February – The Year In Review

A special run
Police officers and athletes carry the Special Olympics torch along 100 Avenue Feb. 28 en route to MCHS for a special ceremony. The Special Olympics took place in St. Albert and Jasper from Feb. 28 to Mar. 3 – Trevor Meister Photo

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Federal census shows even higher population numbers for Morinville

Population had grown 26.5 per cent over the past five years according to federal census data released Feb. 8. Morinville’s population was recorded as 8,569 residents in 2011, an increase of 1,794 residents from the 6,775 recorded in the 2006 federal census.

The figures were not far off those of Morinville’s own census, conducted in the spring of 2011, concurrent with the federal census. Morinville’s own survey revealed 8,504 residents. The Town had conducted its own census because each resident carries with them approximately $325 in federal and provincial per capita grant monies.

Stats Canada’s census showed there were 3,261 private dwellings in Morinville in 2011, 3,078 of which were occupied. Morinville’s population density per square kilometre was 755.6 people.

Council raises mild stink with Champion Petfoods

There were no Valentine’s Day cards exchanged between Champion Petfoods and the Town of Morinville Feb. 14, but the relationship between the local manufacturer and Council didn’t seem particularly strained after Council voted unanimously in favour of pursuing a compliance agreement with Champion to resolve the outstanding odour issue.

In presenting the request for decision, then Interim CAO Debbie Oyarzun said the compliance agreement was one of mutual understanding between the two parties with respect to time lines, and that Champion was participating in the process.

CAO Debbie Oyarzun
CAO Debbie Oyarzun
New CAO looking forward to continuing her work

After reviewing nearly 50 applicants, narrowing it down to a field of 12 and conducting in-depth interviews with four finalists, Morinville had a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Morinville Town Council announced at their Feb. 28 regular meeting that Debbie Oyarzun was the successful candidate. Oyarzun was originally hired as Deputy CAO under then CAO Eddie Doepker. When Doepker’s contract was terminated in July of 2011, Oyarzun was made interim-CAO and has been in the position for the past seven months.

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Council furious over Civic Plaza cost overruns

A projected $870,000 cost overrun on the over time and over budget Civic Plaza renovation project was not the news Council wanted to hear from representatives of ONPA Architects and Synergy Projects Ltd., the architectural firm and contract management company hired by the Town to renovate the 30-year-old St. Germain Plaza.

After giving Council an update on the progress of the renovation project during the Feb. 28 meeting of Morinville Town Council, ONPA’s Rob Black hit Council between the eyes with the bad news.

“It has gone up from what we were projecting in September,” Black told councillors. “We’re at a point now where we are certain about the cost. We’re at the point where we can commit this job will be done for under $4 million.”

Final tallies many months later brought the final price tag to $4.2 million, including management fees.

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