Letter: If you build it, the will come…

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If You Build It, They Will Come
But We Have More Questions and Need More Time

I just want to say thank you to our Town Administration and Councillors for their continued effort on April 28 in getting information out to the public in regards to a Regional Recreation Facility. I know that the citizens of Morinville are interested in this topic, and are getting even more interested, as I am involved in, or hear discussions regularly around town as well as read the comments on different social media sites.

I must admit I was disappointed about two things at the April 28th Open House. The first being that more people didn’t come out to hear what Council had to say. Council needs to see us, not just hear us to understand that we really do care about this decision. I know very well how busy we all are and sometimes it just won’t fit into the calendar and for this very reason alone there needs to be more public meetings. Secondly, this wasn’t an open forum in which to ask questions publicly.

My greatest concern about this whole process is the misinformation that is still floating around, causing individuals to get worked up or bent out of shape about something that isn’t even true.

There are concerned members of our community speaking one-on-one with our Councillors and Mayor about a Regional Recreation Facility, which is great. But this just adds to the rumour mill because one person has information and others don’t. It seems in politics, there is a level of mistrust and perceived deception which unfortunately means that politicians are guilty until proven innocent. The best way to prove innocence is by open, honest communication. By laying all the information out for everyone to see, showing there is nothing to hide. An open forum with the opportunity to ask questions publicly, a public question and answer section as a regular part of Council meetings, and letters in the paper all provide a public platform for everyone to get answers to questions; not just those who have a private audience with the Mayor or Council members.

This is truly one of the biggest decisions affecting forward growth and development that Morinville has ever had. A facility located in the right area would allow for hotels, businesses, schools, and residential expansion. I’ve seen time lapse pictures of the Tri-Leisure Center in Spruce Grove showing the development around that facility over just a short period of time. It seems to me that is something to strive for around our community.

As I stated, the last public meeting was good to have but I still walked away with some questions, as I am sure others did. Is it possible that Morinville could build a new arena within town limits and then also be part of a Regional Recreation Facility somewhere in Sturgeon County? Is there a consideration for buying a large piece of land to allow for growth while also incorporating the two school districts that are looking at building new schools? Imagine the active learning opportunities for all the children in our town and region if their schools were attached to a Regional Recreation Facility. My teacher senses go berserk just thinking about that!! Is it possible to Band-Aid the arena and curling rink for another couple of years while a regional facility is being developed?

If the immediate need for a new arena is driving this train forward then I would really like to see the numbers and paper work to back up the need for such a quick decision.

I am all about hockey, my whole family is involved right here in Morinville, but a rush to have a new arena at the sake of a Multi-Use Regional Recreation Facility just does not make sense to me. Yes, Council has to set a date for a new arena but better to step away from a date than a whole new building that will only service the needs of 6 per cent of our population!

It can’t be a project that has a new building added every five years; it needs to be something that goes in all at once with many partners involved. There are successful models out there in the world. We need to find them and follow their lead.

I believe in our Mayor, Council and Administration and maybe I’m naive in doing so. But I just cannot imagine that they would make a decision that could have such a profound effect on our town, county and region without fully considering absolutely every possibility to make a Multi-Use Regional Recreation Facility happen.

So let’s work together and make this a reality, we are limited only by our imaginations.

Let’s be creative and think outside the box.

Thank you,
Jackie Luker
Morinville Resident

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