Ponoka County agrees to support two ag centre loans

Ponoka County council is throwing its support behind two guaranteed loans despite apprehensions expressed by one councillor.

Ponoka County council is throwing its support behind two guaranteed loans despite apprehensions expressed by one councillor.

The first loan, initiated by the previous council, is for the Calnash Ag Event Centre in Ponoka and will total either $1 million or $1.8 million; the final amount has yet to be finalized.

The second loan, amounting to $1.8 million, for the Rimbey AgRim Centre, was validated as it was left over from the previous council at the new council’s Nov. 26 meeting, when councillors approved the adoption of the bylaw to guarantee the loan.

Despite the fact that the loan was effectively approved by a resolution of the previous council, adopting the bylaw was a lengthy process for councillors, as Coun. Doug Weir was reluctant to put his complete support behind the financial transaction.

“I don’t want anybody to get the wrong idea that I’m against this project, because I’m not. If they can build it, go ahead. I’m only about the money,” said Weir.

“I know we’re committed to it, but I just think we need to proceed very cautiously and make sure these people know what they’re doing,” he added.

Both Cutforth and Reeve Paul McLauchlin stepped in to assure Weir of the Rimbey Agricultural society’s validity and competence.

McLauchlin feels the only concern facing this loan is the difficulties Rimbey’s ag society could face when it comes to provincial grants.

“That ag society has been active and has run a smaller facility, but they’ve done it for generations so they do have some experience and background. Whereas, frankly, none of us had a clue when we started this one,” said Cutforth.

“And we do know those people and I know that community,” McLauchlin added.

Other concerns of Weir’s included previous amounts and land donations the county had given to the project, as well as where the society sits with its provincial grants. “Where are they at in their provincial grants? Who have they applied to? And how far along are they? These are important, to me anyways.”

After already giving $1.2 million to the project, Weir asked council why they had to support the loan guarantee. “For the same reason we advanced $1.4 million over here and are guaranteeing $1.8 million for them (Ponoka Ag Event Centre Society),” said Cutforth.

Weir was also concerned the county would be the one having to step up and cover the bill if the Rimbey Agricultural Society didn’t have an effective debt service process in place. “What I’m really concerned about is we’re going to get hung with this.”

“The intent is that obviously they’re going to pay out of the operational revenue, any finance charges. And it’s certainly expected that the county won’t pay five cents, that’s the intent,” explained Cutforth.

“On the other hand, ultimately, if that doesn’t happen and the onus is on the county, then obviously the funding for the county would come out of general revenue,” he added.

Reeve McLauchlin pointed out the county took the same risk with the Calnash Ag Event Centre. “Every question you’re asking is the same conversation we had on this facility as well.

“Absolutely, but that’s a different deal,” said Weir. “It’s a totally different deal, and we’ll deal with that when we deal with that bylaw.”

Addressing Weir’s concerns, Cutforth aided council in amending the bylaw for the Agrim Centre’s loan to include a provision stating: should the municipality be required to pay principle or interest owning under this loan, it would come from general revenue.

During the vote to adopt the bylaw Weir was the only one opposed during the first and second readings. He voted in favour during the motion to move to third and final reading but again was opposed during third and final reading.

 

Just Posted

Remembrance Day Service held in Bentley

Message on sacrifices given

County of Wetaskiwin won’t allow rec cannabis in campsites

If you want to smoke marijuana, you’ll have to go in the camper

Rural crime task force results released at Agri-Trade luncheon

Report cites problems with police not being able to keep up with crime and justice system issues

Drunk driver with pot in the truck rear-ends tractor

Intoxicated driver ends up behind bars

WATCH: Close races see changes in winners at CFR Red Deer

Alberta cowboys well represented at Canada’s biggest pro rodeo finals

First Nation marks ‘milestone’ land deal at Alberta ceremony

Lubicon Lake First Nation Chief Billy-Joe Laboucan signed treaty last month

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

Supreme Court hears case on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

Currently, migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can only challenge detention through an immigration tribunal or a judicial review.

Canada Post issues new offer to employees as eBay calls on Ottawa to end strikes

Ebay is calling on the federal government to legislate an end to the Canada Post contract dispute, warning that quick action is needed to ensure retailers don’t lose out on critical Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

No G20 member has climate plan strong enough to meet Paris targets: report

Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies.

City of Wetaskiwin didn’t apply utility hikes to bills

Clerical financial error discovered by Wetaskiwin city council

Most Read