The Rimbey Agricultural Society (RAS) announced in a press release on Jan. 27, that it had received notice from Ponoka County that funding support for the Rimbey Agrim Centre would come to an end as of March 31, 2022.
“The only thing constant in life is change,” said PAS president Jill Moore in the release. “The future of this funding has been a question mark in the minds of Rimbey Ag Society board directors for some time now, and with increasing fiscal pressures on counties across the province, it is understandable.”
Moore noted that support from Ponoka County was “instrumental” in the construction of the Rimbey Co-Operators Agrim Centre, which began in 2013.
She credits Ponoka County chief administrative officer Charlie Cutforth with securing capital for the building.
“This support will carry forward and benefit families in this community for many years to come, and is the foundation that has allowed the town of Rimbey to be the home of such a remarkable facility,” she said.
Moore said the PAS will focus on hosting events that draw people to Rimbey, building partnerships and being transparent to the community.
PAS will have ongoing meetings with the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, the Government of Alberta, and their accountant as well as working with other ag societies to promote growth as “just a few pieces of this puzzle.”
At their regular meeting on Jan. 11, Ponoka County councillors voted unanimously to formally advising the Rimbey Agrim Centre and the Ponoka Calnash Ag Event Centre that Ponoka County would be re-evaluating its monthly commitment to both centres.
It was also decided to commit to paying the manager’s wage and the consultant at the Rimbey Agrim Centre for 2022, but no commitment for 2023 would be made at this time. The motion carried with four in favour and one opposed.
Ponoka County Jan. 11 council briefs
Year-end development report
Council reviewed the year-end development report for 2021. The report showed an increase of 64 development permit applications, an increase of five rezoning applications and an increase of 18 subdivision applications.
RCMP/provincial police town hall meeting
Councillors Liddle, Matejka and Hartford had virtually attended the RCMP/Provincial Police town hall meeting. Reeve McLauchlin suggested that the provincial police discussion will become a reality If the UCP wins the next election.
The provincial government has promised that there would be no additional cost to the municipalities for this change. Some municipalities were seeing this as an opportunity to distance themselves from the federal government.
Unpaid taxes, seizure of assets
Reeve McLauchlin reported that legislation now allowed the county to seize assets for unpaid taxes, however, the Alberta Energy Regulator was restricting the seizure of oil/gas assets.
Ponoka FCSS, Ponoka Wheelchair Van Society update
The Ponoka Wheelchair Van Society will be requesting a contribution of $31,000 for 2022 with increases over the next few years. FCSS donated $22,000 to the Ponoka Library for programming purposes.
FCSS was currently amending the COVID protocol to allow staff to work with a negative PCR test rather than mandatory vaccination.
The Rimbey FCSS volunteer coordinator (IT person) has resigned due to other commitments. New homecare workers are not staying due to the COVID restrictions imposed by the Rimbey FCSS.
Calnash Ag Event Centre
Coun. Doug Weir requested that Ponoka County write a letter to the local MLA Ron Orr requesting that he lobby the provincial government to waive the wetland fees required to expand the parking lot.
National Tire Recycling
The National Tire Recycling (NTR) facility and the sub-lease payments being made on their behalf for the buffering machine and the shredder were discussed.
Cutforth advised that they are selling mulch, water tanks, mats, etc. The clean-up on the site is substantial with very little left on the county property. Almost all of the tires on the site have been buffed. There was very little shred left to sell.
It was noted that there is value in the steel embedded in the tires, but they would need to be run through a de-beader. The sidewalls would then be useful for road construction as base stabilization.
Administration will prepare a formal recommendation for council’s consideration at a future meeting.