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

Culture Days offers amazing variety Sept. 27 to 29

“Taste of Wetaskiwin” followed by “Connect 4”

Join Leduc singer/songwriter Julia Vos raising funds for youth shelter Fri to Sun

Mulhurst Bay’s singer/songwriter busking in Edmonton for Youth Emergency Shelter

Pipestone Creek Grouse Walk a success Aug. 24

Event hosts over 40 participants near Wetaskiwin

Beef barley soup with great cake idea for dessert

Zucchini Carrot Cake only takes about 40 mins in oven

Wetaskiwin Bantam Warriors get payback against Fort Mac

Wetaskiwin earns decisive 43 to 12 victory in week 2 action

Red Deer Rebels fall to Edmonton in home opener 4-2

Red Deer will play the second of a home and home on Sunday

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Iconic 90s TV show ‘Friends’ celebrates 25th anniversary

The iconic, decade-long television show aired its first episode 25 years ago today

Expert says acquittal of Alberta parents in boy’s death unlikely to set precedent

The Stephans testified they thought their son had croup and used herbal remedies to treat him

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Possible Canadian cases of vaping illnesses being investigated: health officer

‘I think that will be really important to address the overall trend of youth vaping’

Most Read