A Ponoka resident wants to see a simplified complaints system in town.
When Dale Lillemo saw how fast motorists travel on Highway 53 on the east end of Ponoka he decided to take action and complain to the town.
His biggest concern was seeing the high rate of speed, east and westbound, and children crossing the road to wait for the school bus. “The kids have to cross the highway to catch the school bus.”
Lillemo took his complaint to the town first to the peace officer but was initially told to follow an online complaint process.
For Lillemo that was the problem; he does not spend much time on computers or the Internet and is not versed in their use. He was directed to go to the town office to make his complaint and did so, but Lillemo says he was again told to go online.
Lillemo says he left the office without filing a complaint stating he was frustrated with the process. He did take his concern to the RCMP detachment where a member took his complaint and created a case file. Lillemo filled out the form, something he hoped to do with the town.
“I want to see the traffic laws enforced,” stated Lillemo of his main concern. “They’re (motorists) coming down faster and faster.”
Staff available to help
The main purpose behind the online complaints system is to create a tracking and accountability system for the town, explained Sandra Smith, communications manager for Town of Ponoka. She said the system allows for two things: more time for the community peace officer (CPO) to be in the community and accurate reporting to the Alberta Solicitor General.
Smith said residents unfamiliar with the online process are invited to first come to the front offices at Town Hall where staff will walk them through the online form. From there the CPO takes over the file.
“They are eager to provide that assistance,” explained Smith.
She said town staff have filled out the forms for residents before and added that the process is being looked at and the town is open to feedback.
Since Lillemo’s initial complaint a few weeks ago, CPO Sgt. Kyle Koller has been busy on that stretch of road.
Koller has patrolled that portion of Highway 53 at various times in the day, usually during peak driving times to ensure the roads are safe. He has issued several speeding tickets as well. Lillemo added he is pleased to see such a strong response and he hopes enforcement continues.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Mike Numan added in an email that RCMP are also conducting random enforcement in the area.
“There are numerous intersections along the way with traffic pulling out and also crosswalks for pedestrians and children crossing Highway 53,” said Numan of the area.
The increased speed leaving town and the delay in slowing down is a safety concern. “This is dangerous and puts pedestrians and motorist that are turning onto Highway 53 from residential streets in danger,” explained Numan.
The town’s CPO has had more than 400 case loads since he started in the town since his start in March.
For those who want to access the online form, the link is on the right side of the town’s website: www.ponoka.ca, called “Municipal Complaint Form” where users are walked through a series of steps.