Town seeks community vision for activity centre

Having a new or refurbished building is one thing but knowing what to use it for is another

Having a new or refurbished building is one thing but knowing what to use it for is another and the Town of Ponoka wants feedback on its latest community centre; the Hudson’s Green Nature and Activity Centre.

An open house is planned for Jan. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. and is “more of a visioning session,” explained director of community services Wes Amendt.

It is a way to hear what residents feel the town can do to improve on the area surrounding the building as well as thoughts they have on its purpose. Work has been approved in the 2013 budget to improve the sound and to buy more chairs and tables.

Amendt has also applied for a grant from the Western Economic Diversification’s Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF). The application is a 55/45 split, with $219,300 coming from the 2012 budget and an additional $41,015 committed in the 2013 capital budget. The total project cost would be $473,300.

His hope is for community feedback. “Give us some thoughts of what you (residents) would like there.”

Landscaping and parking lot improvement are some of the projects Amendt is considering, as well as the possibility of connecting the storm lines to the building. He realizes there are still some improvements needed and Amendt will work with Sarah Olson, economic development officer for the town, to have a marketing strategy. “Quite often it’s empty so we’re trying to look at how to best regenerate some interest…We’re trying to raise the profile and make it a little more functional.”

He is excited for the potential of the building and feels it is ideal for smaller groups and meetings as it has a capacity of 100 people. He asked this question of residents, “How can we make it more user friendly and attract more use?”