Council donates to Agrim Centre

The Rimbey Ag Society will receive another $500,000 from Ponoka County council for their Agrim Centre project.

The Rimbey Ag Society will receive another $500,000 from Ponoka County council for their Agrim Centre project.

At the Nov. 27 council meeting an update of the society’s endeavors were discussed, as well as considerations for next year’s budget.

“They’ve proceeded to move along with their facility’s project, they’ve completed their business case study,” said County CAO Charlie Cutforth.

Rimbey’s Ag Society is looking for additional funding for the centre, which is estimated to cost around $5 million once completed. “To bring it to a usable state the cost is at $2.5 million,” said Cutforth.

The society has already spent money with support from the county, approximately $200,000, to buy three parcels of land, and has committed $245,000 to Ironwood for architectural drawings and steel deposits, he said.

Cutforth knows more money will be coming from other sources but said it would be desirable for the county to contribute more, in addition to the $500,000 they’ve already given. “My recommendation is that, from the municipal funding program, we consider a final contribution of $500,000 to the Rimbey Ag Society.”

The money disbursed from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative program.

Cutforth also said the society isn’t looking for the money anytime soon but is looking for commitment so they can go to the province for other funding opportunities.

“The more money you’re sitting on the better it looks, the more viable it looks to everybody.”

Open Creek Dam given support

Ponoka’s County council is donating $10,000 to the Rimbey Fish and Game Association to help save the Open Creek Dam from erosion damage, even though it’s outside county boundaries.

Cutforth received a letter from the association, saying they want to improve the dam and are looking for support.

Cutforth said a cheque for the project could be cut as early as Jan. 1. “We’re budgeted for a substantial surplus this year.”

There was an inspection done on the dam, and the engineers who looked at it say the dam needs improvements fairly soon. There are two longitudinal cracks and parts of the dam are sliding away.

A number of options have already been discussed, including ripwrap. One quote from a contractor puts erosion control at $81,200.

Due to the nature of the damage, cement blocks, the association’s first option, is not viable, putting the total cost of the project between $80,000 to $100,000.

“So they’re looking for any support they can get,” said Cutforth.

“Typically we’re always tried to look after facilities within our own boundaries, and expect the neighbors to do the same because they’ve been contributing for us. Keep in mind … . I mean, this is a good project and it affects a lot of our county residents,” said Cutforth.

He also brought up that Ponoka County council aided in Lacombe’s Lincoln Hall project, since it was right near the county’s borders. Ponoka County has a precedent for working with projects outside its boundaries.

The dam resides within Clearwater County and Clearwater County council will soon discuss providing extra support to the project.

Clearwater County CAO Ron Leaf says county council has been working with the Rimbey Fish and Game Association for at least thelast 15 years. “We apply on their behalf, it’s called MRTA (Municipal Recreation Tourism Areas) Funding.”

Councillor retracts Crime Watch resignation

County Coun. George Verheire decided to retract his Rural Crime Watch resignation at the Nov. 27 council meeting.

At council’s Nov. 6 meeting, Verheire said he was considering stepping away from the Crime Watch.

However, Verheire told the other councillors that the Crime Watch board had asked him to stay with the organization. “If they want me to stay on, I’ll stay on.”

“Personally I’d like to see you stay on,” said Reeve Gordon Svenningsen.

Had Verheire decided to resign, council was considering leaving the position in limbo for the time being.

County bridge set to be removed

Alberta Transportation has ordered a county bridge, located over the Battle River, approximately one mile north of Highway 53 and west of Secondary Highway 795, to be removed.

Cutforth suggested council commit to the removal of the bridge and discuss with Alberta Transportation if they would help fund the removal.

The bridge is located on an inactive road and is restricted. However, Cutforth says people are still cutting the locks on it.

“It’s in very shaky condition and so the liability level is very high,” said Cutforth at a previous council meeting.

In September, Cutforth told council, even with the restrictions on the bridge, there was a good chance Alberta Transportation would want it removed.