LETTER: Ponoka needs a new recreation facility

Reader: A multiplex in Ponoka will be a benefit to residents’ wellbeing

Dear Editor,

As a society we are confronted with a number of serious health and social issues.

Whether it is obesity, diabetes, depression — the list of what is impacting our lives in our ever-increasing sedentary lives are having a dire affect. This is why I believe a significant portion of municipal budgeting should be allocated to establishing a multiplex recreational facility in Ponoka.

Ponoka is not immune to the risks associated with sedentary lifestyles. With this awareness it is beholden on our policy makers, the Town of Ponoka, Ponoka County, and administration to better understand the benefits that a new multiplex recreational facility may play in addressing these concerns.

Ponoka County has recently withdrawn its expression of interest to partner with a funding model for a fieldhouse after the provincial government noted that its share of the funding would come from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative. While it is unfortunate that the provincial government isn’t being a cooperative player in the funding sandbox, the Town of Ponoka and Ponoka County should find a way and see this through for the overall well-being of our community.

Recreational opportunities that a multiplex centre would provide would lead to better mental, physical and societal health, and while municipalities try and put a price tag on this, in my opinion, money isn’t an object when you’re dealing with these factors.

My family hasn’t lived in Ponoka long, but my introductions to Ponoka’s recreational facilities, such as the Aquaplex, have been less than stellar. I understand that municipalities struggle to balance budgets, while also attempting to keep taxes low — this will always be a challenge. But I challenge the Town of Ponoka and Ponoka County to think outside the box.

Let the strategic planning for 2018-2023 not only be about maintaining existing services but let it also be about building new infrastructure and serving the people in the best way possible.

Sure, nobody likes tax increases, but the reality is our health and wellness is being impacted and there shouldn’t be a price tag placed on that.

Let’s get creative, folks. Let’s not throw our hands in the air and say “this is a problem for someone else” or “there isn’t enough in the budget” or “the province didn’t play nice.” Let’s look at what we have together as a community and what we can get done.

Let’s pull up our bootstraps and “Keep it Real.”

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