by Colin Smith
Morinville will be one step further toward having a new arena/recreation complex following a January 27 announcement about the land on which it will be built.
The long-awaited announcement is to be made at a meeting attended by members of Town Council at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
On Dec. 11, Mayor Lisa Holmes told people attending a project open house that the Town had signed a conditional agreement to purchase a 60+ acre site but did not disclose its location. Deadline for lifting the sale conditions is the end of January.
Mayor Holmes and Communications Coordinator Felicity Bergman did not respond to requests for further information about the land announcement.
The sum of $13.75 million has been allotted for the facility in the 2015 budget, which was approved by Council in December. However, that figure is considered merely a starting point, with total costs depending on the type of facility and whether any partnerships can help offset the costs.
The decision to replace the aged Ray McDonald Sports Centre and replace it with a regional multi-use recreation centre has involved a lengthy planning process including studies, two open house, surveys, Rotary Club open houses and a visit by Councillors to two recreation facilities in Saskatchewan as well as individual Councillor visits to other facilities.
To give all Morinville and area residents a chance to help determine what the rec centre should be, six stakeholder groups have been organized, the first of which was held Wednesday night. The views put forward in their meetings will be drawn on when decisions are made about the nature of the arena/recreation facility.
Each group will be chaired by a member of Council. They are Political Body, Mayor Lisa Holmes; Public Institutions, Councillor Nicole Boutestein; General Public for Morinville residents and those within the region, Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald; Community Organizations, Councillor Barry Turner; Businesses and Business Organizations, Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe; Current Arena User Groups, Councillor Gord Putnam; Other Sports Groups. Councillor Rob Ladouceur’s group met Wednesday.