Sandra Lund, CAO of the Town of Ponoka, and Andrew Jones, recreation director, gave a recreation update to Ponoka County council during their regular meeting on July 18.
Jones updated council on the following facilities:
1. Aquaplex – they have six schools using the facility for swimming lessons and two additional were looking at joining. Schools pay for the services provided. The facility is 90 per cent programmed during prime time hours, during non-prime time it was used by schools and seniors.
2. Arena. There are hockey camps in the summer. The facility is 91 per cent full for winter prime time hours and 66 per cent full for summer/spring prime time.
Usership is also up because of the County’s contribution.
Additional staff members were also hired to maintain the facilities.
3. Sports fields. There have been major upgrades to the soccer fields and significant headway on ball diamonds. There is 54 per cent booking for ball diamonds during prime time hours, and staff have been working with user groups to ensure the best utilization.
There has also been 60 per cent booking for soccer fields. There is a new batting cage behind the arena, and pickleball courts were fully utilized as well
4. Capital projects. Dog park construction (most requested project in recent surveys).
5. Centennial Park dock replacement, trail construction, mini-golf demolition, and the wayfinding program (Phase 2).
6. Aquaplex renovations (the majority of County funding will be spent here). The lifespan should be another 25 years if regular upgrades/maintenance are completed.
Other highlights included mower fleet upgrades, downtown holiday decorations, skate park expansion, wayfinding (Phase 3), the continuation of Aquaplex improvements, and trail expansion.
The curling club is launching a new website to encourage users. The ladies’ league is full, and a daytime senior’s league is being established as well.
Lund and Jones thanked the County for its collaboration which allowed them to keep the facilities in good condition with good usership.
Public Works update
Chief administrative officer Peter Hall advised that approximately 43,000 cu.m of pit run had been mined out of the road north of the Anderson Gravel pit. The cost of this pit run was being negotiated with Alberta Transportation as it was mined from under their road.
The road construction crew would be moving to RR 261.
Coun. Nancy Hartford advised that the three doctors in Rimbey are appreciative of the efforts of the ARC Committee to secure one more doctor for the community, but wage parody is an issue.
Seniors’ housing funding
The Hon. Jason Nixon attended the July 1 celebration in Rimbey and announced that he is going to push for full funding for seniors’ housing for Ponoka.
Cou. Doug Weir reported on the recent Ponoka Ag Events Centre Society meeting where drainage of the Berg property had been discussed to create proper parking areas.
He presented financial statements for the last two months for council’s information.
Water Commission fee increase
Coun. Mark Matejka advised that there would be an increase of 0.5 per cent for water fees from the Regional Water Commission.
The move to bring water to Maskwacis was proceeding slowly.
Reeve Paul McLauchlin reported on the recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting.
He was negotiating for direct municipal funding from the federal government. Wastewater is quite an issue that is causing hardship for most urban municipalities.
The lack of solar controls was being scrutinized by government agencies with the Alberta Utilities Commission pushing installations to less populated areas of northern Alberta.
McLauchlin had created an advocacy with Saskatchewan and Manitoba at the FCM meeting.
Appointment of CAO
It was moved by McLauchlin that Peter M. Hall be appointed as the Chief Administrative Officer for Ponoka County, effective immediately.
This was carried unanimously. Duties and compensation will be determined at a later date.