Negotiations between town and Johnson Estates now terminated

A land deal between Johnson Estates, Ponoka County, the Town of Rimbey and Rimoka Housing Authority will not move ahead

A land deal between Johnson Estates, Ponoka County, the Town of Rimbey and Rimoka Housing Authority will not move ahead despite a request by Stacy Johnson to town council to go back to the table.

“The town may try to rationalize that they are saving money in the short run, but in my opinion they are going to cost Rimbey in the long run. Sometimes it is tempting to go the easy route, but I believe on a project as large as this one, it is more important for everyone to dig in and do the work and complete the project properly,” Johnson said in her presentation.

Negotiations on the land which was earmarked for a proposed new seniors’ lodge and is located west of Rimbey Community Centre had been ongoing for some time.

The proposal included the purchase of 9.2 acres of land by The County of Ponoka at a cost not to exceed $300,000. The Town of Rimbey was to pay $170,000 for servicing.

However, the land deal recently fell apart when the Town of Rimbey and Johnson Estates could not come to terms on a development agreement to the satisfaction of both parties.

Mayor Rick Pankiw said council, who went behind closed doors to discuss the issue at its Jan. 27 meeting, said council agreed, after coming out of the in-camera session, not to discuss the issue publicly.

“We agreed not to stand behind our Jan. 13 resolution to discontinue development agreement negotiations and not to debate it in public at this time.”

Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLaughlin who is also chairman of Rimoka Housing said the land sale agreement is subject to a development agreement being executed between the Town and Johnsons.

“We are awaiting written confirmation that an agreement with the town cannot be reached before our agreement with Johnsons can be considered null and void. Should this sale not proceed, the county remains committed to the project and will pursue other options in the community.”

Town owned partially serviced land known as the Bergum property on the northeast of Rimbey was originally offered to Rimoka Housing by the previous council as a potential site for the proposed lodge.

“Depending what the county does in their negotiations with Johnson (Estates) I think it is a possibility that this land could be considered as an option,” said Pankiw.

The mayor said he and Councillor Einar Olsen met with officials from municipal affairs on Jan. 16 to provide an update for the Rimoka project. Officials told him they would verbally communicate to him the status of finances for seniors’ housing at a later date.

He has not yet had a reply.