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

Big Valley Bustout Rodeo, a must-see event

Cowboys and cowgirls spur up July 26th, 27th

Eleventh Annual Battle River Ride for STARS flies past goals

There is also a STARS ride near Rumsey in late summer every year

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Maskwacis RCMP investigate deaths of two children

The RCMP can confirm that these children were siblings

Coronation RCMP encouraging residents to join the #9PMRoutine

It’s 9 p.m. Are you locked up and secure for the night?

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Most Read