After several years being on the backburner, town councillors approved a new decal advertising the Town of Ponoka on the Ponoka Lions’ bus.
The decision came during their regular meeting Wednesday, Nov. 12 to approve $7,900 for the decal, with the Ponoka Stampede Association paying the other $3,500 to make up for the total cost of $11,400 for design work is.
The decal, which may see some minor changes still, is meant to promote the Town of Ponoka, explained Donna Brinkworth, communications officer. “These pictures will be huge.”
Brinkworth said some years ago the town and the Stampede Association agreed to share the cost of the decal with a 65/35 split on costs. The town paid for the $1,400 in design work.
The decal shows some of Ponoka’s sites such as the river valley, the splash park, downtown and the Calnash Ag Event Centre, as well as a bucking bronco. The town’s logo and the Stampede Association’s logo are featured on the bus with phone numbers for the town and the ag event centre on the back.
Not everyone was pleased with the cost breakdown. Coun. Carla Prediger suggested next time council should look at the cost-sharing agreed on with the Stampede Association and Coun. Tim Falkiner agreed.
“Maybe the Stampede Association should pony up a few more dollars,” said Falkiner.
Mayor Rick Bonnett said that despite those concerns, this was an agreement by the previous council and they need to honour it.
Coun. Sandra Lyon feels it is a good investment. “I think it looks great and it will bring great exposure to the town.”
Back to drawing board for EDB bylaw
Councillors instructed Stephen Novak, economic development officer for the Town of Ponoka, to make some changes to his draft for a new Economic Development Board (EDB) operations bylaw.
Prediger said it was unclear how town council functions on this board. “There’s no statement in this bylaw that has a role for council.”
Coun. Teri Underhill wanted terms of membership clarified. The current draft states members should have no more than two consecutive terms of service. She feels there should be clarity on reapplying for a position on the EDB.
The first term is for one year and the second is three, however, Novak says a member can take a one-year break and then serve two three-year terms if they want. This would only apply to new members, not those who have already served more than two terms.
Lyon suggested if a board member enjoys the work, they should be allowed to stay on for longer. “Why would you not want them there after four years?”
Mayor Rick Bonnett disagreed. He suggests taking a break offers others a chance try something different.
“I honestly believe that after so long, you get jaded,” said Bonnett.
He says the EDB is not a career and sometimes a break is a good idea. Council sent the bylaw back to Novak to clarify terms of membership and council’s role on the board.
As a result of this decision, the two recommended EDB appointments were tabled until the bylaw is amended.
Community grant funding issue revisited
One of the requirements for applicants of the Town of Ponoka’s community grant funding is to provide financial statements and follow up reports for projects of $1,000 or more.
Coun. Prediger feels this is too much to ask of applicants. She wants to see less strict guidelines for applicants. “This is a very intensive application for $1,000.”
CAO Rachel Kunz said some of the intent behind the application process is to give council a chance to see how things went.
“You have to show there’s community involvement,” said Kunz.
Coun. Underhill added that forcing people to come back to council to tell the story from a trip or event is unnecessary. Prediger asked administration to make the application process easier and Underhill asked that the requirement to come to council be removed.
Administration will present an updated policy to council in the near future.
Council has again tabled the decision to accept a proposal by realtor, Kelly Jones of Coldwell Banker Ontrack Realty, to be the agent to sell town-owned land.
Coun. Lyon recused herself from the meeting stating potential conflict of interest.
Coun. Prediger put a motion to postpone the discussion on the matter as Councillors Marc Yaworski and Loanna Gulka were not in attendance. Falkiner disagreed.
“It was divided right down the middle…let’s deal with it, let’s get it out of the way,” he said.
Prediger, Bonnett and Underhill voted in favour of postponement.
Coun. Prediger wants administration to work with Ponoka County on finding grants for a new multiplex or to add on to the current arena.
She presented a motion to council, stating the Recreation Committee wants to see some action on this. Her motion asked for administration to consult with the county to find grant money for the development of a master plan and conceptual design of a multiplex.
Councillors voted in favour of the motion.
Plans for Centennial Park playground
Council unanimously approved a $25,000 commitment to the Lions/Kinettes Centennial Park playground.
The Lions, Kinettes and Ponoka County have all committed $25,000 each to the project and with the town offering to help, the total amount comes to $100,000.
The committee for the playground plans to submit a Community Facility Enhancement Program (CFEP) grant, which if successful, would garner matching grant funding of another $100,000 for the playground project.
The story that ran Nov. 19 on page 2 regarding Community Grant Funding issue revisited incorrectly states Coun. Teri Underhill did not feel people should be forced to return to council to tell how an event went after receiving a grant from the town. Underhill actually made a motion to remove the clause stating that organizations or individuals are encouraged to submit suggestions for projects they would be willing to undertake. We regret the error.
Plans for Centennial Park Playground story published on page 2 of the Nov.19 edition of the Ponoka News quoted information from a Town of Ponoka document, which turned out to be inaccurate. The inaccuracy stems from the statement by the town administration that Ponoka County has committed $25,000 to the playground, but the county has clarified that no decision has been made on this matter. While Ponoka County did grant $16,600 to improvements of the splash park area, that was under a separate program.