Town council agreed to a two-year contract for the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce to rent out the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex for its annual trade fair.
The decision was made Tuesday, Aug. 11 during the regular meeting after council received a letter from the chamber seeking in-kind contributions as the town had ended formal funding to the chamber.
President Jim Hamilton said in his letter that the trade fair and the annual business awards were the two areas the chamber was looking at.
“This is our showcase event, which serves to have vendors display their goods and services while at the same time selling and making connections for the future,” said Hamilton of the fair.
For the business awards, Hamilton said the chamber uses the Kinsmen Community Centre and is designed to honour the best businesses in Ponoka and district.
Coun. Marc Yaworski was in favour of allowing the chamber to use the arena for five years and in exchange for the rental of the arena, the town would have its own booth at the trade fair at no cost.
Coun. Carla Prediger proposed to have the agreement for two years, to which Yaworski agreed. A suggestion was made to include the Kinsmen Community Centre as well but CAO Rachel Kunz recommended against that. She said as town staff would be moving to new offices in the fall, they needed to keep their options open.
Council wants clarification on nepotism policy
A proposed policy on hiring relatives at the Town of Ponoka has been sent back to administration for review.
A request to approve the Employment of Relatives policy was turned down by council after some questions on the wording.
Kunz said the town needed to be up to date with current provincial employment standards.
Coun. Tim Falkiner suggested if the policy is approved, the town may be putting itself in a position of liability.
“Relatives of council members and the CAO can only be hired into temporary or casual employment roles,” is one of the procedures in the proposed policy called into question.
Coun. Prediger suggested the policy could work but needed to exclude council in a staff related policy where a person cannot be hired if they are related to a councillor.
Mayor Rick Bonnett said that some companies allow the hiring of relatives as long as they do not work directly with each other. Falkiner added he does not feel there are issues if there is no direct supervision or hiring of a relative.
The policy will return to council during a committee of the whole meeting for further discussion.
First reading passed for airport board
Council approved first reading of a bylaw to establish a Ponoka Industrial Airport Board.
This board would work within the scope of the airport business plan and will guide the economic development of the Ponoka Industrial Airport.
Kunz said as the airport grows so will the need for a manager. “The management position is as the airport grows and the funding comes in to pay for the management position.”
The decision to pass first reading, which will allow for discussions with the community and stakeholders, was unanimous.