OUR COMMUNITY: New Rimoka CEO leading an already strong team

Ponoka County born and raised Jonathan Weir takes over position

There is a new face at the top of the Rimoka Housing Foundation, but it’s one that many residents of the region may recognize.

Jonathan Weir, who grew up in Ponoka County, assumed the post as the foundation’s chief administrative officer (CAO) back in November.

For Weir, this job turned out to be the right opportunity.

He brings to the table a degree in mechanical engineering and completion of all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

He also has experience working as construction foreman, 12 years pursuing the acting profession, being a technical director for stage and film, work as a carpenter and a labourer as well as working as an engineer in the energy sector.

“I think acting kind of gives me a bit of a leg up on being in public and giving speeches,” Weir said with a bit of a chuckle when sitting down for an interview on Jan. 20.

Weir says he had heard about the position and luckily enough, was put in touch with (Ponoka County CAO) Charlie Cutforth and found out the position was a lot more than just managing people.

Weir added he finally felt the job was right after meeting the people that make up the organization.

However, the process was a long one and wasn’t as simple as going to an interview, something that actually left Weir impressed and wanting to really be a part of Rimoka.

“It wasn’t simply an interview, but I had to give speeches to different parts of the organization, so it was essentially more like campaigning for the job,” he said, adding it helped him learn about the people and the operation.

“The team we have is so strong and has such a sense of community, it makes it a really tremendous place to work. The team here is out of this world. How they deliver all the services we provide makes my job very easy. They all understand what we are all about and what we mean to the people we serve. Plus, having a great board helps with that.”

Rimoka — with an annual budget of between $4 to 5 million — has two full time lodges, five seniors housing projects and owns a number of social housing units in Ponoka and Rimbey. That means there are a lot of buildings that Weir understands the inner workings of as well as what it takes to maintain them.

However, what makes Rimoka special to Weir is how running it relates back to one of his previous jobs.

“The crazy thing is, I managed a cafe in Vancouver where I learned a lot, especially how different it is running a business where the vast majority of employees are women,” he said.

“Just simply the contrasting way they approach how to get things done and attack problems in a different manner, compared to other operations.”

Weir added that being a Ponoka native, growing up on a ranch just west of town, provides him with a unique understanding of the community, with the job improving that considering how engaged and plugged in the organization is to what is going on in the two communities it serves.

“It’s always good to be back home, and a pleasure to come in and help take care of the community that I was raised in,” he said.

Looking forward

Two plans Weir has come up with in the last couple of months will certainly help care for people.

The first is constructing a new passive and close to LEED (green) certified building as part of ending homelessness in Ponoka. It would be built on land Rimoka purchased last year, where the present Rising Sun Clubhouse Society sits.

“I want a 100-year building. There has been a long-term need for more social housing here,” Weir said.

The idea is for a four or five story structure with the society remaining as a tenant on the main floor. The rest would contain between 12 to 18 units, with both bachelor and two-bedroom units offered.

“It’s a bit of a Hail Mary, but the thought is to have a vertical farm on the roof,” Weir added.

“It would be a great opportunity for the society to expand their programming, while also teaching those less fortunate to grow their own food. We’ve had some good comments from the board so far.”

The second idea, which will hopefully start in mid-February, will be providing soup in Rimbey for local meal programs for those in need.

“Our new lodge is wonderful, but the kitchen was over built and we have things we never learned to use,” he said.

“It will be supplied at cost to help out the community and may also help get some workers a few extra hours.”

Weir feels things are off to a nice start, but there remains a lot of work to do.

“There is some long-term planning needed that includes ideas for growth and continuing to look at homelessness. Ponoka is a wealthy community, so we should be fully capable of dealing with it,” he said.

HousingPonokaPonoka County

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Suspect identified in early morning shooting

Rimbey RCMP had responded to a complaint of an armed robbery at the Bluffton City General Store

Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, receive flu shot. Photo via Government of Alberta
COVID-19: One more death in central zone

Ponoka County on province’s watchlist

Many rural municipalities were concerned about a proposed reduction to their industrial revenues, but Alberta’s Municipal Affairs minister has come up with an alternative solution. (Photo contributed)
Province and rural municipalities agree on a plan to support Alberta’s energy industry

Creating new wells or pipelines would result in a three year ‘tax holiday’

The influenza vaccine will be available at no cost starting Monday in Alberta. “The more that we can avoid influenza-related tests, emergency visits and hospitalizations, the stronger our system will be to support those with COVID-19 and all other health needs," says Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Hinshaw urges Albertans to get flu shot as COVID cases jump by 332

Alberta’s central zone now has 132 active COVID-19 cases

The Bellows family on vacation last year in Mexico. L-R: Angel, Ryan, Darrel, Grace and Michael. (Photo submitted)
Rimbey community rallying behind family after cancer diagnosis

Michael Bellows, 12, a ‘strong, resilient kid’ says father

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Executive Director of Agape Kate Halas (left) receives $1000 from Sgt. Eric Christensen (right) on behalf of Agape. Photo/ Shaela Dansereau.
Former Wetaskiwin Peace Officer wins provincial award; gives back to Wetaskiwin community

Eric Christensen has won the Alberta Association of Community Peace Officers Award of Excellence.

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Big boost for Alberta college agriculture research

The $2-million agreement to benefit Lethbridge College’s applied research team

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Canadian couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

(The Canadian Perss)
Banff wolves have lower survival rate due to hunting, trapping outside park boundary

Researchers looked at 72 radio-collared wolves in the national park from 1987 to August 2019

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Miramar Regional Park in Miramar, Fla., Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is still hopeful about the Keystone pipeline if there’s a change in government in the U.S. next month, saying Alberta has been engaging with American officials from both sides of the aisle. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Carolyn Kaster
Alberta premier says he’s still hopeful about Keystone, even if Biden elected

The Alberta government has agreed to invest about US$1.1 billion as equity in the project

Most Read