by Tristan Turner

New Recreation cost share plan may have County on the hook for $250K by 2020

A new recreation cost sharing plan approved by Council during their June 14 meeting would see Sturgeon County contribute towards the long-term operating costs of Morinville recreational facilities. The plan, which is offered to communities within Sturgeon County by County Council would see a contribution of $80,420 in 2016 and move each year upwards to $247,475 by 2020.

The plan was universally disliked by Council, who saw the County’s contribution to Morinville in comparison to other communities as being unreasonable. But Administration pointed out to Council the agreement with the County is a ‘take it or leave it’ deal.

Within the agreement, there is a clause that prevents the Town from charging Sturgeon County residents extra for the use of Town recreation facilities.

Good Neighbourhood program

Council has unanimously received a report for information on a program operated by Community Services that aims to get Morinvillians to get to know one another better. The Good Neighbourhood Program is a municipal initiative that creates opportunities to hold events and to build connections within smaller neighbourhoods that the Town claims will increase community safety and happiness.

Melonie Dziwenka, FCSS and Community Program Coordinator with the Town, presented the information to Council. She explained that the program would work to create community Block Party events and other community activities.

Council supports extension for Northern Gateway Pipeline

In a 5-1 vote, Council has decided to support a sunset clause extension for the Northern Gateway Pipeline project that would allow three more years for the project to begin in earnest. The change would increase timelines for the project from Dec. 31, 2016 until 2019.

The motion before Council was to send a letter of support for the change to the National Energy Board.

Council was in support of the motion to send the letter except for two members. Deputy Mayor Rob Ladouceur, who could not vote on or contribute to the debate, as he works for Enbridge. Ladouceur declared a pecuniary interest in the project.

Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald voted against the motion, noting that he does not support the project and has some major concerns about its viability going forward.

“It’s a little awkward to be asked my opinion on a national project like this, but I won’t be supporting the request,” he said. “We have a federal government who’s not on board with the project, and we have a municipality at the end of the line not in support of the project, and if Morinville were at the end of the line, I wouldn’t be in support of the project. I just think that if this project is going to happen, and it looks like it might, a lot of work needs to be done on the part of Northern Gateway, and we’re not seeing that yet. In terms of the benefits to Morinville, they’re not really clear exactly.”

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