A short town council meeting Jan. 14 dealt with a number of brief items. Mayor Rick Bonnett was absent for the meeting.
Kinsmen Centre sale wraps up
Council voted on an in-camera item related to the Kinsmen Centre, deciding to waive the town’s option to repurchase the building, which is a condition included in the Sale and Construction Agreement that the town signed with the purchaser of the property.
The motion stated that the town will waive it’s option to repurchase, “concurrent with receipt of final payment by the Town’s solicitor, and upon confirmation of receipt of a Demand Letter of Credit equivalent to the value of the outstanding exterior stucco work, along with suitable authorization to enter upon the lands to complete said exterior stucco work.”
According to town communications manager Sandra Smith , the intention of the option to repurchase is to ensure that development of a property being sold by the town will be completed within a specified time frame. If the intended development doesn’t happen or isn’t completed as promised in the Sale and Construction Agreement, the option to repurchase allows the town to buy back the property rather than letting it sit unused and undeveloped.
“In the case of the Kinsmen Centre property, the town is willing to waive its option to repurchase because the purchaser has already invested significantly in developing the building with only a limited amount of exterior stucco work remaining to be completed,” said Smith.
“If the purchaser doesn’t complete the remaining work as promised in the Sale and Construction Agreement, the Demand Letter of Credit which is an official letter from a bank on behalf of the purchaser, allows the town to demand and receive payment equivalent to what it would cost to complete the remaining stucco work. The town could then complete the work itself.”
Rural anti-racism project
Council decided to partner with the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities in its rural anti-racism project.
Coun. Carla Prediger says the time is good for such a project, as an anti-stigma campaign is going through hospitals and moved to provide a letter of support for a federal grant. All were in favour and the motion passed.
Manufactured home bylaw
Council approved first reading of a new bylaw related to taxes on manufactured (mobile) homes.
Administration has been working on the bylaw since March 2017, and its purpose is to minimize the number of manufactured home accounts in arrears from having to be written off or sent to collections to recover taxes when mobile home owners leave without paying their taxes.
The proposed bylaw would make the manufactured home community owner (MCHO) an “assessed person.” It would take effect Jan. 1, 2021.
The MHCO would not be responsible for any prior years’ outstanding balances.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Albert Flootman addressed a number of questions that had been raised by resident Warren Hart during public forum at the Dec. 10 meeting.
Pursuant to Hart’s questions, Flootman says a person’s place of residence is defined by where a person returns to when they’re not working, visiting or vacationing.
Flootman also stated that the town has never directly given the Ponoka Stampede Association any time, materials or money. It has had a no-charge lease with the PSA for the land since 1936, and only pays for offsite (in town) policing during Stampede week.
In response to concerns raised about people parking in front of residences by the Aquaplex, Flootman says the residents don’t have any right or claim to street parking, all but one residence has back alley or rear garage parking, and the town will encourage more parking at the arena.
Coun. Ted Dillon asked what was being done about false fire alarm calls, which cost the town an average of about $1,000 per incident.
There were 77 false alarm calls in 2019.
Flootman says he has not received an update on that yet, but believes a public awareness campaign is planned.