the Ponoka Industrial Airport.

Town planners are looking at ways to bring development to the airport, and tenants are eager to see it happen but the town’s land use bylaw needs changing. Dave McPhee, director of operations and property services told council Sept. 22 during the committee of the whole meeting that a mistake in how authority of the airport is delineated came from a previous administration.

Initially council was asked to adopt a resolution of council to have the town, rather than Ponoka County as the subdivision authority. While the airport sits in county land, Ponoka County has indicated it would prefer the town manage it.

Unfortunately a resolution of council is ineffective, explained CAO Albert Flootman. He said the town has every desire to see growth but authority of the subdivision is an impotant component.

“It’s not our intent to delay the land use bylaw amendments,” said Flootman.

When Mayor Rick Bonnett asked how the planners, M and M Consulting, missed that component, McPhee said the company had it right but for some reason administration at the time did not make that recommendation, rather it sought the resolution of council.

Despite these planning challenges, there are three companies willing to come forward with a proposal to move plans ahead that will suit the town. This plan would ensure a taxiway gets built to allow for more hangars.

“They’re willing to put forward a proposal to make sure the runway meets their needs,” explained Coun. Teri Underhill, who is part of the Airport Development Board.

The county would have to issue the permits until the land use bylaw and planning is properly sorted. The process would be the same if the town managed things, just through the county, offered Bonnett.

As part of the airport management plan, $328,000 will be needed to expand the runway, subject to tenders received, with the companies willing to work with the town on it. Approval for expansion could be relatively fast once the tenders are received.

Town supports bantam Broncs

Town council approved $250 to sponsor a jersey for the bantam Broncs football program.

The decision was made Sept. 13 during a regular meeting after Coun. Tim Falkiner heard the request from the team for sponsorship.

Coun. Marc Yaworski was weary of the decision and spoke against it. “We open it up to all the schools again.”

Mayor Rick Bonnett suggested if the team was host to a tournament in town it may be a better time to grant sponsorship but Falkiner feels there are other benefits.

“I think we should support it because it’s 40 plus kids doing something after school,” said Falkiner.

Council approved the motion with the funds to come out of the town council advertising budget.

Riverside booster station upgrades

Residents will see a new booster station due to reliability issues of the current one.

McPhee said the town recommended Setants Contracting to do the work for $218,000, which was quite under the $371,000 budgeted project. Montgomery Power Management was the only other bidder coming in at $309,000.

The project also awards West Cana Electric the $36,432 bid for the installation of the new electrical panel and what is called a Human Machine Interface.

The current system had enough troubles that it was costing the town money. “That cost the town an extra $600,000 for the (old) project.”

Once the project starts residents in the area may expect water flow issues until it is complete. For more information contact the town at 403-783-0159.