The Town of Ponoka is expressing their thanks to everyone who helped with providing shelter, food, and home town hospitality to those who were stranded on Highway 2 last weekend on Saturday, November 5.
“Ponoka is a kind and caring community and those qualities really stood out as our community quickly sprang into action in response to the accidents on the highway on Saturday that left dozens of travellers stranded,” said Town of Ponoka Chief Administrative Officer Sandra Lund.
The Town worked closely with its community partners to set up a reception centre on Saturday at the Calnash Ag Event Centre to provide a safe and warm place for the stranded travellers to stay for the evening.
“Our community members have such huge hearts and I was honoured to work side-by-side with them this weekend, along with our Mayor and members of Town Council, to offer help to those who needed it,” said Lund, adding, “I can’t thank our residents, our businesses and our community partners enough for their immediate outpouring of generosity and kindness to the travellers who needed our assistance this weekend.”
Lund notes that providing an emergency response when there’s a situation that requires it is part of the Town’s responsibilities under its municipal Emergency Management Plan and the Ponoka Regional Emergency Plan.
A total of 77 people registered at the reception centre at the Ag Event Centre on Saturday. Nine people spent the night, in addition to 25 hockey players and their coaches who stayed overnight at the Centennial Centre.
“The first responders who were on the scene on Highway 2 were outstanding,” said Lund.
She noted that they made arrangements for the stranded travellers to be reunited with their vehicles, which included towing vehicles that were still drivable to their owners at the Calnash Ag Event Centre, or shuttling stranded travellers back to their vehicles on the highway once it was safe to do so.
“Our Mayor even drove one of the travellers to Wetaskiwin the next morning to be with their family,” said Lund. “It was a heartwarming weekend and I’m so proud of our whole community and its willingness to quickly step up and help out when there is a need.”