Ask-A-Candidate Question 18

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QUESTION ADDRESSED TO MORINVILLE COUNCIL AND MAYORAL INCUMBANTS

The Town of Morinville has an asset most towns would be proud to exploit. Many years ago the province turned over the area and lake known to us old folks as “man – made”. You have taken no action in using this resource to increase tourism to our town.

We have an operator of the RV Park with a sweet heart of a lease on this valuable community resource. They only use 1/4 of this area and the rest goes to waste. We could do so much with this area. i.e: Beach area, camp cook houses, full camping area, local store run by the town youth for fun raising, Good Sam Club jamborees, Scout Jamborees, Outdoor concerts, the list is practically endless. Yet here it sits.

Are we making so much money on this lease you feel that’s good enough?

How much is good enough?

Here’s a forward thinking idea. We phone over to Sturgeon County and order a few thousand trees from the shelter belt program. We borrow a tree planter from them and plant the area to capacity. The province feeds the pond with trout, so we don’t have that cost. We gravel a few hundred spots and provide camping and a community fire pit area for large gatherings.

The draw from this resource adds to the wealth of our community.

I had the opportunity to drive around Camrose this summer. WOW! This is a small town worth noting how things get done. We could be this innovative if you folks just realized we don’t have to have the best in everything. Sometimes great things get built when we have the will. The best will come later.

Our town was built with hard backbreaking labour and the will to succeed. Our past politicians “our forefathers” were not concerned with the trappings of the office or even the title. They did not need to be piped in to the chamber or have a catered meal provided for them. They served the people and were damn proud to do so.

So folks, with these thoughts in mind.

What is the benefit on the present lease on the RV Park?

For how long is this lease in place?

Was this placed out for tender? When?

How much in monetary terms? You all know the dollar figure. Just round it off.

We need to be proactive now in the promotion of our town. New ideas no matter how strange they may seem, are to be embraced. Our main street is an utter disgrace, empty buildings, vacant lots, parking lots filled with discarded building supplies. We need to shape up and make our town proud again. You are elected to represent the people. Make us proud of you again. We love this town, it is our home. We want our kids to raise their families here. We want to walk down the street filled with pride. You are not the elite, you represent the elite, the heart beat of our town. The people!

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5 Comments

  1. PLEASE NOTE – Only Candidates may post comments to this posting. Morinvillenews.com welcomes reader comments on our articles, but we wish to keep these particular segments open for candidates alone so that readers do not have to separate who is and is not vying for their vote.

  2. Good morning What a great number of suggestions to further develop a community amenity and an opportunity to create additional tourist traffic to our community. You may have noticed this fall that the Town is indeed working on further developing the campground. The large clay hill that was at the East end of the existing campground was removed to clear the way for additional camping spots.

    I will be sure to pass along the great number of other suggestions as far as the trees and holding community events at man made lake to the Director of Public Works and to the Director of Community Services through our CAO.

    As far as knowing the details of the lease agreement. I do not have the agreement in hand and do not know what the approximate value of that contract or what the length of it may be. The Town has an approximate $18 million budget and while I will not speak for the councillors, for me to recall the details of all the revenue streams in a budget of that magnitude is unrealistic. The details you are looking for are available in our annual financial statements. I encourage you to stop by the Town Office and pick up a copy of these public documents.

    As far as your comments about the “elite”. Please see my comments on Ask a Candidate question number 17.

    Lloyd

  3. My name is Lucie Roy. From the public archives I can provide you with some background information. There is an attachment to this email which I do not know if it can be placed on morinvillenews.com for you to see.Please note the archives have two different spellings- Sewchuk and Shewchuk.
    The first documents appear in February 1995. The town had gone over a contract submitted by the Alberta government approx. Feb. 12, 1995.The Alberta Environment had pulled all support for Heritage Lake Park, located just west of town. The Town showed interest in the site but was not ready to sign a deal.
    The second document appears in April 1995 with an ad in the paper which starts, ” Town of Morinville invites Expressions of Interest for the Management of Heritage Park Provincial Recreation Area,located west of overpass for Hwy 2 and Secondary Hwy 642, directly west of the town of Morinville. The area of the park is 22.437 hectares(55.44 acres) and is made up by what is known locally as Heritage Lake, excepting thereout, 0.637 hectares(1.57 acres) more or less, for a surveyed roadway. The facility currently has 4 pit toilets and dispensers, 1 picnic shelter,1 handpump and pad, 14 picnic tables, 16 stoves and 20 garbage receptacles . This property must operate as a recreation area for the benefit of the public. The Town of Morinville will examine any proposals that has a private operator generating revenue from site operations of the recreation area.Submissions were to be sent to Sheila McDonald, Director, Economic Development by May 5, 1995.” (attached).
    The third reference in archives mentions that the Morinville campsite would be run by lease operator.Town council agreed at a meeting to formalize an agreement with Alberta Environment Protection which transfers the land to the town. Under the agreement, the land would revert to the province if it is no longer used for recreation. The property was previously owned by Alberta transportation, but was subsequently transferred to Environment. The province wanted to divest itself from responsibility and maintenance.The land had been used informally for recreation. Two years ago it reads, tenders were called for to operate the site as a campground and recreational area.Shewchuk was elected as lease operator and an agreement was being negotiated with Sheila McDonald.Until then the town maintained the land and people had used it to camp for free.
    May 26, 1997- RV a Bonus for Morinville. This is where the “sweet heart of a lease” you refer to comes into being- For just $1.00 (yes- one dollar) Dwayne Sewchuk leases land surrounding Heritage Lakes and operates an RV park there.Quote from archives reads: ” I have a 10 year contract that’s renewable at either mine or the town’s option,” said Sewchuk. The town got an RV park, a clean campsite and Sewchuk gets a business.it was a win win situation- The town got the benefits of an RV park without any capital investment.it was suggested it be used for the Morinville Stampede and baseball tournament season. It goes on to mention that the County of Parkland operated the campsite around the lake before handing control over to Morinville- and it had 56 sites with both water and power available for a moderate fee.

