Candidate question – Week 2

Q: With Morinville being a young community in terms of median age, there is much talk about doing more for families and youth. What are your ideas for dealing with the needs of youth and their families?

Candidate Kevin Wedick

I feel that activities for youth are important for the continued growth of our community. The town has come a long way since I first moved here with the development of the walking trails and sports facilities such as our ball diamonds, skateboard park, fishing pond and splash park to name a few. One of the top requested items I continue to hear about is the building of a swimming pool for our residents. I can tell you that through my travels across Alberta many smaller communities support swimming pool facilities. This is something I would like to revisit taking into account the cost of maintaining such a facility and perhaps partnering up with Sturgeon County. From a cost stand point I would support an outdoor pool facility to be paired up with the existing splash park which would operate during the summer months. The pool and splash park could be operated with a small user fee as in other communities. This would also promote further employment opportunities for our youth. I feel that both young and old Morinville and Sturgeon County area residents would support such a facility which would also be a draw for prospective residents looking at our communities. If the pool is not viable then perhaps the adjacent lake on the west side of town could be developed with a beach and swimming area with our Sturgeon neighbours. Again I know over the years our military divers trained in the lake so the water quality could be improved for a swimming facility such as what now exists at Hawrelak Park and other subdivisions in the Edmonton area.

Another recreational proposal I have heard tossed around is a BMX bike track which could be located in the vicinity of the skateboard park. Again this would provide a great area for our youth to exercise and socialize in conjunction with the skateboard park. The third requested facility from area youth is a local movie theatre. Again this may be a future business venture as our population continues to grow but in the interim I support the current council with the continued theatre and movie nights for youth being held at our new Cultural Centre.

Candidate Jim O’Brien

As a card-carrying member of the International Order of Retired Old Farts (yeah… it’s real – Google it!), and having no children living at home, I feel I’m at a distinct disadvantage with this question. However…

First of all, when we speak of youth, exactly what age group, if any in particular, are we attempting to define? Obviously each faction has very different and very specific needs and desires. Until we delineate the target group (or groups) it’s going to be very difficult to move on. There is already a pretty healthy whack of things for kids to become involved with, especially if they’re into sports, but for a large number of young folks who aren’t that way inclined, we’ve got a problem.

Secondly, I firmly believe that we (and here I mean the general public) have got to start showing a little more faith and trust in the younger generation. Why not let them (the youth) tell us (the old folks) what they would like to see?

To my mind, this idea must be picked up and acted on by the existing Community Services component of Morinville’s Town Administration. I would issue a challenge to our High School students, whether they attend MCHS or a school located outside the boundaries of Morinville. Quite simply, under the auspices of either the school or Community Services, I would have the High School students look back to their younger years, define what they would most like to have seen in this (or any other) community, and design a three- or four-question survey which would then be given to the elementary and middle-school children to fill out. I think the key to the success of this would be very limited, if any, parental involvement at this stage. Once we determine both our target age group and what those kids want, we should be on our way. Simplistic? Perhaps so, but the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle is quite often the way to go.

Next, and I’m not sure how our present efforts in this regard are being directed, in this week’s paper I note the small advertisement talking about the Sturgeon County Youth Council. Not really one to ‘re-invent the wheel’, and if this has not already been done, I would have our Community Services folks talk to the coordinators of that program to determine if we might want to come up with something similar.

Finally, I know that the swimming pool issue has come up (and been shot down) more than once. However, I’m not sure if those discussions centred on an all-singing, all-dancing megaplex facility or something a little less ostentatious. I would propose revisiting the swimming pool topic and examine the concept (and cost!) of an outdoor pool only. Many communities even smaller than Morinville seem to be able to afford both the capital and on-going operational costs of an outdoor pool. I reckon if we can afford a Community Cultural Centre, a small outdoor pool shouldn’t be too difficult.

Candidate Joseph Trapani

Morinville’s average age is 33. That means that their children are young and want and deserve services and activities to make their stay here an enjoyable experience.

We need to start listening to our youth and get them more involved on what they believe are their needs. We presently have a Youth Group in Morinville, however, are we using their ideas and knowledge to help us see what they want or would like to see in Morinville?
Our youth are bored because they have nothing to do (at least that what out there).

They need a place to meet, to do their thing, without adults looking over them. Furthermore; it needs to be a safe place, with stuff to do; from games to pool tables and/or just a place to watch a movie of their choosing. I am talking here about the 18–24 age group as they are still considered youth under law.

How about our 13–17 year of age? They also need a place to do their stuff; however, they should not be with the older youth as they have different ideas and outlooks on life. We know they are into video games and sharing ideas on how to do their homework with as little effort as possible. This place should also be in a safe environment, with just one adult to oversee the place and not to be there as the boss. They have enough of this at home; they need a place to express their feelings to their peers without being attacked by someone of authority.

