Ponoka seniors oppose proposed four-storey condo in green space

Jim Hamilton looks over the preliminary design with seniors who came out to the public meeting on March 12. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)Jim Hamilton looks over the preliminary design with seniors who came out to the public meeting on March 12. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Photos by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)(Photos by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
(Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)

The majority of Ponoka seniors living nearby a proposed development are opposed to a four-storey condominium going up a stone’s throw from their backyards.

Potential developers Jim Hamilton (owner of Hamilton’s IGA) and Grant Jorgenson (owner and general manager of Calanah Builders Ltd.) revealed their preliminary plan for the 1.5 acre lot south of the drop-in centre at a public meeting March 12.

The meeting, which was attended by about 20 seniors, was held outside in the green space that was recently declared surplus by the town and which is now up for sale.

“We have endeavoured to minimize the impact on neighbouring properties in our preliminary design process and are hoping to share these plans with you in an informative way,” said Hamilton and Jorgenson in a signed letter of invitation to residents.

Hamilton and Jorgenson say they are “working to enhance our community through innovative and proactive projects.”

The partners approached town council in 2020 and presented their concept.

According to Hamilton, the town council gave him the right of first refusal on the lot when he built the IGA store in 1986, which means if the land was ever to come up for sale, his offer to purchase has to be considered first.

“If anyone was ever going to buy it, I’ve always had the option,” said Hamilton.

The development planned is a plus-55, four-storey seniors’ condominium and includes an access road and parking space.

“I believe there’s a real shortage (of housing) for seniors,” he said, adding seniors’ facilities in town have waiting lists.

“I’ve had quite a few customers I know that’ve left town, because they sold their house and wanted a place and couldn’t find anything in Ponoka.”

Lynn Shaver, who has lived on 44 Ave., directly south of the green space, for 23 years, is opposed to the proposed development.

Shaver and fellow area-resident Marjorie Feil went door-to-door dropping off information and speaking with their neighbours a couple of times recently.

Her main concerns are the size of the development and the blocking of the line of sight of surrounding homes.

“(I’d be) losing totally my privacy in my backyard, along with all the other people along here,” said Shaver.

She says if the proposed development was farther away from the homes, it may be manageable, but as it is, “it’s affecting everybody in this area.”

Shaver says all but two of the people they spoke to were against the proposed development.

Marty Schmidt, the developer of the original Heritage Park Estates by the vacant lot, has concerns about the proposed development.

Schmidt says he believes the original development permit included a continuation of the green space but he has been unable to find any records that confirm that.

After the units of Heritage Park Estates sold, he says a three-storey development was proposed on the empty lot by another developer in the 90s, which the residents opposed and was ultimately defeated.

The land, described as Block 1, Plan 862 1472, located at 5015 46 Ave., was previously declared as surplus land in accordance with the town’s Land Disposition Policy.

Feil asked council on Feb. 23 to reconsider declaring the lot as surplus, saying the local area residents enjoy the green space as it is and don’t want to see it developed. She also pointed out there is only one access point to the street.

Council decided later in the meeting during an in-camera session to go ahead with advertising that the town has received an offer on the property and will consider it at their March 23 regular council meeting.

READ MORE: Green space near Ponoka cenotaph may be sold by town

The sale price has been set at $225,000.

In Hamilton’s and Jorgenson’s present plans, the mature trees on the south of the lot would need to be removed, if the development went ahead.

The WWI cenotaph on the north end of the lot would also need to be moved.

The Ponoka Legion has been discussing a possible move or refurbishment of the cenotaph for about two years, says president Lee Arnold.

They hadn’t settled on a definitive spot for moving it, and should the development be approved, they will work with the developers, he says.

He added the cenotaph itself isn’t in too bad of shape, but the plaque to the east of it has sunk down and is becoming covered.

“The situation is, the whole thing needs to be re-worked,” said Arnold.

Ron Labrie, local wartime remembrance advocate and social studies teacher at Ponoka Secondary Campus, confirms that there are some errors with the existing cenotaph, such as spellings of names, or names of soldiers who perished from their wounds sometime after WWI ended.

He noted that such errors were common and some human error in records over time is inevitable.

The town put out a press release on March 3, informing residents of their intent to consider the offer and informing them of the opportunities to express their concerns.

Residents are invited to speak during the public forum portion of council’s regular meeting on March 23 at 6 p.m. via electronic means.Written comments can be also submitted by email.

“Once council has listened to and reviewed all submitted comments (spoken and written), it will give consideration at its March 23 meeting to making a decision on the offer to purchase the land in question,” states the release.

READ MORE: Letter: Save Heritage Park

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

HousingPonoka

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

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
A judge has found an Edmonton woman guilty of manslaughter in the death of her five-year-old daughter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of 5-year-old girl

The woman was charged and pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and assault with weapons, including a belt and a spatula

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 2,042 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Jason Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

‘It makes no sense for our neighbours and regional states to be sitting on doses that we cannot use,’ the premier said

Winfield 4-H Club. (Photo Submitted)
Winfield & District 4-H Beef Club News

The 4-H Club gives an update on how what the club has been up to this year

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)

Most Read