Recreation users to pay more in 2017

Everyone in Ponoka set to pay more for recreation next year

Sports groups and other residents of Ponoka are going to be paying more in the new year to use sports and recreational facilites.

Rates at the Ponoka Aquaplex and the arena are each increasing by five per cent. Change is also coming to fees for using sports fields.

Wes Amendt, director of community services, stated even with the increase, the pool rates will remain among the lowest in central Alberta. The Aquaplex has seen new programming added and rates have not been changed since 2013, while rates at the arena have not changed since 2014.

In the past, sports field users were charged a seasonal rate. However, because different sports have varying season lengths, Amendt explained the town is switching to a per use rate.

Coun. Carla Prediger questioned Amendt if he had received feedback from sports groups in the community regarding the new per use rate charges. “They all understood the reasoning for going in that direction,” he answered.

The Recreational Rates and Charges Policy was approved at council’s Dec. 13 meeting. Councillors Teri Underhill and Tim Falkiner did not vote in favour.

“Our user groups are struggling,” said Underhill. “If we raise the rates, they’ll have to raise rates.”

“I’m not in favour of raising rates at this time,” she added.

Coun. Sandra Lyon wondered how Ponoka’s facilities and rates are comparable to others across central Alberta, specifically naming Wetaskiwin and Blackfalds, when they do not offer the same level of programming or services.

“Our facilities are a lot older and might take a lot more money to keep them running,” said Coun. Loanna Gulka.

Gulka added, with the town’s lean 2017 budget, there are not a lot of funds at council’s disposal to subsidize rates.

Mayor Rick Bonnett questioned if any program was being implemented to get utilization rates up at the arena. “Can we do something to advertise to try and get some sort of action?”

Amendt said there is a schedule link on the town’s website showing when ice time is booked and when it is not.

He added rec and minor hockey schedules work together, and sometimes the ice is booked and paid for by minor hockey, but it is up to the organization’s scheduler to determine if the ice will actually be used or not.

Prediger said she feels with the empty ice, operational dollars are supporting nothing. “Going forward, what can we be doing next year or even the second half the season to better facilitate that?”

The new rates take effect on Jan. 1. However, the rates being paid by groups for the current winter season will remain at 2016 levels until the next winter.

 

Just Posted

Wolf Creek Schools raises Treaty 6 flag for first time

Chiefs, school officials took part in a ceremony that is aimed at acknowledging Treaty 6 land

Pair arrested in Ponoka with several weapons, face 98 charges

Two men nabbed after early morning suspicious vehicle reported, stolen weapons found

UPDATE: 18-year-old Rimbey teen dies in collision

A portion of Highway 53 west of Rimbey is down to one lane while crews investigate

Ponoka County approves $70,000 to dredge Parkland Beach

Parkland Beach to see some dredging support from Ponoka County

Ponoka sets bylaw on cannabis retail, pushes for quick public consumption regulation

Town passes first reading on retail outlet bylaw, questions staff on need to separate public usage

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Appeal pipeline decision but consult Indigenous communities, Scheer says

The federal appeals court halted the Trans Mountain expansion last month

‘I’ll never forgive you:’ Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Man accused of mailing bomb to his brother in B.C. has died

Leon Nepper was found in ‘medical distress’ at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre on Sunday

Most Read