Ponoka sets second meeting on contentious bylaw

Ponoka will hold another public meeting on May 7 for public input on its business hours bylaw.

Ponoka will hold another public meeting on May 7 for public input on its business hours bylaw.

Council gave the bylaw second reading at its meeting on Tuesday, accepting administration’s recommendation that the meeting be held.

An online survey on the issue on the town’s website from Feb. 27 to April 18 garnered 26 responses.

“We’re hearing lots from liquor store owners, exceptionally little from the public,” said town chief administrative officer Brad Watson.

Council also dropped provisions limiting pawn shop hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well as liquor deliveries ending at 10:30 p.m. Instead, deliveries to licensed activities would be allowed in accordance with provincial gaming and liquor commission legislation.

The bylaw to restrict liquor store sales and hotel liquor off-sales to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. passed first reading last November. It’s modelled on a Wetaskiwin bylaw that has been in effect since Jan. 1, 2010.

At a Jan. 15 public meeting, RCMP Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm of the Ponoka detachment said 2012 statistics showed the town’s drunk driving rate was 2.62 times the provincial rate of 450 per 100,000.

The May 7 meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Ponoka Kinsmen Centre.

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