The view of Ponoka Youth Centre’s parking lot on April 12. On April 18, the area was still being blocked off as staff wait for the ground to dry out. Photo by Emily Jaycox

Solution on horizon for Ponoka Youth Centre’s parking lot

Complaints aired online

Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) stated April 18 that it’s aware of the condition of the parking lot at the Ponoka Youth Centre and is working towards a solution.

The Youth Centre and parking lot are owned by WCPS and is WCPS’s responsibility, according to Vince Burke, communications coordinator.

The Youth Centre leases the building from the division.

“We know the condition of the parking lot at the Youth Centre can cause inconvenience for parents using the parking lot,” said Burke via e-mail Thursday, April 18.

“Unfortunately it is something that can happen every year because of the ground thawing, how soft the soil is underneath and how close the surface is to the water table in that area of town.”

WCPS is currently working with a contractor to explore a solution, says Burke.

“As we are in the initial stages of that analysis, the scope and cost is not known yet.”

The ground in the area that has been blocked off is currently too soft to put heavy equipment on so it can’t be graded, says Burke.

The area has had gravel put down on it before but “unfortunately the gravel tends to sink and doesn’t stabilize the area.”

Despite rumours, the trees that were removed in the area were diseased and that’s why they were taken out, not to improve drainage or anything related to the parking lot, according to Burke.

“Drainage didn’t play a part in that decision.”

For now, the area has been cordoned off for safety reasons.

“We ask for, and certainly appreciate, everyone’s patience as WCPS looks at a solution,” said Burke, adding more information will be provided as it becomes available.

Beth Reitz, executive director of the Youth Centre, responded to a Facebook post stating, in part: “Thank you for your concern. We are very sorry, this actually happens every spring … we encourage you to not drive through the centre at this time, but perhaps park on the sides or in the bus turnaround.”

“We trust that as soon as something can be done about the situation, Wolf Creek will – they’re great to work with,” Reitz said April 18.

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