Open house to look at the heart of Morinville

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Work is underway on a project that will determine how Morinville’s downtown will look and feel in the future. The Coeur de Morinville Area Structure Plan (ASP) project is presently underway and the Town of Morinville is holding an open house Thursday night to give residents and interested parties a first look at the first steps of that plan.

“It is an area structure plan so we want to adopt -through the bylaw process- a plan for the downtown area that will include details for Main Street,” said Tim Vrooman, a planner with the Town of Morinville, noting the plan will ultimately look at preservation of existing historic dwellings, adaptive use of buildings, filling in some of the vacant sites on 100 Avenue and 100 Street, and infill and redevelopment opportunities that would bring in some people to live in the area. “We want to bring in people into the downtown area so that it functions as a vibrant area and attracts the retail that we want to provide.”

Vrooman said the functional planning study of Highway 642, a separate project from the Coeur de Morinville Area Structure Plan, will tie into the ASP with respect to how traffic and pedestrian interfaces will work at the existing wide right of ways. “We’re going to try and make it more attractive, but make it function better and still functions for the needs of the province,” he said, noting that work seeks to find balance between 100 Avenue being both a main street and a provincial highway.

Residential part of plan

The heart of Morinville in the ASP is not restricted to 100 Avenue and 100 Street. It encompasses the blocks behind Morinville’s two main streets. The ASP seeks to deal also with those neighbourhoods located directly behind the two streets and how they should develop and evolve over time.

“We kind of based our boundary on the historic subdivisions that were done in the early 1900s,” Vrooman said. “We noticed in looking at when subdivisions were originally registered, quite a lot of work was done up until 1915, and then took a break until the Second World War and beyond.”

Vrooman said people attending Thursday’s open house will get a sense of the vision for the project and how public space will mix with residential and commercial space. One of the ASP directives is the plan to put developments up to the sidewalk to make a nice downtown area with walk-in shops and offices as many currently are.

To keep everything in relative visual harmony, Vrooman explained the ASP would have some architectural design standards, but not at the high level required for the block surrounding St. Jean Baptiste Church and the Notre Dame Apartments area. “Something that new construction would be respectful of the way existing heritage is,” Vrooman said.

The Town is hoping people will come out and see where the project is at and where it is heading. The open house takes place June 14 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre. The evening begins with a formal presentation on the ASP at 7:30 p.m., followed by an open discussion. Details on the project can be viewed at www.morinville.ca/coeur.

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5 Comments

  1. Sounds good, but two things tend to scare the hell out of me:

    1) Why does EVERYTHING have to be by the “by-law process”; and

    2) What’s it going to cost?

    Given the propensity of this Mayor and Council to spend like drunken sailors (and my apologies to the Royal Canadian Navy), I really believe that more than just a little caution should be exercised. We definitely do NOT need another fiasco like our “Town Hall and Public Library”!! (Speaking of which, did we ever find out exactly whose signature appears on the bottom of the authorization forms for all those nice cost overruns?)

    • Bylaws are how area structure plans are adopted by Council. The Municipal Government Act requires it to be so done.

    • Yes. There are multiple things going on at the CCC most nights. This will be just another case of that. I suspect this ASP open house will take place in one or more of the meeting rooms. That is where they usually take place.

  2. Thanks for your clarification Stepehen.

    Now, let’s have the Town answer THESE questions/concerns:

    1. What are the EXACT boundaries (by street name) proposed by this project?
    2. What is the estimated TOTAL cost of this project, including but not limited to:
    a. ALL contractor fees; and
    b. the ESTIMATED TOTAL cost to EACH business and/or property owner to conform to whatever “motif” is finally decided upon.
    3. Why is/was it considered necessary to hire yet ANOTHER contractor for THIS particular project? If the Town’s Planning and Development people are incapable of undertaking this type of project, perhaps we should replace the full-time cost of their presence, in favour of the part-time, as required cost of consultants. This Town’s unfortunate experience(s) with consultants, and its attendant propensity to spend our tax dollars like a bunch of drunken sailors, does NOT bode well for the success of this latest venture.

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