Morinville Council Briefs

by Tristan Turner

Trenchard family recognized

Council honoured former Morinville Sobeys franchise owner Stu Trenchard and his family with a Pride of Morinville Award in light of his recent announcement that he would be leaving the Morinville Sobeys to operate the St. Albert franchise. Trenchard took over operation of the Morinville store in the spring of 2011, and was respected by Mayor Holmes, who spoke about Trenchard saying “you embody what it is like to be community-minded”.

Reuse it or “Loose” it

Cynthia Wandler gave a brief presentation on the Reuse it or “Loose” it program, an event that she helped organize. The event gives residents of the town the opportunity to give away unwanted items to others who may have a use for the items in an attempt to divert unnecessary waste to the Roseridge Waste Management facility.

This year there was only one Reuse it or “Loose” it event while there were two last year. Councillor Rob Ladouceur asked Wandler if she felt that just one was enough for the town, to which she responded that two events per year would be more appropriate, with one in the spring and another in the fall.

Fire Department Retiree

Ken Thiemann, Deputy Chief of the Morinville Fire Department, was recognized by Council for his years of service to the community in light of a recent announcement that he would be retiring. Thiemann and many supporters from the local department accompanied him as he was honoured and celebrated by council.

Org Review Update

Council received an update on the Organizational Effectiveness and Efficiency Review from CAO Debbie Oyarzun noting that council would receive a presentation on Jan. 27 from the consultant working on the project.

South Business Commercial (Celtic Lands) ASP

Morinville could have a lot more businesses in town if a new proposed commercial development on the south part of 100 Street goes through.

Council was asked to give First Reading to Bylaw 16/2014 – Application R14-004 to adopt the South Business Commercial Area Structure Plan. The bylaw related to 15.72 hectares of undeveloped land at the southern end of 100 Street, a parcel of land that was divided by the realignment of 100 Street. As Alberta Transportation has control on the southwest section for a promised interchange, the ASP will deal with the northeast area from Cardiff Road to the edge of the existing industrial park.

The ASP calls for a phasing of the development, starting with a commercial / industrial component at the northern end of the property and working south with a series of corridor commercial opportunities for strip malls and box businesses.

The project also calls for a “linear landscape buffer, along with the drainage swale” to provide separation between the development and South Glens. There will, however, be a new road connecting South Glens to the new development as well as 100st along the north side of the current South Glens location.

Councillor Boutestien had concerns about the increased utility draw of these new developments, and wanted administration to make Council aware of potential new investments that would be needed as a result of future development, such as a new booster station. Claude Valcourt, Director of Public Works, assured Councillor Boutestein that this development would not require a booster station, but that new developments “south of the railroad tracks” beyond these along 100st may require a booster station.

Greg Hofmann, Director of Planning and Development, explained to Council much of what is contained in the ASP and told Council he believed the only elements in the ASP where the developer and the town could not reach an agreement where the landscape buffer and an issue related to stormwater drainage.

A public hearing is scheduled for Council’s Jan. 27 meeting, after which Second and Third Reading may be given to the ASP.

Water, Sewer and Waste Bylaws pass

Council gave Second and Third reading to three separate bylaws related to utilities at their meeting on Dec. 9: Sewer Rates Bylaw 23/2014, Water Rates Bylaw 24/2014, and Waste Management Bylaw 25/2014.

After the passage of these bylaws, residents can expect an average 3.12 per cent increase to their sewer bill. The average resident’s water bill is set to rise from $52.59 per month for water to $54.34, an increase of 3.33 per cent. On the sewer side, the rate is set to increase from $36.64 per month for the average user to $37.67 per month, an increase of 2.81 per cent.

The increases are part of Morinville’s cost recovery model for utilities that has been in place since 2005. This model factors in a Long-Term Investment Rate of 1.25 per cent, a Current Market Average Rate of 3.02 per cent, an Average Rate of Amortization of 1.46 per cent, and a Construction Price Index of 2.20 per cent. The combination of factors creates a need for a 4.11 per cent rate of return for the Town’s Sewer Utility. Based on the rates passed within the bylaw, the Town will achieve a surplus of $525,253. Similarly, a rate of return of 4.03 per cent is proposed for the water utility. Based on the proposed 2015 rates, a surplus of $955,552 would be created. The surpluses will be saved for future maintenance, replacements or upgrades to the system.

Additionally, the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission and Epcor Water services are both indicating they will have a price increase of 6.67 per cent in the New Year.

Councillor Ladouceur had concerns about a section in the bylaw that absolved the town of responsibility “for any accident due to the operation of the Municipality’s waterworks system.” Councillor Ladouceur called this language “harsh” and put forward an amendment to remove the section. Councillor Turner disagreed, saying that “a lot of what’s covered here is also reflected in the MGA [Municipal Governance Act], and this just basically states that again in the bylaw. I think its important to have a clause in here that does protect the municipality to some degree for things that happen that aren’t necessarily in our control.”

Ultimately the amendment failed 4-3 with Deputy Mayor Dafoe and Councillors Putnam and Ladouceur supporting the amendment.

No increase to waste fees

Though water and sewer are increasing, the Town is not planning to increase its solid waste fees.

Standstone Enviro-Waste Service Ltd., the Town’s private service provider, is planning to increase their fees by 2.2 per cent, and the Roseridge Waste Management Services Commission is increasing its current rate to $34 per tonne for 2015 for non-organics and retaining the rate of $32 for organics.

Morinville’s Director of Public Works Claude Valcourt said, based on current rates and an anticipated 2014 surplus of $70,000 in the solid waste management area, he believed town revenues were sufficient to meet the increased costs for 2015 without need to raise fees for residents.

However condominiums and apartment buildings renting metal bins will see an increase of 2.2 per cent based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

In the initial version of the Waste Management Bylaw, garbage pickup was moved from weekly to bi-weekly. This was discussed at Council’s last meeting, but it was deferred to be decided at the Dec. 9 meeting. While Mayor Holmes has said in the past that the Town wants to move towards bi-weekly pickup with new organics initiatives, Councillor Putnam put forward an amendment to keep pickup weekly. His motion passed unanimously.

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