Age 5–12; at this age they are at a stage that they want to explore the world however; just can’t do it without their parent. This means we need locations that parents can take their children to and do stuff together. I believe we need more activities, like more summer and winter camps, additional children programs and activities from our great library.

We already have in this wonderful community lots of activities for both youth and parents, just to name a few: parks, arena, library, girl guides, curling, karate, youth darts, scouts, youth in action, ball diamonds, skateboarding, tennis, soccer, walking trail, cadets, water park and so on.

Here is my concern about these facilities/activities; they are not being used to their full potential. Then I am thinking that these great facilities and activities that we presently have are not what most of our youth and their family want. So now we need to be talking to them and finding out what they would like, and in some cases want, and then can the question is can we make it happen.
Remember we can ask for the world but if we are not going to use it or afford it, then the discussion was not a fruitful one.

Candidate Sheldon Fingler

Having been born and raised in Morinville I am certainly aware of what Morinville has to offer for youth and families. That is exactly why I chose to raise a family here myself.

I have three young children and enjoy what our community has to offer and would love to see our success expanded on. Morinville’s Community Service department has a variety of excellent programs that are made available to everyone here. Our family has taken advantage of some of these programs over the past few years. We also have great parks, proximity to family fishing lakes, a splash park, baseball diamonds, an arena, outdoor exercise equipment and a curling rink to name just a few options available.

The needs of youth and family are very important to me. My goal and vision would be to expand on our success and drive forward with new ideas. I believe the ideas should be community driven. It’s not my town it’s your town.

I know that my kids love Morinville. I hope that as they grow with our community they see the value of what we already have.

I do hope to see a swimming pool. I know there’s lots of costs associated and it’s a huge undertaking that is always being reviewed to see if it’s feasible.

I believe we need to focus on the family. Morinville is the family choice.

I believe we need to provide more opportunities for children and young adults.

I believe we need a strong focused youth worker to be a part of our community.

Every family and young member of our community has different needs and wants. If elected I promise to do my best to understand the needs put forward and do everything possible to assist in making it a reality.

When I made the decision to run for this election my family was my first thought. If I can help make Morinville a better place for your family then I would consider my term a success.

I know my children Benn, Carter and Katie love Morinville today. Let’s hope we can work together to make them all love it more.

Candidate Jackie Luker

With Morinville being a young community in terms of median age, there is much talk about doing more for families and youth. What are your ideas for dealing with the needs of youth and their families?

I believe community services and programs are vital to small towns like Morinville. My family are active participants in many of the programs and events offered by the town.

My belief in the importance of such programming has led me to teach the Learn to Skate program for the past 4 years. As far as Iʼm concerned you can always have more programming for your community members. By providing several options for all age groups you give participants the opportunity to get out into the community, learn new things, try new activities and meet new people. If you want your community members to feel connected to their town they have to be part of it by being involved either as a participant or volunteer. Programs and events such as those that the Cultural Centre support bring people together in a positive way. Morinville currently provides a number of great active based programs as well as educational and skill oriented training. There are also many groups or clubs within Morinville that also provide programming like Scouts, Cadets, Art Club, Toastmasters, Roadrunners Basketball, and the Yellowrock Dancers, just to name a few. As for facilities, yes, Morinville would definitely benefit from the development of new recreational spaces. Reading through the Town of Morinville Recreation Parks and Open Spaces Master Plan 2011 – 2021 it becomes very clear that the town has developed a comprehensive plan for future facilities. Their ideas include some major recreation development, new playgrounds, sports fields as well as upgrades to current spaces we use. I found the document online on the town’s website.

As you can see I am a very strong advocate of town programming I believe in it 100%.

Candidate Bonnie Moerike

Candidate Moerike did not respond to our request by our deadline.

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1 Comment

  1. The one thing I would caution anyone about building a pool, be it indoor or outdoor, is that you need the critical mass of people to support it. In fact, I would argue that a pool would likely be another resource that would be under-utilized for the dollars spent on it.

    As I noted in a previous editorial comment, the problem with building infrastructure (as well as the additional salaried positions to support it) is that the people who are the cause of the various crimes are likely not the same people who would be using such facilities. For example, there are not many swim programs that occur between 12-5 am. Unless we exhaust the potential offenders before 11 pm, I would argue that building a pool would only give such people something else to vandalize!

    No, I believe that a review and boost of our existing programs, maybe the addition of a few activities with low cost and high yield, as well as community vigilance, are what’s required. I have lived in communities much smaller than Morinville that were not even close to cities such as Edmonton and St Albert and they had nowhere near the problems that we experienced this summer.

    So what can we do to fix the old programs or what new ones need to be added? Give me a solid answer to that question and I’ll vote for you.

    Brent

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