    I want to mention that in the draft of the 2010 Community Consultation Towards a Municipal Sustainability Plan- (available on town website) on page XXV under the Environmental Strategic objectives 2 one of the goals is to review the potential for the development of a wildlife conservation or science centre- but this was meant for Heritage Pond, or more commonly referred to as the Fish & Game pond.There is also reference to develop a cooperative venture with he county for improvements and beautification efforts around Heritage Lakes.

    So this does not answer all your questions but provides a bit of background- where are we today- what lease is in place- this last one would of expired in 2006 or 2007, depending on when the contract was started.This allows others to know a bit of the history of your question.
    The Heritage Lakes could have a center that can be used by Junior Forest Wardens, cadets for outings, camping for Guides, possibilities are endless.It could be a nice 100th anniversary gift to the town, and tourists to the area.

  4. Thank you for the questions and your concerns.

    This is not only an RV Park question, but a question on how we as the new Council will approach the issues of this town beautification and toward tourism.

    I do not want to get into the agreement/discussion on who had or had not received a great deal (as I am not aware of all the fact on this issue). However; we are all aware that lots of agreements in this town were done on a paper napkin (figure of speech) in the past. This will cease as your new Mayor.

    Recreation, Recreation, Recreation. The question is do we need more? Yes! Do we need to improve what we have? Yes! So how are we going to go about this? Well, lets check on what we have and how to make it more feasible and usable for the general community.

    Trail: We need to expand it, place activities on it (such as exercise equipment) so our runners and walkers can enjoy their leisure time.

    Arena/Curling Club. We need a twin arena and a larger curling club. Our present building had many bandage solution in the past many years, it is time to start to build a new one.

    RV Park/Ball Diamonds: We have lot of tournaments in Morinville, however very little places to stay. We need to work with our RV business, by such starting with a simple question what is your present demand for the facility and do we need more (stalls, etc). Then since we own the property and are willing to work together, we can improve and build on what we have.

    The town has lots of soft services, however we need more such as; an Indoor Soccer facility, modern Youth Centre, Larger Library, and yes a pool.

    Let me talk a little on Tourism. Tourism is define as people coming to a town to do something (play sports, shop, etc) or see something (being a person or a thing). Most people think that Morinville only has the Catholic Church, sorry you are wrong. Here is a list of some of the things you can see and do in Morinville and have a great time doing so.

    See: St. Jean Baptiste Church, the Tableaus in the St. Jean Baptiste Park, the Museum, the Library and Vintage Petals Tea House such to name a few.

    Do: Assortment of sports (hockey, baseball, softball and so on), Splash Park, Skateboard Park, walk our Trail, how about our assorted year round festivals, such to name a few.

    In doing the above you will enjoy the French, German and First Nation culture that is being offered.

    We need to advise everyone that we are the place to visit for a day or for a week.

    To answer your question on Power.

    I agree with you that Council should not be the Power of All; we have a job to do (if you believe that you are doing this for the money and prestige, you are in for the wrong reason). However; we need to do what is good for the community with the community input and within the law of the land.

    Thank you

  5. I called Travel Alberta and they were not aware of the lake. If the tourism marketing group of the Government of Alberta doesn’t have the information we have a marketing problem!

    We need to work with the facility operator to ensure the marketing message on this valuable asset gets to the target market. This appplies to all of the recreation and tourism assets we have in Town and the region. Rather than re-inventing the wheel we should work closer with St. Albert and the Sturgeon County communities on tourism co-promotion.

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