Editorial: Morinville through the eyes of youth

Had an interesting discussion with a Town of Morinville councillor last week during a chance encounter outside the post office. Mostly it was just two residents talking about the community we live in and our thoughts on it.
In the news business we often get to hear people’s opinions on what they think of the town, its mayor and council, and what the latter should be doing about the former.

With school out for summer, we thought it might be interesting to get some thoughts from one of the community’s youth. In a pure editorial act of nepotism, I selected my nephew, a young man who being almost 13 is not shy about his opinions.

He’s got no issue with the mayor or council. In fact he doesn’t have any idea who the mayor or any of the councillors are. He does recall he once saw a man cutting a ribbon at his school and suspects it might have been the mayor.

Like many people in Morinville, his assessment of the community lies almost entirely in what it provides or does not provide him. To that end, he likes that there is lots to do: the skate park, trail system, and events for young people all rank high, although he is a little put out that so many of the youth events are cancelled last minute due to lack of interest. He thinks there might be more interest in the youth events if they were more interesting. With all the sarcasm of a modern-day tween he sniffs at the idea of travelling anywhere in the community to do things he could do at home anytime.

He speaks highly of the schools he has attended here in the past four years – initially Notre Dame and more recently Georges H. Primeau. The people are all nice and the schools are close to his home. Like many students, he is thrilled by the number of Fridays he gets off from school.

When the topic turns towards Morinville’s drivers, something of particular concern to someone not yet old enough to get behind the wheel, the positive image of the community turns a little blue. We are simply not able to print in this publication what he would say to Morinville’s drivers if given the chance to speak to them en masse. Suffice it to say he’d like to see them put away their cell phones and ease back on the gas pedal a bit. Asked for a more family-friendly response to the question he said, “I’d tell them they need to go and retake their test.” He is troubled by the number of people who fail to yield when he and his friends are dismounted and crossing their bikes across the street. Like many who have crossed 642, he’s been almost clipped on more than one occasion. In general he thinks there is far too much speeding in the community on the side streets and main streets and is pleased to learn speeders get photo radar tickets. He thinks the fines should be higher.

If he was mayor, he would do something to prevent crime in the community, particularly the rash of break-ins to the youth centre. He’d also create more events for young people and their families and clean up the speeder / distracted driver mess.

Given the option to build any building in the community, he’d like to see a pool or a pool hall. He’s completely fine with his parents having to pay more property taxes to pay for it. But more than a swimming pool, he’d really like to see all the construction dirt piled up into a big pile so kids could go tobogganing during the long winter. He finds the ravine area where he sleds now to be inadequate. The hill is not long enough and the ravine debris is something he feels to be unsafe, particularly for the little kids.

Overall, this young man finds Morinville to be a good community where the people are friendly and nice, and where the streets are safe, youth centre break-ins notwithstanding.

He’d like to see mayor and council, whom he does not know, take a little greater interest in getting to know the youth in their community.


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