Coun. Teri Underhill made a motion during the March 22 regular meeting that administration provide council with a revised plan for the 50th St. walking path. Underhill would like to see the walking path narrowed to allow for wider vehicle lanes for safer maneuvering.
Underhill cited consistent concerns raised by citizens that the walking path is currently wider than the traffic lanes, and the accidents that have taken place at that location, as her reasons for bringing the motion forward.
Mayor Kevin Ferguson spoke in favour of the motion, saying the issue needed to be remedied or mitigated as a majority of residents were not happy with it. He said the proposed fix of narrowing the walking path seemed like a good compromise.
The motion carried.
Electrical distribution tariff
Council considered approving an increase of five per cent to the Local Access Fee to a total of 10 per cent to be applied to all electric sites in the Town of Ponoka, to come into effect June 1, 2022.
First reading the bylaw was approved by council on March 22, however, council wanted more time to consider before taking it any further.
Coun. Clayton Nelson said he felt rushed, and he wanted more time to ensure he understood all the fees and the implications it would have for residents.
The revenue the fee increase would bring in was already included in the 2022 operating and capital budget that council had approved earlier in the meeting.
Administration responded that if council decided against implementing local access fee increase for electricity distribution, then the budget would then need to be revised.
The budget would need to be finalized before April 12, when council is scheduled to present council with the tax bylaw that sets the property tax rates for the next year.
Council voted to dedicate March 29 as a special council meeting to discuss the local access fee, and the budget, accordingly, before holding any further discussions on the bylaw.
Third and final reading of the utility rates bylaw was carried.
Food rescue program
On March 16 the Mayor and chief administrative officer Sandra Lund attended a presentation by the Vulnerable Outreach Committee (VOC) at the Ponoka Youth Centre on a project that in the planning stages, the Ponoka Food Rescue Project.
The project is intended to rescue viable food from retailers, restaurants, and growers with the goal of reducing food waste. A similar program in Lacombe has seen success.