UPDATED: Ponoka seniors oppose proposed four-storey condo in green space

Jim Hamilton looks over the preliminary design with seniors who came out to the public meeting on March 12. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)Jim Hamilton looks over the preliminary design with seniors who came out to the public meeting on March 12. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Photos by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)(Photos by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

Potential developers Jim Hamilton (owner of Hamilton’s IGA) and Grant Jorgenson (owner and general manager of Calanah Builders Ltd.) revealed their preliminary plan for the 1.5 acre lot south of the drop-in centre at a public meeting March 12.

The meeting, which was attended by about 20 seniors, was held outside in the green space that was recently declared surplus for the town and which is now up for sale.

“We have endeavoured to minimize the impact on neighbouring properties in our preliminary design process and are hoping to share these plans with you in an informative way,” said Hamilton and Jorgenson in a signed letter of invitation to residents.

Hamilton and Jorgenson say they are “working to enhance our community through innovative and proactive projects.”

The partners approached town council sometime in 2020 and presented their concept.

According to Hamilton, the town council gave him the right of first refusal on the lot on the condition of building the IGA store, in 1986, which means if the land was ever to come up for sale, his offer to purchase has to be considered first.

“If anyone was ever going to buy it, I’ve always had the option,” said Hamilton.

The development planned is a plus-55, four-storey seniors’ condominium and includes an access road and parking space.

“I believe there’s a real shortage (of housing) for seniors,” he said, adding seniors’ facilities in town have waiting lists.

“I’ve had quite a few customers I know that’ve left town, because they sold their house and wanted a place and couldn’t find anything in Ponoka.”

Lynn Shaver, who has lived on 44 Ave., directly south of the green space, for 23 years, is opposed to the proposed development.

Shaver and fellow area-resident Marjorie Feil went door-to-door dropping off information and speaking with their neighbours a couple of times recently.

Her main concerns are the size of the development and the blocking of the line of sight of surrounding homes.

“(I’d be) losing totally my privacy in my backyard, along with all the other people along here,” said Shaver.

She says if the proposed development was farther away from the homes, it may be manageable, but as it is, “it’s affecting everybody in this area.”

Shaver says all but two of the people they spoke to were against the proposed development.

Marty Schmidt, the developer of the original Heritage Park Estates by the vacant lot, has concerns about the proposed development.

Schmidt says he believes the original development permit included a continuation of the green space but he has been unable to find any records that confirm that.

After the units of Heritage Park Estates sold, he says a three-storey development was proposed on the empty lot by another developer in the 90s, which the residents opposed and was ultimately defeated.

The land, described as Block 1, Plan 862 1472, located at 5015 46 Ave., was previously declared as surplus land in accordance with the town’s Land Disposition Policy.

Feil asked council on Feb. 23 to reconsider declaring the lot as surplus, saying the local area residents enjoy the green space as it is and don’t want to see it developed. She also pointed out there is only one access point to the street.

Council decided later in the meeting during an in-camera session to go ahead with advertising that the town has received an offer on the property and will consider it at their March 23 regular council meeting.

READ MORE: Green space near Ponoka cenotaph may be sold by town

The sale price has been set at $225,000.

In Hamilton’s and Jorgenson’s present plans, the mature trees on the south of the lot would need to be removed, if the development went ahead.

The WWI cenotaph on the north end of the lot would also need to be moved.

The Ponoka Legion has been discussing a possible move or refurbishment of the cenotaph for about two years, says president Lee Arnold.

They hadn’t settled on a definitive spot for moving it, and should the development be approved, they will work with the developers, he says.

He added the cenotaph itself isn’t in too bad of shape, but the plaque to the east of it has sunk down and is becoming covered.

“The situation is, the whole thing needs to be re-worked,” said Arnold.

Ron Labrie, local wartime remembrance advocate and social studies teacher at Ponoka Secondary Campus, confirms that there are some errors with the existing cenotaph, such as spellings of names, or names of soldiers who perished from their wounds sometime after WWI ended.

He noted that such errors were common and some human error in records over time is inevitable.

The town put out a press release on March 3, informing residents of their intent to consider the offer and informing them of the opportunities to express their concerns.

Residents are invited to speak during the public forum portion of council’s regular meeting on March 23 at 6 p.m. via electronic means. To participate in the public forum, register by phone not later than 12 p.m. on March 23 by calling 403-783-4431.

Written comments can be submitted by email at legislativeservices@ponoka.ca or by mail at: Legislative Services, Town of Ponoka, 200, 5604-50 Street, Ponoka, AB, T4J 1G5.

The deadline to submit comments for council’s consideration is March 22.

“Once council has listened to and reviewed all submitted comments (spoken and written), it will give consideration at its March 23 meeting to making a decision on the offer to purchase the land in question,” states the release.

Electors may also petition against council’s decision after it has been made.

Detailed instructions on how

to complete a valid petition can be found at alberta.ca under petition information. The town office can also supply a copy.

Petitions must be received no later than 1 p.m. on May 18, 2021 at the town office, in accordance with the Municipal Government Act.

READ MORE: Letter: Save Heritage Park

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Town of Ponoka

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Katherine Swampy
Maskwacis chiefs are opposed to RAPID Response

Alberta Treaty 6 First Nations say they were not properly consulted

UCP Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr spoke to the Ponoka Chamber about the potential a new provincial government would provide to help support small business.
File photo
MLA Ron Orr: ‘Our constituents … want us to defend their livelihoods and freedoms’

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA stands with 15 other UCP members calling out retreat on restrictions

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Alberta is set to join three other provinces in exploring the feasibility of small modular reactors as a clean energy option. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Four provinces to sign memorandum of understanding to explore small nuclear reactors

Alberta government said in August that it would enter into the agreement to help diversify its energy sector

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a box containing doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, April 7, 2021. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
EXPLAINER: What’s known about COVID vaccines and rare clots

These are not typical blood clots – they’re weird in two ways

File photo
City of Wetaskiwin awarded $5.1 million grant for additional RCMP officers

10 Additional RCMP officers to serve the City of Wetaskiwin as a result of the grant.

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Most Read