by Tristan Turner
Council hears concerns from South Glens residents on commercial ASP
Council held a public hearing on Bylaw 16/2014 South Business Commercial (Celtic Lands) Area Structure Plan (ASP) during the Jan. 27 meeting. The Bylaw, given 1st reading at the previous meeting, “establishes a framework for future site development and servicing requirements for primary corridor commercial land uses.”
If passed, the bylaw would allow for new commercial development along 100 Street between the industrial park and Cardiff Road, area that borders on the north side of the South Glens development.
Many South Glens residents made statements during the public hearing. Most strongly opposed allowing the new development near their property. Chief among those expressing their dissatisfaction was Dolly Bolen, who has started a petition to prevent the town from passing Bylaw 16/2014.
In her presentation to council, Bolen said she was concerned about what she felt was a lack of consultation with residents about the ASP. “I am very disappointed with the town for bringing forward the ASP without even consulting any residents of South Glens or Morinville residents first before making any plans,” Bolen said. “As far as I know, no resident of South Glens has been contacted about the ASP beyond public notice of this meeting.”
Among Bolen’s concerns were the ecological effects of the project. “There are birds that live there, Canadian geese, killdeer and ducks… and those could flourish and stay living there [if the ASP doesn’t pass],” Bolen said. “We will be destroying a very important natural resource by not exploring a better option. We could preserve the land and at the same time keep the residents of South Glens happy by promoting a better alternative use of the land.”
Bolen promoted the idea of having the land serve as a park that preserves the property’s ecologically sensitive wetlands instead of for the commercial purpose intended by the landowners. “What if the land east of 100 Street [and past the industrial park] was developed into a park that preserved the wetlands like Big Lake in St. Albert?” Bolen proposed. As well, Bolen connected her proposal to be in line with the ‘Sustainability Pillars’ developed by town administration.
Following her presentation, Bolen said she “has not spoken to one person that’s happy with the commercial ASP.” She feels her proposal to have the privately-owned land used for a park will be more popular than the commercial use Council is being asked to approve iwth the passing of the ASP.
Not all speaking at the public hearing are in opposition. South Glens resident Robert Potter shared that he didn’t mind whether the commercial development went ahead or not, so long as necessary bylaws were followed regarding garbage disposal in loading zones and that building heights are not excessive.
Administration reports on Sturgeon Regional Emergency Management Study
CAO Debbie Oyarzun reported to council on a completed Regional Emergency Management Study developed for Sturgeon County municipalities by Kenneth Kendall Consulting.
Oyarzun said a recent regional meeting resulted in moving forward on a formal agreement between the six municipalities once the consultant provides some additional information. This agreement may allow the municipalities to work more effectively and share resources in emergency situations.
Council approves Morinville News advertising contract as part of six-month media review
Council voted 6-0 in favour of approving a contract with The Morinville News for up to $33,813 for print and online advertising for 2015. The contract was brought before Council for decision because the Alberta Municipal Government Act requires Council to publicly approve any contract with a company owned or partly owned by a member of Council due to pecuniary interests.
Deputy Mayor Dafoe declared a pecuniary interest on the matter and left Council Chambers for the discussion and the vote.
Council does not ordinarily approve the Town’s advertising and other service contracts because the CAO has the authority to enter into those agreements on behalf of the municipality if they are approved budget expenses.
Media spending under review
The contract approval is no guarantee the Town will spend the full value of the contract with The Morinville News.
CAO Debbie Oyarzun shared with Council that Administration was conducting a survey of town residents about where they receive information from the Town and if there are better methods than focusing on advertising in the various community papers.
As a result of this, Administration has included a provision in its contracts with all local papers to be able to review their advertising usage and expenses six months into the contract period.