Sod-turning ceremony kicks off Bluffton Commemorative Memorial Park project

A brief ceremony was held in Bluffton to officially kick off a campaign to create a park-like surrounding for the community’s infamous rock.

A ceremony was held last week to begin the refurbishing of the site of a large rock emblematic of the community of Bluffton. On hand for the ceremony were: (left to right) Steve Skrenkowich and Leon Heck of ConocoPhillips

A brief ceremony was held in Bluffton to officially kick off a campaign to create a park-like surrounding for the community’s infamous rock.

First dedicated as a Centennial monument in 1967, the rock itself shows no sign of age, however the Bluffton Chamber of Commerce would like to add a small parking lot, some trees and shrubs, some picnic tables and generally spruce up the lot.

Once completed some time around or before this coming Remembrance Day, the park will be dedicated to both the early pioneers of this area and the veterans of Canada’s wars.

“We’re going to be giving the Bluffton rock site – which is going to be changed to the Bluffton Commemorative Memorial Park, a bit of a facelift. This is an official sod-turning today and it’s so that we can honour our veterans and settlers here.” said Maeghan Menear, President of the Bluffton and district Chamber of Commerce.

Menear said the plan includes adding trees in the northwest area of the park and will also include an updated plaque attached to the rock that currently also acknowledges Alberta’s 75th anniversary as a province.

While the scope of the project may be on the rather small side, so is Bluffton, hence the importance of having a bit of corporate backing. With that, the Chamber went back to one of their old friends who have supported the community a number of times in the past.

“We’re so happy to have ConocoPhillips Canada from the Rimbey office on side with us as our corporate sponsor,” Menear said. “We’re also happy to have Paul McLauchlin out here representing Ponoka County and they promised a few goodies to us as well, and we just thank everyone who was interested in getting the site up and going. It’s been a long time in coming – approximately 40 years, so we really want to give it the dedication it deserves.”

As for the major sponsor, Operations Leader Leon Heck of ConocoPhillips said his company was glad to help out with the project.

“It’s another community event we want to help out with and we’re actually going to do some elbow grease with this one,” Heck said. “We’ve teamed up with Kenzel Construction of Bluffton who does a lot of work for ConocoPhillips and along with that, we’re going to bring some operators out here for a day and do a clean up once the groundwork has been completed and the rock has been moved. We thought it was a great thing for ConocoPhillips to be involved with.”

This isn’t the first time ConocoPhillips has made a difference in Bluffton. Last year they debuted their farm safety video at the Bluffton School and have also made significant contributions to the school for the purchase of library supplies and technical equipment.

Also on hand for the ceremony was Paul McLauchlin, a councilor for Ponoka County who said they were also very pleased to be a part of the project.

“This is a community-based initiative and I think the Chamber here has been very active and well supported both by the community and Ponoka County so initiatives like this is what the County is all about,” he said. “We provide infrastructure and work to make the community at large a better place.”

McLauchlin added that while Bluffton may not be that large of a community when compared to others in the County, it is nonetheless important to the overall strength of the County.

“We’re very fortunate with the Hamlet of Bluffton because it’s under the umbrella of Ponoka County. It’s tough to meet the needs of hamlet folks so the Chamber has been a great bridge for Ponoka County so whatever we can do to support the Chamber makes us better at managing the County as a whole,” McLauchlin said. “It’s a great and very active community. One of the things that’s been said about Ponoka County as a whole is hamlets like Bluffton that really stand out have active community support, lots of activities and a great sense of community. So we’re here to help out in any way we can.”