Editorial: The changing face of downtown Morinville

There is a bit of synchronicity in the Town of Morinville holding an open house on two plans that will affect development in downtown Morinville. One seeks to ease the restrictions put upon us by the province; the other to establish some structure to development that will ensure the downtown’s historical properties are preserved.

The synchronicity exists in the fact that at the very same time the town is looking at the changing face of downtown, our historic St. Jean Baptiste Church is in danger of losing its steeple, something that would seriously change the face of downtown Morinville.

The tallest and most prominent structure in this community, a towering and ornate representation of this community’s history, is facing dismantling if funds can not be found to restore it. Half a million dollars are needed to do the work needed to preserve it, and we as a community would lose a beautiful piece of architecture that tourists travel to see and through which we can all travel back along roads that go back more than a century.

The St. Jean Baptiste Parish have been raising funds and have already done some $95,000 worth of work. They need to raise $250,000 – of which they already have $60,000 – by November to put them in the hopes of obtaining a matching dollar grant.

This historic church and significant piece of our community’s history and heritage must be saved. A St. Jean Baptiste Church without its steeple would gut the picturesque appeal of Morinville’s downtown core and rip out the heart of old Morinville.

We all have an opportunity to assist in this cause. Servus Credit Union has opened the People for the Steeple bank account where donations may be made to any teller. Those looking to make tax-deductible donations may make their cheques payable to St. Jean Baptiste Parish and drop them off at the rectory next to the church or at RBC.

It is our sincerest hope readers of this publication will rise to this challenge and keep our historical church’s steeple in its rightful place, high above the community that grew up around this historic treasure.

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  1. OK Stephen, dumb question Number One: I certainly do NOT recall seeing anything about this situation in ANY of our local media before today. Has their/our plight been advertised throughout the community before now?

    Since the Town appears to have a reasonably large bag of cash sitting in its Expenses fund, perhaps the Town could see fit to give some (and I mean a LOT) of this “extra” money to this VERY worthwhile cause. After all, if we can afford to buy a table (or two, or three) for the Chamber of Commerce annual gala (which the average citizen will never be able to attend!!), then surely we can give the parish a bit of a hand with this??

    And I really don’t want to hear: “Well, if we help them, then we should help with the Baptist Church re-building.” That would be a copout of the highest order! Besides, if the Baptist congregation needs Town support, I believe they should “ask and ye shall receive”. At least we would be assured that our money isn’t being wasted on yet another useless endeavour.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • See Monday’s online edition and today’s print edition. It was our headline story Monday. The Morinville News broke the story after meeting with members of the parish about the situation.

  2. The town didn’t pay for my new roof, my new roof was an extremely worth while cause for my interests. Why should they pay for yours?

    Further, given the immense wealth of the Roman Catholic organization as a whole, why are they not funding the maintenance and upkeep of their own buildings outside of the Vatican? Isn’t that what tithing, tributes, tax exempt status, and collection plates are for?


    Thomas Kirsop

  3. While James won’t like it, I have to agree with Thomas, though for slightly different reasons.

    Has anyone forgotten the $300-400,000 (at least) in cost overruns associated with the Civic Plaza renovations? Where is that money coming from? Money not spent in an Expense fund will likely used to offset this bill. That may even be the reason why money is sitting there.

    The Town cannot get into the business of giving money to any institution (particularly religious ones) of any ilk, no matter how good the cause may be. As Thomas says, like it or not, the door then opens for any and all institutions to come with hat in hand. One option may be to apply for a Town grant, which any organization can do, but I would argue that won’t be enough or in time.

    To advocate simply giving away taxpayer money, no matter to who or for what, is a bad idea and fiscally unsustainable. Cancer research is a good cause that everyone can potentially benefit from. Should we give them $100, $1,000 or $100,000 of the Town’s money? I say no.

    Fundraising is the way to go to save a Town icon such as this. I hope the fundraisers reach their goal.


  4. The Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest organizations in the world. Exact figures are hard to find online but a conservative estimate by the United Nations World Magazine was that the Catholic Church has Billions of Dollars in solid Gold reserves alone.

    If the Church really cared about their facilities they would fund this repair themselves, not through grants. Let’s leave the grant money for true non-profit organizations that don’t report to an organization worth Billions of dollars.

    Morinville and the Province of Alberta have bigger issues to worry about. I can think of 100 Social / Environmental issues that we could spend grant money on before I would even begin to consider giving it to the Catholic Church.

  5. MEA CULPA!!

    Yeah, Thomas and Brent are both right and, in retrospect, I think MY big issue was yet more waste of our tax money to support things (in this case read Chamber of Commerce) which apparently bear no fruit for the average citizen.

    Sorry folks, my error!


  6. For those who are still of the belief that our town is not devided (granted very disproportionately) need only read another opinion from Thomas Kirsop. His relentless crusade to make every COMMUNITY issue a RELIGIOUS issue is juvenile and prejudicial.

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