This photo of the bridge on Township 441 west of Range Road 15 shows a view from the underside of the third span of the bridge deck with deteriorating concrete and the reason the bridge is being replaced. Image: Ponoka County

This photo of the bridge on Township 441 west of Range Road 15 shows a view from the underside of the third span of the bridge deck with deteriorating concrete and the reason the bridge is being replaced. Image: Ponoka County

Road construction kickstarts in Ponoka County

Legal challenge on county land use decision slated for December

With very little moisture, Ponoka County is planning on getting its road construction and other work underway.

Public Works superintendent Herb Schwingel provided council with an update at its May 28 meeting, focused mostly on roads in the west side of the county.

Work has already started on the one mile of Range Road (RR) 35 north of Township (Twp) Road 450 as well as on one mile of RR 11 south of Twp 450.

A rebuild of RR 254, known as Baker Road, is anticipated to get going before the middle of June. The county had hoped to work in conjunction with the Town of Ponoka to see the entire gravel portion redone, but to date that had not been the case. Council did pass a motion to offer to complete the work on the town portion as the county upgrades its section, if the town committed to paying for the less than half a mile of road work in 2020.

Lastly, Schwingel mentioned that it’s expected work on the bridge along Twp 441, just west of RR 15, will begin soon. Plans are also being made to replace the bridge/culvert on Twp 424 located just west of RR 271 sometime this summer.

Samson letter

Council was told of the response from the Samson Cree Nation to the county’s revoking the cannabis production facility development permit and it drew a reaction of disbelief.

The letter thanked the county for the timely response to the band’s objection and then requested the county to send any future development applications within a 50 mile radius of Samson land to the band chief and council first.

This left council clearly confused and CAO Charlie Cutforth said he believed the band was just looking for input on cannabis production. However, Cutforth added the request is not legally enforceable and that only discretionary use applications are subject to notification of neighbours within one mile.

Additionally, Ponoka County is only 100 miles wide and 24 miles from north to south at its longest point.

ASP fight

Council was updated on the status of a court challenge to the county’s Northwest Area Structure Plan (ASP) by the Ponoka Right To Farm Society.

Earlier this year, the group launched legal action to get the ASP struck down.

Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench in Wetaskiwin has now set a date of Dec. 19 for the hearing. It’s expected the court will reserve its decision to a later date.