by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent
Midstream Support Society members Linda Krauskopf and Joyce Preeper talked to the Morinville Lions Club Mar. 14 on working together to get a new building for the thrift store they operate in downtown Morinville.
The Society operates the Midstream Thrift Store (9922-101 Street) Monday to Friday and provides assistance for individuals and families in need. The Society looks after helping people to pay rent or damage deposits and has even bought tickets to get workers to Fort McMurray. Revenues from the Thrift Store assist those needs as well as school lunch programs, the Annual Santa Store, and Community Christmas Dinner.
With the downturn in the economy, those needs are growing, but the Society recently learned they will need to relocate.
“We have been advised that we have to leave the building we are in by the Town,” said Linda Krauskopf, President of the Midstream Support Society. “So we are going to be looking for grants and looking for partnerships.”
Krauskopf said she took over as President of the Midstream Support Society at the beginning of February this year and by the end of the month learned from David Schaefer, Morinville’s Director of Community and Protective Services that they had to be out by the end of December. Krauskopf said there is no reason for them to leave, but Schaefer is alleged to have said: “Oh well, the building might be condemned, so we want you out.”
Joyce Preeper told Lions Club members the society is not sure exactly where they stand (with the town). There is a meeting with Town Administration in June to see where things are at, and in the meantime Midstream is beginning their trail of seeing where, who and how they can form partnerships for themselves and with those in the same situation.
“I don’t like to wait and see what will happen next,” Krauskopf said of the need to put feelers out. “I like to go out and see who we can connect with … instead of waiting until the lease is up they tell us to move out.”
Preeper said former Mayor Paul Krauskopf was going to sign the lease papers with the Society for the building in 2013, but passed away a few days after they had the paperwork ready for him. Preeper said they met with the Town Manager right after, and she said she was going to look after it, even suggesting a couple of places she thought they might want to go.
More than two years later, the Society finds itself looking for a place. But as most of the people Midstream service do not have vehicles and cannot travel, the Society feels potential suitable locations will be limited. “So it has to be someplace downtown where they can walk to it,” Preeper said.
Finding a solution
Krauskopf says she believes Town Council feels there is value as far as what the Midstream provides to the community. The Society is hoping the Town can assist in finding a resolution.
Andrew Isbister, Morinville’s Interim CAO, said Midstream offers an important service to the Community, and that the Town wants to work with them.
“We want to ensure that it continues to operate in a facility that is suitable for its operations and safe for staff and volunteers operating the facility,” he said, adding while the Town has not completed a formal assessment of the building; they do know it is coming to the end of its serviceable life.
“We do know that the building was designed and built as a residence, although I understand it did house Alta Gas offices followed by the ambulance service for a number of years,” Isbister said. “Because it is now being used as a “commercial” operation, we are aware of a number of safety codes deficiencies. In addition, the building itself (which we understand was built in the 1940s) is now nearing the end of its useful life and was originally offered to Midstream as a temporary facility.”
Isbister confirmed a follow-up meeting would take place in two months “to discuss their future needs and to develop a future plan to deal with the facility.”
Although that might require Midstream vacating the current site, he committed to assisting them in finding a new location.
“Should Midstream be required to move – we have not indicated a hard date for them to vacate the current building – but [we] will work with them to find a suitable location that meets their needs,” Isbister said.
David Schaefer did not reply to a request for comment by our press deadline Friday.