OPINION: Ponoka well represented during the Winter Games

While there were no athletes at the 2019 Winter Games, Ponoka was definitely well featured

It’s early days yet in terms of return on investment but seeing the Town of Ponoka as a major sponsor of the 2019 Canada Winter Games was a pleasant surprise.

The town’s partnership with the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association (PSA) ended up being a wonderful piece to the Gary W. Harris Celebration Plaza, which featured such a variety of events that one couldn’t help but feel proud to be part of. Taking in the festivities were a variety of stage acts that celebrated Canada as well as a small outdoor skate rink and an ice version of crokinole using curling rocks.

Add to that were several different tents and even an ice slide. Of course the torch is brightly lit during the games and is a great backdrop for selfies and family photos.

And within all of this busy experience was the Ponoka tent and Ponoka Stampede stagecoach with a variety of activities for attendees. There they were, town councillors, the mayor, town supporters, directors with the PSA, and just a whole bunch of happy faces taking in a bit of the western spirit.

It was almost as if those involved took themselves and the town seriously. While it may have been a bit strange for everyone to see themselves on such a grand stage, it was pleasant to see. The $50,000 sponsorship, split down the middle between the PSA and the town is probably a good deal considering all the foot traffic over there.

While some would argue it’s a waste of money, I would suggest that at least they’re trying something.

Our wonderful little community is in a position to see real growth. Clearly the Ponoka Stampede week is the biggest draw to this community. Next up is the Calnash Ag Event Centre and then a variety of smaller events such as sports tournaments.

Our soccer fields are ideal not only because of its central location but Ponoka Soccer is quite proud of it. The civic centre, while it has some detractors, is actually seeing additional potentials with Campus Alberta Central and the new library location.

For those who don’t realize, the library space has already held a few conferences thanks to the new space and more events are being booked to the location. Why? Because it’s actually a space to be proud of. These are great little steps and the promotion of Ponoka is the next step.

Many folks don’t realize that some people still see the town as an aging community with a mental health institution as its only source of pride. So maybe it is costly to go through with an advertising program, but it’s also important to change Ponoka’s public image.

Of course the other option is for us to just sit back and complain about how this town does nothing for the community, how there’s corruption up the walls and roads and sewers. Really folks, at some point wouldn’t it be better for us to try and at least consider the idea that we all can make this work?

This positivity must sound like a broken record to anyone reading this space, but I think Ponoka needs a little bit of that. Yes, council should be called on when they don’t follow the process. Seriously, following the steps laid out for municipalities will surely be the best thing that protects residents. Council is probably realizing how important that is.

Let’s hold our leaders accountable, but let’s also do our part to elevate this community.

Ponoka News editor Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye is the board chairperson for the Ponoka Jubilee Library.



jeff.heyden-kaye@ponokanews.com

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