Ask a candidate No. 2

Compiled by Ashley Janes

Q: “With the number of town residents growing each year, interest in community programming grows with them. Where do you stand regarding public programming and how do you intend to influence this issue?”

Stephen Dafoe: “Town programming seems to miss more than it hits. Programs are often low in attendance or cancelled outright, wasting tax dollars. Proper promotion is only one part. I advocate for investing a portion of program dollars with community groups who have the expertise, ability and networks to make programming work. Better value for the dollar and more involvement and interconnection. I have full details on this concept at votedafoe.com/arts-and-culture.”

Lawrence Giffin: “We need to improve our recreation infrastructure. We need to have a facility that would provide recreation for youth, the elderly and families. Supporting families is part of keeping our small town feel. Ideally this means a new Multifunction Facility. However, finding funding is the issue. Two solutions are increasing our commercial/ industrial base and deal with MCCC’s $500K deficit. A possible solution is to donate the MCCC to the high school and have the Multifunction Facility gym cover those events. The high school would have room to grow, the noise problem is solved and the deficit is gone.”

Gordon Putnam: “I support public programming as it serves a need for our citizens to engage and be involved in the community. When our citizens have opportunities to participate in public programming this builds their connection to the community which ultimately makes our community stronger and more vibrant. I intend to influence this issue by supporting the initiatives of our community services department as well as to listen to the ideas of our citizens as to what their vision of public programming looks like.”

Joseph Trapani: “Organizations are cancelling activities because not enough people are interested? Have you heard that before? Well that is happening. We need to meet at least twice a year and make sure that the same dates are not used to promote the same programs. If we do this, it will give residents the opportunity to choose what their children would like to do; this is “freedom of choice”. However, if two great programs run at the same time there is a greater possibility that both programs could be cancelled, as many were in the past for lack of participants. We are a small community, let’s talk to each other.”

Barry Turner: “I believe Council’s number one priority is creating maximum value for people with the tax dollars it is entrusted with. The best measurement of value created is the number of residents using the programs. Programs that are well attended should be continued and programs that are not should be stopped. Morinville has a dedicated core of volunteers that provide community and recreation programs. These groups have well-established programs and are able to multiply resources through sweat equity and their own fundraising. I would advocate the Town working directly with existing organizations to support current community-based programs to realize maximum value for tax dollars.”

Jackie Luker: “I believe community services and programs are vital to small towns like Morinville. By providing several options for all age groups you give participants the opportunity to get out into the community, learn new things, try new activities, and meet new people. If you want your community members to feel connected to their town they have to be part of it by being involved either as a participant or volunteer. My family and I will continue to support the many quality programs and events offered by the town as either a participant or volunteer.”

Brandy Keenleyside: “There is a definite need for more programming in Morinville, and not just for our youth but adults and seniors as well. I think that a recreation facility would be well received in Morinville, provided that the impact of the costs wouldn’t affect the residents greatly. I am like most of the parents in Morinville and spend a lot of time driving to programs in St. Albert and think it would be fantastic to have amenities here for people of all ages.”

Wayne Gatza: “Public programming has grown in leaps and bounds in Morinville over the last couple of years. If I am elected to council I will work hard with all stakeholders to help the growth of programming offered by Morinville. I believe our Community Programming Coordinator offers a variety of programs for our residents and now we need to get more people involved in the programs offered. If we get a multi-rec facility we will be able to offer even more programs to our residents.”

James O’Brien: “Community programmes are important but everyone must remember that only very limited resources are available. Only those activities which provide the greatest benefit for the most citizens should be run and this will mean that some good programmes cannot be offered. Many programmes appear to be grossly undersubscribed and we cannot afford to continue offering programmes for only a very few citizens! I would therefore remove from Community Services their decision-making capability; requiring Administration to seek Council approval before funds are committed. The Community Services Department must justify to Council exactly what they wish to spend taxpayer dollars on.”

Nicole Boutestein: “With a variety of these already in place for youth and seniors I feel we need to work even harder to promote and enhance them. I would like to see programs in place for ages 30-55; perhaps couples cooking classes, wine tasting or a Christmas baking class. In fact, I already have seven couples ready to sign up for couples cooking. I have always been an advocate that if we don’t offer a program in town and we have the demand for it then why not partner with Sturgeon County or Edmonton Garrison? I would like a survey distributed to see exactly what residents desire as far as programming.”

David Pattison: “Public programming is important in every community. As an incumbent Councillor, I see several areas for improvement in Morinville. Look for opportunities to partner with businesses and not-for-profit organizations in designing and delivering new programs. Increase programs offered in collaboration with both School Divisions. Build stronger partnerships between Morinville Community Services and Library programming. Conduct an annual survey of residents to identify public programming needs. Continually assess the results-based costs of each program. Ensure programs are offered throughout the Town of Morinville and not just in one location.”

Rob Ladouceur: “Morinville currently has some great festivals, events and programs. Those that are the most successful are not run by the Town, but instead are run by our community who can share their passion. Council should help fund programming through the grant processes that exist including providing seed money, in-kind donations and other such help. If people are passionate about programs they will be able to share that passion and programs are far more likely to succeed. When it comes to wellness programs like Incredible Edibles, that is where the Town should be involved. See more on my website www.MorinvilleRob.ca.”

Brennan FitzGerald: “I want to ensure all current programming is effective and beneficial to residents and eliminate unnecessary bulk. I hope to influence this topic by ensuring our youth have access to meaningful programming. Our youth programming doesn’t reach many youth at all and as a young candidate and former school leader, I understand what youth like to see and what endeavors are unnecessary. Really it’s about engaging with young people to get an accurate feel of what they think the town can offer them. I’d like to see job fairs in town specifically for youth employment in local business.”

Jennifer Laurence: If elected to Council I would focus on showcasing what Morinville offers in community programming. Granted there is always room for improvement, we do however need to take into consideration the accessibility of Servus Place. We should focus on what we can offer to town residents. Our local library offers programs for all ages and the Morinville Cultural Center has programs that offer extra-curricular activities. We need to remind the community to “play” locally and gain back the support of residents. Residents need to be given back the confidence from council to “shop, play and support” locally.”

Brent Henry: “I believe that Morinville must review its current programs to ensure that we are delivering what people want and need. If we can’t deliver what the public wants, then we need to explore partnerships with other organizations, such as CFB Edmonton or Sturgeon County, to give a better selection of programs within the resources we have available. If we don’t have enough resources, then we need to explore other avenues, such as provincial grants or corporate sponsorships, to get what we need.”

Ruth Shymka: Communication and awareness are key. With a background in sports and recreation I find it exciting to think of the growth our community can have with increased participation in programming. We need to get the people of Morinville engaged and interested. It is not necessarily the number of people in a town that makes public programming grow; it is often interest and engagement that make programs flourish. We have a lot of great programs offered in town. We have to be mindful of costs, location and variety. Together we have to get the word out to the public what and where programs are.

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2 Comments

  1. I laughed out loud. Sorry.
    Donate the CCC to the high school!! You think they have the budget to pay for it??? Do we pay for a building we don’t have?
    I have not heard that the high school needed more space….. Thanks for the info!
    Noise problem??? What noise problem!! I have only heard of one person complain about noise, but not for some time.

  2. Frankly I don’t think the quality of the programming is an issue. The issue from my perspective as an active participant of fitness programming is that people fail to commit to register early enough for the available programs leading to cancellations and loss of variety. I am constantly amazed by the quality and variety of programing here and think people just need to make the effort to get involved.

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