Breaking: Ponoka mayor calls news conference over poor treatment of municipalities

Town expressing its further disappointment with province over grant funding

More terse words have been sent in the direction of the provincial government as Ponoka Mayor Rick Bonnett is set to hold court with the media Friday.

Following up on the passage by town council of motions to withhold the education portion of the community’s property taxes beginning in January and calling for the release of federal infrastructure dollars, Bonnett is slated to hold a press conference at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex at 10 a.m.

READ MORE: Ponoka council approves holding back tax money from province

“We’re holding this news conference to express our extreme disappointment with the provincial government’s treatment of rural municipalities in its grant funding processes, specifically through its handling of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP),” Bonnett stated in a press release.

“As a small municipality, we can’t afford to use our annual MSI (Municipal Sustainability Initiative) funding to build a recreation facility. We rely on that money every year to repair our roads and underground water and sewer infrastructure. Without it, our infrastructure would fall apart.”

Also in the release, Bonnett noted the province was willing to financially support Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid, but not provide $4.5 million to Ponoka for a recreation facility that, “will be a vital economic driver.”

He added, “They appear to have shut the door on communication. We’re running out of options, which is why we have now

decided it’s time to consider taking more serious action.”

Province responds

In an emailed response from the provincial government to town council’s decision to withhold the taxes, the government focuses on the financial restraints it is currently facing while touting other Alberta municipalities efforts to build infrastructure.

“With the collapse of oil prices, we have heard from Albertans the need for fiscal restraint. There are many projects each year on the unfunded capital list—including schools, highway repairs, seniors lodges and affordable housing,” the email stated.

“The federal government has provided Alberta with a stream of funding where they will pay for 40 per cent of the cost of recreation facilities. Given our fiscal constraints, we don’t want to be leaving any federal dollars on the table. Using MSI as the provincial portion allows for these important recreation centres and other facilities, like the one the Town of Ponoka is proposing, to be built. This is what other municipalities like Beaumont are doing to move their sports and recreation centre forward.

“Alberta remains the most generous funder of municipalities of all provinces in Canada.”

Just Posted

Springbrook Community Skate park Committee receives $125,000 CFEP grant

Group is nearly 75% funded for the $635,000 Skate Park Facility

STARS launches 26th annual lottery worth over $4.5 million

Lottery raises money for new helicopters for Western Canada

Snowfall adds some delay to morning commute

The QE2 and area road conditions in central Alberta were partly snow covered

Legendary artist Amos Garrett heads to the City next month

Central Music Festival Society presents Garrett and Julian Kerr Feb. 9th at the Elks Lodge

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Environment Minister clarifies misconceptions in Bighorn proposal

Minister Shannon Phillips speaks to concerns around the Bighorn Country

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

In limbo: Leftover embryos challenge clinics, couples

Some are outright abandoned by people who quit paying storage fees and other couples struggle with tough decisions

Netflix rejects request to remove Lac-Megantic images from ‘Bird Box’

At least two shows on Netflix’s Canadian platform briefly use actual footage of the 2013 tragedy

Three Ponoka men and one youth charged in assault case

Police obtained a search warrant and located drugs and sawed-off shot gun

Most Read