Funding mix-up leaves pool plans stalled

  • Jan. 12, 2010 7:00 p.m.

By Jasmine Franklin

Plans for renovate Rimbey’s outdoor pool may be on hold after a financial mix-up.

This was thought to be the year Rimbey would receive Ponoka County’s share of the 2009 provincial grant to be used toward the town’s pool and splashpark project. However on Jan. 6, the day after Ponoka’s County council meeting, research showed the 2009 grant should go to Ponoka and not Rimbey.

Ponoka County’s Municipal Sponsorship Grant has been shared between among a coalition of the county and the towns of Rimbey and Ponoka. Rimbey last received the grant in 2007, which was used toward a new emergency services ambulance bay. The county spent the 2008 grant on a fire truck pumper, making Ponoka the recipient of the 2009 year.

Brad Watson, Ponoka’s town manager, said the grant would most likely go toward upgrading the dressing rooms of the recreation centre in Ponoka.

“They (Rimbey) will have to look for other funding (for the pool and splash park),” said Charlie Cutforth, chief administrative officer of Ponoka County.

Cutforth explained that the county has committed $500, 000 to the project should it proceed. But, without the expected grant money toward the project coming this year, Rimbey town council will have to re-jig its financial plan to support the project.

However, Mayor Dale Barr, still feels there is room for negotiations.

“We are still in discussion,” said Barr. “There is the possibility the circulation may change depending on the urgency of each municipality’s priority.”

Russel Wardrope, Rimbey town manager, said so far commitment to the project is the county’s $500,000 and a potential $750,000 federal government’s Recreational Infrastructure Canada Program that would require the money to be spent and the project started by March 2011.

“We intend to continue making applications (for grants),” Wardrope said. “And it is our turn to receive the municipal sponsorship grant in 2010, which will go toward the pool.”

Wardrope said taxes will not be raised for the project and the status of the pool for the summer of 2010 cannot be determined at this time. He said whether the pool will be open depends on available resources.

A public meeting held Dec. 10 addressed the public for their input into the plans for a revamped outdoor swimming pool that would include a new waterslide, spray park and a feature that would allow entrance into the water a gradual process rather than jumping into a deep pool.

The budget for the pool sits at $2.25 million.