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Ponoka RCMP present fourth quarter stats to county council

July 12 Ponoka County council meeting briefs

The Ponoka RCMP reported a recent drop in property crimes during their quarterly update to Ponoka County council on July 12.

Staff Sgt. Chris Smiley and Sgt. Erin St-Cyr attended the meeting to present the fourth quarter statistics.

St-Cyr reviewed the priorities that the Ponoka RCMP are following in accordance with public feedback.

Property crimes had seen a reduction since the previous report.

They have three new members joining the detachment in the next few months which will bring them back to a full complement less one general investigation position.

Smiley updated council on the recent Ponoka Stampede.

The sheriffs are no longer an integrated unit with the Ponoka RCMP but they still partner in joint force operations, including the Ponoka Stampede.

They still worked well together but were discovering some communication challenges.

Council voted unanimously to lobby the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Tyler Shandro to have the two units on the same communication system to better serve the public.

The Ponoka RCMP had proposed enhanced shifts for the papal visit to Maskwacis on July 25. Major preparations were underway to ensure public safety.

PAECS update

Coun. Doug Weir advised that a portion of the Berg property recently purchased by the Ponoka Ag Events Centre Society has been rented as a staging area for oilfield vehicles on a temporary basis.

PasKaPoo Park, Rimbey

Coun. Nancy Hartford advised that the roof on the arch-rib museum at PasKaPoo Park had been completed. They had lost the general store museum to an arsonist recently.

Rural Crimewatch associations

Rural Crimewatch associations were struggling to maintain memberships. The Rimbey group was considering joining with the Red Deer/Lacombe Crimewatch.

Coun. Bryce Liddle noted that interest in the Ponoka Crimewatch was also waning. It appeared that local group social media platforms were being utilized more effectively.

Senior’s Home Care regionalization

Rimoka would be sending a letter of support to the Rimbey and Ponoka Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) regarding regionalization of senior’s Home Care. Each FCSS would be submitting its own bid for prequalification for Home Care services.

Menaik overpass groundbreaking

Coun. Mark Matejka advised that he had attended the Samson Management groundbreaking ceremony at the Menaik overpass.

Volunteer firefighters as medical first responders

Council reviewed correspondence from the Minister of Health regarding the County’s concerns about the use of volunteer firefighters as first responders acting as emergency medical technicians while waiting for ambulance attendance at call outs. Reeve McLauchlin would update Council in the fall regarding the outcome of this.

AER, unpaid oil and gas taxes

Reeve Paul McLauchlin advised that the Alberta Energy Regulator was not accepting responsibility for the unpaid oil and gas taxes that many municipalities were encountering. This matter would be further considered at the fall Rural Municipalities of Alberta convention.

Highway 53/Reid Road

Chief administrative officer Charlie Cutforth advised that the tenders for the intersection treatment required by Alberta Transportation at the Highway 53/Reid Road (RR 260) intersection had come in considerably higher than originally estimated at $1,042,000.

Currently, Alberta Transportation had agreed to fund $450,000 of the project with the town and county sharing the remaining $450,000 of the original budgeted estimate. Council agreed to proceed with the project and the county will pay the additional cost.

Retirement of CAO

Cutforth presented a letter of pending retirement as chief administrative officer, effective June 30, 2023.