OPINION: Change for Ponoka comes from Ponoka

Looking at the past, present and future of Ponoka, change can come from within

What does it take for Ponoka to move forward?

I remember when I first moved to Ponoka, the community seemed to have some sort of informational black hole in that it was off everyone’s radar; including Google. It was somewhat disconcerting when looking up a business in Ponoka using an Internet search engine and the first suggestion to come my way was a business in Lacombe, or Wetaskiwin, or Red Deer, or Edmonton and Calgary.

Say what? That same company was in Ponoka but for whatever reason, Google prioritized another community.

Equally upsetting was in speaking with people who moved away from Ponoka.

“That town is the same as it was 50 years ago. It’s going nowhere fast,” was a common refrain.

It was hard to argue with that. A look at Ponoka’s streets and layout, one could see the same fixtures and no movement to be had. One can argue that stability like this is a good thing in that you know what to expect.

Unfortunately, in the world of growth, keeping the status quo may not be the best thing for a town. Outsiders considered Ponoka as a place to avoid. It’s almost like Ponoka had (or has) this attitude that it couldn’t have anything nice.

Certainly it was a humbleness, but it came across as if we didn’t care about our community. For a while though, Ponoka looked like it was not being cared for.

Regardless if that’s true or not, the perception was the reality.

In recent years here has been movement afoot in the Town of Ponoka on several levels. Informationally, Ponoka News used to focus solely on weekly coverage but that has changed to daily news delivery through www.ponokanews.com. The Town of Ponoka website – www.ponoka.ca – has current information and readily access to minutes, agendas and more.

Local businesses have jumped onto social media channels with more depth, Ponoka News is included in that. Thankfully what has happened is when I Google search a business or pretty much anything related to Ponoka, I actually get Ponoka. Celebration!

Read More – Movement afoot in downtown Ponoka

What that tells me is business owners, residents and elected officials want to see this community become more relevant in the eyes of the outside world. Council wants that, and while they’re making mistakes along the way, they’re also trying.

Some feel growth is a lost cause. Perhaps one of the concerns is the town’s location; Ponoka’s not necessarily a bedroom community like Blackfalds, which is right on the outskirts of Red Deer. And it’s not quite close enough to Edmonton to be a bedroom community.

Maybe that’s why Google was probably thinking “lost cause,” because for a while so did everyone else.

Our proximity to other communities is something to be aware of when making grand plans. Growth will probably come slower than Blackfalds but that doesn’t mean we can’t have it.

We’ve got a lot of things going for us: an old hospital that was once considered an eye sore is not around. Yes, it means that development occurred in the northern-most point of the downtown core, but sometimes you have to accept that change isn’t always perfect.

We have a group fundraising specifically for large recreation projects in the community, and the general support of the stakeholders to see that happen.

We have people thinking outside the box in terms of recreation in Ponoka with fixtures such as the ice path in Centennial Park and the family skate pond.

It’s nice to be able to search for something online in Ponoka and the results come up in Ponoka. It’s a small start, but it’s something.

We need to ask ourselves how we can help the process and if what we’re doing is benefitting that process. The stakes are higher than maybe we realize.



jeff.heyden-kaye@ponokanews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

PHOTO: Calnash roof underway

Work has begun on the covered connection between the barn and main arena

Motorcyclist airlifted by STARS after collision

Incident under investigation by Ponoka RCMP

“Visions of the West” Art Show and Sale

Dates and times for the art show and sale

Police searching for fleeing suspects

Ponoka RCMP looking into incidents involving two stolen pickup trucks

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney will lead Ponoka Stampede parade

Marshall, floats, route and other parade information

VIDEO: 5 of the best fathers in film

From Finding Nemo to Taken, here are some great on-screen dads

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

Alberta Mountie found not guilty of dangerous driving causing pedestrian’s death

RCMP Const. Michelle Phillips also found not guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in B.C.’s Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

Toronto Raptors and their diverse team celebrated worldwide

Team is made up of players from the U.S., Canada, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, and Spain

Further murder charge laid after alleged targeted hits in two Alberta cities

Jimmy Truong, who is 27, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of Louie Angelo Mojica

Stettler County denial of Paradise Shores permit upheld by SDAB

Developers refusal to provide needed information among reasons behind appeal decision

Pot edibles, topicals and extracts to hit shelves no earlier than mid-December: Ottawa

Health Canada wrapped its public consultation on the draft rules for cannabis products in February

We the North: Delirious fans celebrate as Raptors win NBA title

Supporters from all over Canada cheer Toronto’s triumph

Most Read