Town sets money aside for playground development

One of Ponoka town council’s big priorities is to enhance recreation in town.

One of Ponoka town council’s big priorities is to enhance recreation in town. To do that, money has been allocated in the 2014 budget for different projects. As part of that, $50,000 has been provided for the redevelopment of playgrounds.

Wes Amendt, director of community services, told council at a meeting May 13 where he intends to allocate those funds. “We have received three requests for funding.”

The first was from the Rotary Club of Ponoka to build a small playground at the Rotary Park. The total cost is estimated at $30,000 and club has raised $18,000.

“We’ve actually approved that project and the equipment has been ordered,” said Amendt.

Two other applications have been put in: the Westview Park Committee is working on replacing the existing playground at Westview Park on 51 Avenue Close in Riverside, and the Christian School has asked for assistance with a playground on its grounds.

The playground at the school is estimated at $75,000 and the school has raised $44,000. Amendt praised the school for their efforts but said schools are usually responsible for their own playgrounds and he suggested the town needs to consider its playgrounds first.

The Westview Park Committee has an ambitious goal of replacing the dilapidated structures and adding an exercise park, said Amendt. The full cost is estimated at $195,000. In an effort to show the town’s support for the project, Amendt said $15,000 has been set aside.

Coun. Tim Falkiner took issue with the decision. “When you’re just starting out and you don’t have the equipment in place, I think you have to wait.”

Discussion ensued between councillors with Coun. Teri Underhill saying the town should be grateful to community groups that build playgrounds in town. “There’s lots of municipalities that have to pay for their playgrounds and that’s part of getting people here.”

“If the Westview Park group didn’t step forward, the town would certainly have to do it ourselves,” added Amendt.

There appeared to be some confusion over Amendt’s purpose for updating council on the town’s plans and Coun. Sandra Lyon said as much. “Council approved $50,000 to go into the budget. Why can’t we let our recreation people handle where that money is to go?”

Councillors accepted the update as information as there was no reason to discuss it further.