by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
“We have a school site.” The final words from Mayor Holmes after resolving months of uncertainty on the future of public schooling in Morinville. The declaration followed unanimous votes on three bylaws that allow for a new school site to go ahead that is supported by the Province, School Board and Town.
The new public middle school will be located in a residential area with claimed adequate access to parking and growth for the school. The new site is at the south-east corner of town, between East Boundary Road and Grandin Drive. The area of town, Grandin Heights, will see a major development of residential properties in the indeterminate future.
The location was made possible by the donation of land by the landowner and developer TAG Developments, with EDS Environmental Design employee Dr. John Buchko being responsible for working with the Town to negotiate these changes to their Area Structure Plan.
Buchko said there would not be a problem of getting adequate servicing so the school could be built before the rest of the development, as it is already adjacent to currently serviced lots.
Before the June 28 motions were passed, they were subject to a public hearing to which any resident could bring up concerns or support. The only presenters were Bushko overviewing the project, as well as Simon Boersma, President of the Morinville Chamber of Commerce.
Bushko presented about the broader changes in the project besides the school, explaining that this suburban residential neighbourhood would feature sidewalks separated from the roadway by landscaping, behind lot walking trails, and space for community gardens and other amenities.
Boersma, who is also the co-owner of manufactured home company Pleasant Homes, brought forward concerns about the removal of a manufactured home park that was originally in the ASP. Town Administration and Bushko both commented that the park was removed in favour of more traditional houses and multifamily units in response to market demands.
After the public hearing, Council swiftly and unanimously passed second and third reading of multiple motions that are necessary to move forward with the new school site location for Sturgeon School Division’s middle.
Sturgeon School Division Trustee Misty Featherly and a few parents were on hand for the hearing and subsequent readings.
There was a round of congratulations from Mayor and Council to Town administration on working to get this project pushed forward on tight timelines. Councilor Putnam commented, “I wanted to thank you [Greg Hoffman, Director of Planning and Development] for the work you have put into this huge project.”
As for when the school will be completed, that is now a matter for Alberta Infrastructure and Alberta Education to work out. As always, we will keep our readers informed of any updates to the projects timelines.