Town council approved $100,000 to assist Gemini Corporation with a high load corridor project that will ease transport of high loads on Highway 53 from Ponoka to Highway 21 north of Bashaw.
The decision came during their regular meeting Nov. 25 after hearing from Michael Boyles, vice-president of business development for Gemini Corporation. Boyles told councillors the company proposes to bury existing power lines.
It costs approximately $100,000 each time the company transports a high load to Highway 21 with fees being paid to Fortis Alberta and the Battle River Rural Electrification Association.
The approximate cost of the project is $737,000, said Boyles. Ponoka County has approved up to $200,000 to help out. Boyles feels the investment will bring benefit to the Town of Ponoka.
“We’re one of the largest employers in the community,” said Boyles.
He says the project will help the company expand. Boyles says they currently employ 175 people and he believes completing this project will give them the opportunity to double that.
“Once we build the high load corridor this will absolutely attract other industry,” he added.
Once approved, Boyles said they would undertake the management of the project to save time and money for town staff. “We’ll look after all the details.”
Coun. Carla Prediger asked what happened with the company’s plans to seek assistance from other businesses, but Boyles replied they were unable to engage support. While the county and the town have provided money to partner in the project, Gemini will bear the brunt of the cost.
Mayor Rick Bonnett favoured approving the request. “It’s good for all of us in the long run,” he stated.
Council unanimously approved the decision.