by Calli Stromner
RCMP Staff Position
RCMP members at the Morinville detachment will soon receive a helping hand after Council approved a temporary budget reallocation to allow for one additional administrative position.
“The intent is to reallocate the dollars to a clerk position which could help with the administrative work, thereby freeing up officers to be on the street,” said Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun. “We can reallocate the dollars without placing the future police officer position in jeopardy.”
The temporary support staff position could assist with paperwork generated by the patrol officers, but the employment contract would be put in place, which could end when the detachment gets the additional officer that has been funded in the 2014 budget. Corporate Operations Director David Schaefer estimates the annual cost of a police officer at $160,000, while a clerk’s annual salary is around $45,000.
Easter Egg Hunt Recap
A total of 350 kids collected a grand total of 61,785 grams or almost 10,000 individual chocolate Easter eggs during the 2014 Eater Egg Hunt held Apr. 19. These facts were part of a detailed post-event report presented to Council by Murray Knight, President of the Morinville Historical and Cultural Society.
“This is our second year hosting the Easter egg hunt,” said Knight, adding that it was very well attended by many Morinville residents, young and old. “They were backed up from the gate all the way to the flower shop (at the end of the block).”
The event cost just over $3,100 to run, including a $480 honorarium to the Morinville Basketball Association for volunteering at the event. Knight also provided a return cheque to Council for just over $300, which represents a refund of unspent grant dollars provided by the Community Grant program in February.
Councillors applauded the Society’s efforts in running the annual event. “This detailed report not only shows us that you can run a great event, but it show others how to run a great event,” said Councillor Stephen Dafoe.
Councillor Barry Turner commended the Society for “using local companies and shopping local when you can.”
More Commercial Land Approved
Council gave second and third reading to Land Use Bylaw 12/2014 which will pave the way for further development in what is known as the Westwinds Area along 100 Street just north of the existing No Frills commercial development. The change in designation from Urban Reserve to C-3 will allow for the development of a “corridor commercial” district that could include banking, automotive, hospitality, and other commercial services. Planning and Development Director Greg Hofmann indicated that the property owner (Landrex Developers) has already submitted a subdivision application as the next step in this particular proposal.
Affordable Housing On the Horizon
Council also gave first reading to a Land Use Amendment Bylaw 13/2014 that will allow for additional residential development in east Morinville. The proposal by Durrance Projects is to create a 42-unit residential duplex development nestled between Notre Dame Estates and East Boundary Road. Hofmann indicated that while the land parcel is identified as residential in the current Grandin Heights Area Structure Plan, the change to Direct Control would ensure that the property is developed with appropriate road allowances and a park area.
Support for Fish and Game Club
Council unanimously approved a letter of support for the Morinville Fish and Game Association’s plan to build a new clubhouse by next year. The not-for-profit club is trying to secure grant funding from the province’s Community Facility and Enhancement Program and needs the letter of support from Council along with $30,000 in matching municipal funding.
If successful with the provincial CFEP grant, the Fish and Game Association could be ready to build a new clubhouse next summer to replace the existing structure at the Fish and Game Association Pond.
Quarterly Report from Administration
Chief Administrative Officer Debbie Oyarzun provided Council with the first quarter report of the town’s municipal operations, which includes statistics on business permit applications, fire and police services, economic development activities, marketing initiatives, and cultural centre usage. The full report is available on the Town of Morinville website; however, a few highlights from the report which covers January to March 2014include:
• 887 photo enforcement tickets were issued (up from 821 in 2013)
• RCMP issued 145 traffic-related tickets (up by 103 from 4th quarter 2013)
• Morinville Fire Department responded to 32 service calls
• Residential Housing starts are down by $2.4 million over 2013 numbers during the same period.
Free Library Card for Seniors
Council unanimously approved free library memberships for seniors during Seniors’ Week. While the program has traditionally cost around $450 in previous years, a cap of $1,000 has been put in place, monies which will come out of Council’s 2014 Public Relations budget.