This tiny dam paved the way for the Town of Ponoka being built exactly at the spot where it stands now.

This tiny dam paved the way for the Town of Ponoka being built exactly at the spot where it stands now.

Town to approach Alberta Environment about disintegrating dam

It’s the oldest structure in Ponoka, and without it, the town would have never been built, but if something isn’t done, it will disappear.

By David Thielen

It’s the oldest structure in Ponoka, and without it, the town would have never been built, but if something isn’t done, it will disappear.

That was the essence of a presentation made by John Jacobs at the regular meeting of Ponoka Town Council on July 14.

“We don’t want a contribution from the town, what we want is for the town to approach Alberta Environment for permission, so we can do something to stabilize the site,” said Jacobs.

Over the years, the dam has been the victim of kids being kids, taking rocks from the dam and throwing them back into the river, or using them to break holes in the ice, said Jacobs.

“There isn’t much we can do about replacing the timbers, but at least we can replace some of the rock.”

The dam is located on the Battle River, just about directly east of Chipman Ave. According to a plaque at a small gazebo overlooking the dam, a log dam was originally built in the 1890s, with logs from Pigeon Lake being floated downstream to a sawmill on the Battle River. Because the dam was there, when the railroad came through, they built Siding 14. The first train arrived in Siding 14 on July 27, 1891, and the railroad built the train station between 1892-1893.  The water tower was dismantled in the 1950s and the train station demolished on May 15, 1968.

“I think this would be a good fit for our heritage downtown,” said mayor Rick Bonnett.

Council passed a motion for administration to approach Alberta Environment for permission to do some work with the dam.