A request to split the costs of Canada Day fireworks between the town and the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association (PSA) at $2,500 each was turned down.
Council defeated the motion Tuesday, June 14 during the regular meeting after concerns that the request, which also asked for $1,000 promotional sponsorship from the town, came too late in the planning phase. Wes Amendt, director of community services said the town has several plans underway and is already supporting the stampede program with a full page ad.
Miscommunication between the two groups appears to be part of the problem. Amendt said in 2015 the town’s Canada Day planning committee held fireworks on July 1 after hearing the association did not plan on doing that, which brought positive feedback.
This year, unbeknownst to each other, the Canada Day committee and the PSA planned to provide fireworks on July 1. Once the committee heard of the PSA’s plans, it rescheduled its fireworks event for Aug. 26 for the 2016 Day in the Park festivities.
“For 2017, I definitely think we should approach them earlier in the year,” said Mayor Rick Bonnett, speaking in favour of splitting costs.
One of the challenges for the town, explained Amendt, is that the advertising budget for the Stampede has been allocated, as well the advertising schedule has already been planned for. Plus it is too late to pay for the ad as the program has already been prepared.
However, there is money in his budget to pay the $2,500 if council decided to support the fireworks.
Coun. Carla Prediger suggested that since the PSA is putting on fireworks anyways, the town could put that money to better use to benefit the community.
“I think looking ahead there are many ways we can partner,” said Prediger.
For Coun. Teri Underhill supporting the fireworks is a way to work with a community organization.
But Coun. Tim Falkiner said with the many in-kind projects the town provides in support of the Ponoka Stampede, this money should go to other projects. “I think we partner enough with the Stampede,” said Falkiner.
The other issue for Prediger was that the fireworks will be at the Stampede grounds, which doesn’t provide the best access for residents. There are residents who take in the fireworks during the Ponoka Stampede, responded Underhill.
However, the request was denied 4-3 with Prediger, Yaworski, Falkiner and Coun. Sandra Lyon voting against the request.