The town of Ponoka has recently rescinded its motion to withhold the education tax from the province. The motion was meant as a bluff to the Albertan provincial government to gain Ponoka and surrounding rural municipalities some attention and the funding necessary to complete community projects.
“We were never one hundred percent going to follow through with the whole thing. The whole idea of doing this was to raise attention to the smaller and rural communities that are not really paid attention to by our provincial government,” explained Mayor Rick Bonnett of Ponoka.
The council of Ponoka has been planning to build a new field house but require government funding for it to be accomplished.
After seeing money being poured into urban transit in Calgary and Edmonton areas and the 700 million dollar offer to Calgary for the Winter Olympics, the council of Ponoka and surrounding municipalities decided to take action.
“The Infrastructure Canada Plan has been signed by the provincial government and they’re not really following through on all of their aspects of it and we wanted to raise concerns with that and show that rural Alberta does matter.”
Although the Ponoka council had to rescind the motion or else they wouldn’t receive their granting, Bonnett noted that the bluff certainly gained some much-needed awareness.
“It definitely brought attention to our government, the provincial government and our local organizations that are doing lobbying on our behalf to show that we’re not being adhered to out in rural areas away from the big cities. We are concerned; we are standing up, and starting to take some action.”
Heading forward, Ponoka and surrounding municipalities will be pushing hard to raise the issue for election season.
“We’re going to make sure that the government does know that the smaller communities in Alberta are the heart and soul where our economy is driven. The cities are always the bastions of where everyone wants to go for the big stuff but rural Alberta is where our grain comes from, where the oil comes from, and we’re a big part of this economy,” confirms Bonnett.
The Ponoka council is not ready to give up on their field house just yet, and Bonnett is confident that by the time election season hits Alberta that the issue will weigh heavily on the minds of rural voters and election candidates.