Town of Ponoka employees are going to have a chance at professional development after council approved a new training and development program.
The policy was presented to council during council’s regular Tuesday, June 23 meeting at the Hudson Green Nature and Activity Centre.
Coun. Marc Yaworski spoke in favour of the policy stating this policy will provide important training and will help with future and contingency planning.
Preparing for conferences or other training will have to be done during the budget deliberation process and CAO Rachel Kunz suggests directors will have a strong idea of what training is needed for staff at that time.
“We are going to budget for them a year in advance,” said Kunz.
She added planners would provide a buffer to allow for some flexibility.
Updating the town’s land-use bylaw
Planners are working on updating the town’s aged land-use bylaw, which hasn’t been updated in 20 years and they plan on including town residents in that process.
The project is expected to cost $30,000 and will be paid for using the town’s funding allocation with Parkland Community Planning Services, of which the town is a member.
Public feedback sessions are set for the summertime from June to August. September to November will bring council workshops and further public engagement as required. Patricia Abdulla, director of planning and development suggests between November and January, bylaw drafting and review will begin and then a public hearing is foreseen sometime in March 2016.
Abdulla suggests there will be some minor changes to the bylaw to bring it to current standards as well as determining the potential of permitting for special events in the town.
Mayor Rick Bonnett asked how the town will engage residents during the summer months as people are on vacation or out of town during that time. Abdulla said they hope to bring some of that discussion through the Internet with the Town of Ponoka website and social media pages.
Council approved the request.
Montana Band looking to collaborate with council
The Town of Ponoka and the Montana Band are at the beginning stages of relationship building.
Council received a letter from Montana Band Chief Darrell Strongman and his council hoping to have the two councils develop a closer relationship.
Town councillors said they are eager to work with the Montana Band and council requested administration find a date that works for the Cree nation. No dates have been set as it is in the first stages of planning.
Motions after in-camera
Coun. Marc Yaworski made the motion to accept an offer to purchase the town’s rail spur line after an in-camera meeting.
The offer came from Nutri-Source Ponoka and Chain Lakes Commodities in Ponoka. As nothing has been signed, the details of the agreement have not been made public.
The vote in favour passed 6-1 with Bonnett voting against it.
Council also made the motion to approve CAO Rachel Kunz as a full time employee during its Tuesday, June 9 regular meeting.
A second motion was made to prepare a final evaluation as feedback to the CAO from council.
Requests by Ponoka News for further detailed information on the motions were declined.