Town has enough land for growth says consultants

Ponoka is set for at least 20 years

The Town of Ponoka doesn’t need any more land for the foreseeable future, according to Vicinia Planning and Engagement and Austrom Consulting.

“At this time we are not recommending a short-term annexation,” said Brian Austrom, from the firm that is working with the town and county to make a new Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) and Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks (ICF) for the town.

Ponoka town council heard a presentation from Austrom during its regular council meeting April 23.

One of the main purposes of an IDP is to look ahead and ensure a municipality has adequate land for growth in a 20-year, or 50-year term.

The Town of Ponoka has seen a one per cent per year population growth over the last 20 years, with the population increasing by 1,200 people in the last two decades.

Based on that growth rate, and the annexation of land by the town in 2011, the consultants determined that the town has sufficient land to accommodate growth for the next 20 years.

The consulting firm, engaged by Ponoka County to complete the IDP’s and ICF’s with the towns of Ponoka, Rimbey and the Summer Village of Parkland Beach, has now prepared a draft of the IDP for Ponoka. The total budget for the project for the three municipalities is $200,000.

The town has an existing, non-statutory agreement with the county from 1998, but new legislation requires the town to update to an IDP.

Bill 18, the Modernized Municipal Government Act, requires every municipality in Alberta not within a growth management board to complete an IDP with every adjoining municipality.

An IDP is a statutory land-use plan between two or more municipalities and must be adopted by all municipalities involved with a bylaw.