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Town of Ponoka on the hook for train crossing repairs

The cost came in at $62,000, which was less than the $100,000 estimate

The town is on the hook for the train crossing repairs done in Ponoka last May.

CP Rail conducted the repairs and sent a bill to the Town of Ponoka for $62,783. Council discussed the bill Aug. 8 during its regular meeting and while the bill was concern, finding out there’s money available in the town’s Federal Gas Tax Fund to pay for it drew some questions.

Council was told during budget deliberations that there was very little left in operations coffers for the 2017 budget.

The recommendation from Dwayne Kwolick, manager of operations for the Town of Ponoka, was to pay the bill or face potential fines. In Alberta, municipalities are responsible for several parts of railway crossings including road approaches, traffic control devices and elevation of the road in relation to the railway track.

“We discovered a defect in the tracks crossing…It required immediate attention,” said Kwolick of the need for the repair.

“I guess we can be thankful it’s only $62,000,” he added.

What surprised council was that there was money in the Federal Gas Tax Fund, which helps pay for transportation needs.

This money wasn’t allocated for anything.

When asked how much money is available in the fund, administration said they would have to get that information. It appears that sometimes if a project using the fund comes under budget, there is more available, which may be one reason why it wasn’t allocated.

“I think it’s important that we have those facts,” offered Coun. Carla Prediger, adding that not knowing the Gas Tax Fund budget line is not comforting.

With the town’s budget so tight she suggests this would be good information to have.

Council approved paying the bill to CP Rail, with a further request that administration provide the balance of the fund at a later date.

Council approves pool roof replacement

Council approved the town move forward on a tender process for the aquaplex roof replacement.

Funds for the project were allocated during budget deliberations at an estimated cost of $372,800.

Wes Amendt, director of community services, told council this is a first step to allow administration to go through a tender process. He expects tenders to be ready for council review during the Sept. 12 council meeting.

“This will allow for work to be completed in early fall, which is generally a good time for roof repairs to take place,” said Amendt.

Council approved the request with Coun. Teri Underhill voting against it.