by Calli Stromner with files from Morinville News Staff
Morinville – With a hockey arena about to come to the end of its lifespan, the Morinville Rotary Club hopes to be able to convince Council to build a multi-use recreational facility in its place. Members of the service club were on hand during the January 14 Regular Council Meeting to ask Council to consider the merits of a larger regional facility before committing budget money to a replacement for the Ray McDonald Sports Arena.
“We have strategic opportunity right now and I think we can deliver on it,” said Rotary Major Project Chair Joel Chevalier of the multi-use project, which he hopes, could be complete as early as 2017.
Some of the issues Rotarians want Council to consider include opportunities for diversified recreation programming, potential for increased provincial and federal government grant funding, and longer term economic development and stimulus. Chevalier suggested these were the key focus areas stemming from an open house and many discussions with key stakeholders around the Sturgeon region.
Mayor Lisa Holmes reiterated that the failing arena has forced Council to make a decision on a future facility more quickly than expected. “We are excited about the opportunities that are ahead of us and what recreation means for Morinville,” said Holmes, adding that Council will be exploring many options and solutions before making a final decision. The Councils and Senior Administration of both Morinville and Sturgeon County will convene their first joint Council Meeting the week of Jan. 21 at which time this item will be discussed on a preliminary basis.
In a related tele-presentation earlier in the meeting, Westlock-St. Paul MP Brian Storseth informed Council that the 2014 Building Canada grants would soon be accepting applications from municipalities for “shovel-ready” projects. While matching funding will still be available to municipalities for major infrastructure projects, such as roads and water and sewer lines, additional funding will be available for major capital projects which are commissioned under a regional cooperation model. Projects that receive funding under the Building Canada program receive one-third of the capital cost from the Province of Alberta and one-third from the federal government, with the remaining funds coming from the sponsoring municipality itself.