Photos by Lucie Roy
Morinville – Approximately 100 people attended an open house Thursday night on an area structure plan that will affect the downtown core and seeks to expand commercial opportunities for Morinville. The session, held at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre, included a presentation on the plan and a question and answer session on the same.
The focal point was 100 Avenue and 100 Street and the eventual plan to have Highway 642, a provincial roadway, transfer from Alberta Transportation to the Town of Morinville, a move that would remove a layer of regulations that developers currently have to go through to develop a property on 100 Avenue.
The evening presentation started with the definition of an ASP and what it is and is not, project boundaries, objectives and timelines, and the preferred outcome. Layout designs of Barrhead, Camrose, Stony Plain, Vermilion and Creston B.C. were shown for comparison, but none of the municipalities shown have a 4-lane Highway through town like Morinville does.
David Klippenstein of David Klippenstein and Associates said they will continue their search for a town similar to the situation Morinville has and see what elements can be adapted.
The project objectives covered implementing a heritage preservation policy and guideline, direction for in-fill where there are currently vacant lots downtown, re-development by removing old structures and replacing them with new construction, and mixed use developments, a development that would permit living units above a commercial shop.
The public realm, another word for public outdoor space and streetscape sparked ideas for the parks and business layouts, all highly visible and designed to bring people together.
Vicki Dodge, Project Planner for the Town of Morinville, said the ASP was not a quick fix and that changes could take anywhere from five to 35 years.
In response to a circular distributed to local business people, it was made clear the ASP was not a downtown revitalization plan or business improvement district plan. Simply put, the ASP would not tell or ask business owners to invest in streetscape improvements. The news was a relief for the many business owners in attendance who had learned otherwise from the flyer. Chamber of Commerce Manager Jaye Parrent said she had received phone calls this week expressing those concerns.