Ponoka County’s CAO clarifies dates regarding land deals

A proposed new seniors’ lodge in Rimbey is still in the works, but changes and detours along the way

A proposed new seniors’ lodge in Rimbey is still in the works, but changes and detours along the way appear to have caused some unrest and political upheaval.

Ponoka County who has agreed to purchase the land for the project has come up against some unforeseen obstacles, which now appear to be resolved.

The lodge was first proposed to be built on land owned by Johnson Estates located west of the Peter Lougheed Community Centre.

However, the town opted to bow out of continuing negotiations with Johnson Estates about servicing, which, in turn, caused the county to drop the land deal.

The county was then approached by a local developer to purchase land located south of Hwy. 53 behind the Best Western for the proposed lodge.

Since that time, the county has been brought to task by Wild Rose MLA Joe Anglin for not acting in good faith and negotiating on one land deal before the other deal was dead in the water.

However, Ponoka County CAO Charlie Cutforth has taken exception to those accusations.

“I received a letter from Alvin Johnson on Feb. 4 confirming the release of the county to a sale agreement. I signed a letter of intent with SJC on Feb. 19. Prior to receiving that letter I had never had a conversation with Stan Cummings. Frankly, I didn’t know him from a bale of hay.”

Cutforth said he has worked in municipal government for 38 years, 28 of which has been spent with Ponoka County. During his time with the county, he has observed turmoil in many municipalities including Rimbey. Some of this turmoil has caused him to shake his head in frustration, as he believes them to be futile.

“From the outside looking in, I have seen great debates over such issues as libraries and now a facility for seniors. What’s next? The maternity ward at the hospital.”

Such debates are a waste of time and accomplish nothing, he said.

Accusations and name calling makes him think of American politics.

“That is sad to me. Such dissention destroys the fabric of the whole community.”

Cutforth said the volunteer spirit of Rimbey residents is outstanding and all levels of government are elected by the same people, who obviously want the very best for their community.

“Let’s just all get over ourselves and get on with what we’re all paid to do,” he said.