Search for solution for politicians to join Stampede parade

Central Alberta politicians who enjoy the parade circuit want their time to shine at the Ponoka Stampede parade.

Central Alberta politicians who enjoy the parade circuit want their time to shine at the Ponoka Stampede parade.

Recent changes to how the parade is organized, which saw area politicians watch the parade rather than be in it, caused some to be disgruntled at the difference.

Town council is looking at ways to give area politicians a chance to shine and represent their community while still reducing the overall length of the parade at times 20 to 25 minutes longer when area politicians are included. The issue was recently discussed during a committee of the whole meeting.

Generally politicians will use vintage cars, or their own, to take part in the parade to represent their community but the logistics of the increased cars adds time to the parade.

“We had quite a few dignitaries riding in cars that took up quite a bit of space and time,” explained Coun. Carla Prediger of the need for a change.

The Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association, in consultation with Mayor Rick Bonnett tried to manage that last year by providing politicians with a reserved location along the parade route to watch with council. But that didn’t sit too well with some.

Prediger said area politicians on the sidelines felt it was disrespectful not to include them in the parade. She added that some residents were also unhappy that local councillors were not part of the parade, which put planners in a bit of a conundrum: finding a balance of representation and reducing the parade length.

Dignitaries such as Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr or Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins were included in the parade but more local dignitaries were not.

One suggestion was to put local dignitaries on a flatbed truck to take the parade and mitigate the number of additional cars needed.

Coun. Loanna Gulka added that the issue dignitaries had was that they did not have a chance to showcase their community.

Gulka and Coun. Marc Yaworski are on a committee with town staff to find a solution to the challenges.