By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The first quarter numbers are in from all departments within the Town of Morinville. Council received a detailed report and a highlight overview of those numbers at the May 14 Council meeting.
Planning and Developmnent
Single-family housing starts in the first quarter were sitting at 21, up two units over the same period in 2012; however, the value of those units was down by $190,000. Planning and Development reported a better picture for multi-family developments, which were almost double those of the same period in 2012, up $1.2 million in value from the preceding year. Additionally, the department reports a slight increase in renovation permits and a slight decrease in development permits and compliance certificates.
The community’s Peace Officers had a busy first quarter responding to 242 complaints, calls and follow ups between January and March. Officers issued 17 bylaw-related tickets during that period.
Topping the list of complaints and calls were 135 calls or follow-ups related to snow and ice on sidewalks. Though occupying the bulk of concerns, no tickets were issued during the quarter.
Next on the list of frequent calls were complaints related to illegally parked vehicles. Officers made 31 calls, issued two tickets and had one vehicle towed.
The remaining tickets were largely related to pets. Three tickets were issued under the Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw and another three were issued related specifically to dogs.
On the provincial side of the Community Peace Officer’s duties, officers issued 38 provincial violation tickets in response to 84 incidences. Twenty-one of the 38 tickets issued in the first quarter were speeding tickets. The remaining 17 were all vehicle related, ranging from distracted driving to failure to wear a seat belt.
Morinville’s Traffic Enforcement contractor, Integrated Traffic Services, issued 821 tickets over 384 hours of monitoring during the first quarter of 2013. Most of those tickets were issued in the school zone between 100 Street and 10X Street on 101 Avenue. ITS monitored the location for 43 of their 384 hours of monitoring and issued 335 tickets during that time.
Grandin Drive near 106 Avenue also proved to be a key location for capturing speeders. ITS issued 202 tickets during 32 hours of monitoring. Additionally, 100 Avenue at 83 Street produced 93 tickets in 29 hours of monitoring.
Of the 821 tickets issued in the quarter, 489 were to Morinville residents. The remaining 40 per cent were issued to motorists passing through or visiting the community.
But speeding through school zones was not the only speeding happening through Morinville. Statistics collected from the 100 Avenue and 102 Street speed sign indicate not only is traffic through Morinville’s downtown increasing, speeds are as well. Roughly 14 per cent of the 284,000 drivers who passed the sign from January to March were speeding. The top speed captured by the education sign was 116 kilometres-per-hour in the 50 km/h zone. The situation at the eastern entrance to town shows 20 per cent of motorists speeding. The top speed at the east boundary sign was 127 km/h in the 50 km/h zone.
David Schaefer, Morinville’s Director of Corporate Operations, said in his printed report the contractor had acquired photo radar equipment. Once training on the new gear is completed, evening monitoring will begin; however, the total hours of monthly monitoring will remain unchanged from the current contract.
Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun said Schaefer has been working closely with ITS on traffic enforcement, something she feels is good for the program.
Fire Department calls mostly outside Morinville
The Morinville Fire Department responded to 61 calls between January and March, 43 of those outside Morinville.
Morinville calls included 10 visits for fire inspections, fire alarms and reports of gas or smoke smells. The department also provided six medical assists, and responded to one brush fire and one vehicle fire in town.
Motor vehicle collisions outside Morinville accounted for 27 of the department’s calls during the quarter, almost half the total calls. The remaining County calls were largely to deal with five structure or vehicle fires and seven fire alarm, fire inspection and gas or smoke smell complaints.