Town council received a request during June 23 regular meeting from the Samson Cree First Nation to sponsor their pow wow in August, but the answer did not come in the form of money.
Coun. Carla Prediger favours working closely with the four First Nations in Maskwacis. “It shouldn’t look monetary. There are a lot of ways we can partner without sinking money into it.”
The request from Samson Cree came with different sponsorship levels starting at $500 up to $10,000 or more or to be a category sponsor. Prediger suggests the town should partner but feels it can be done in other ways.
Coun. Loanna Gulka suggests since the Town of Ponoka gets many requests for financial support, she would like to see a process for those looking for funding.
“But I’m wondering (if) it’s at all possible that we have a policy in place…so that we handle things in an equitable and fair manner,” said Gulka.
Mayor Rick Bonnett agreed. He feels the town could put a certain amount of money aside during budget time. That money could be used for various requests over the course of a year. He referred to the Ponoka County’s practice, which includes applying for funding in accordance with the county’s policy.
Acting CAO Betty Quinlan suggested the town could show its support by providing promotional materials such as shirts and other items. “That way we’re getting our name there. We’re showing that we support them and yet we’re not starting to finance.”
Coun. Tim Falkiner disagreed. “Why would we even hesitate to give them $2,500 or $1,000?”
“This is a huge thing for us to step up into that community,” Falkiner added.
But Coun. Marc Yaworski responded against that suggestion. “I would say that we build relationships by establishing relationships rather than buying them.”
Falkiner replied that a small amount of money is opening the doors of communication. Council approved sponsoring the pow wow with prizes rather than with money with Bonnett and Falkiner opposed.
Kinettes and town speak to future playground plans
A delegation from the Ponoka Kinette Club shows some promising developments for the Centennial Park Playground.
Club president Leanne Reed met with council to show them their plans to improve the park. Reed says the Kinettes have joined with the Kinsmen and Lions Club and want to work with the town on this project.
She said the club is in the preliminary stages of the project and they hope to receive a letter of support from town council for a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant.
“We feel it’s much easier to draw families to the community when you have great playgrounds,” said Reed.
She asked that council look at setting aside money in the 2015 budget in support of this project. With the three clubs working together and the potential of a matching grant, Reed feels a large playground will draw the eyes of people driving by. Organizers want to save as much money as possible.
“We’re looking to work with volunteers again because it’ll save $25,000 to $30,000,” added Reed.
Thirty to forty people will be needed to help install the playground, said Reed. The project could cost upwards of $140,000 plus planned shelters for mothers with young children.
Quinlan said the town does have a playground plan, which did not take into account the Centennial Park Playground but she feels administration will be able to work with the service groups.
“I think more because it’s a showcase for Ponoka…there’s a bit of a tourism impact for this community,” said Quinlan.
“Playgrounds aren’t that high maintenance,” she added.
Mayor Bonnett said the town will write a letter of support for the Kinettes.
Property tax penalty requests
Two requests to cancel property tax penalties were received and both were turned down by council.
The first came from roll number 407660 to forgive $1,119.79 for penalties in 2013. The property owner claimed they did not know of outstanding taxes, explained Sandra Lund, acting director of corporate services. Notices sent in 2013 came returned to the town as no such address, she added.
Mayor Bonnett suggested council should have investigated more information on why the person missed the penalty but he supported council on the decision.
The second request came from roll number 115600 for penalties of $627.63. Lund said the property owner claimed he did not receive any notices but a letter to the owner was not returned.
Falkiner proposed to forgive the amount as courtesy reminders did not get sent out due to a software conversion. Coun. Teri Underhill suggests that the owner has other properties and should have been aware of the taxes owing. Falkiner’s request was defeated six to one.
Council approved board appointments for several individuals.
First up was the reappointment of Edlin Ellingson to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board commencing July 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2016. Vera Maureen Chalack was appointed to the same board commencing July 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2017.
Positions for Ellingson and Phil Derksen expired Dec. 31, 2013. There are five members on the board. Members Joan Linnen’s and Jerry Siemens’ terms expire December 2014 and December 2015 respectively.
For the Economic Development Board, councillors approved the reappointments of Peter Oaks from July 1 to Oct. 31, 2015 and Dennis Jones from July 1 to Oct. 31, 2016. Councillors also appointed Sarah Olson from July 1 to Oct. 31, 2016. Rick Cline and Stan Schultz were also appointed for terms starting July 1 to Oct. 31, 2017.
Coun. Prediger asked if there was any perceived conflict of interest appointing Olson, as she used to be the economic development officer for the Town of Ponoka.
Coun. Teri Underhill replied that there is some concern as the town will be hiring a new economic development officer but suggested there will be no issues. Coun. Sandra Lyon agreed. “She’s still a resident in the community and these are volunteer positions. I think we should be grateful to have these people to step up.”