by Tristan Turner
AltaLink Presents to Council
Ed Toupin, Manager of North Stations at AltaLink, gave a brief presentation to Council at their May 12 regular meeting. AltaLink is Alberta’s largest transmission company and is responsible for servicing electrical transmission lines that end up delivering power to 85% of Albertans, including those who live in Morinville.
Much of the presentation focused on the distinction between electrical companies that deal with generation, transmission, distribution and retailers. With companies like AltaLink responsible for carrying power from generation sources (coal, wind, hydro etc.) through large transmission lines and to substations. From there, electricity is taken to homes within communities from distributors (FortisAlberta in Morinville) where people buy their energy from retailers (EPCOR, Direct Energy, etc.)
Councillor Ladouceur asked Toupin a question about whether any new transmission lines would be going through Morinville or the surrounding area, to which Toupin said nothing came to mind, and that there would not be any significant changes to the community’s electrical system in the near future. However, there are changes in generation coming, with Toupin pointing to the end of life for many coal generation plants in Alberta, with new wind and solar energy expanding to replace them.
Council thanked Toupin for his presentation, but later in the meeting Councillor Dafoe commented that he thought regular meetings of council should focus on decision making, with information presentations being more appropriate for the once-monthly committee of the whole meetings. Mayor Holmes agreed, saying that presentations will only be held during regular meetings of Council if there is a scheduling conflict that does not permit presenters to attend the once monthly meetings.
Council gets update on schools
CAO Debbie Oyarzun gave council a brief update on the progress of Morinville’s schools, explaining that very soon town staff will be on hand to assist MPES with the installation of six new modulars to accommodate dramatic student population growth.
Oyarzun also noted that potential school sites were being worked on for both school divisions.
Council gets rec centre update
CAO Debbie Oyarzun gave Council an update to the new rec centre project following an open house held Mar. 26. In the update, Oyarzun informed Council the nine groups of residents that attended the event were tasked with building a theoretical rec centre with all the amenities they wanted. They could choose to build in stages or all at once, and were given ballpark figures as to what different features and build styles would cost. If they went over the allotted budget, they were asked how they would pay for the increased cost.
As expected, a variety of responses were received, but some commonalities were found. All groups wanted to see a running track built in the first stage of the building, with seven wanting an ice arena and seven wanting a fieldhouse.
Oyarzun said work has already began on site identifying the thickness of topsoil and the nature of drainage and grading on the property. This will allow town staff to provide better estimates for building cost. An RFP for a project manager and designer will be going out shortly.
Council unanimously passes first reading of borrowing bylaw
Council unanimously passed First Reading of Borrowing Bylaw 8/2015 that would allow the town to borrow $1 Million as part of the $1.7 million purchase of the land east of East Boundary Road for the construction of the new recreation centre. The remaining $700,000 will come from reserves and grants. The $1 Million borrowed will not accrue any interest and would be paid in two payments of $500,000 over two years.
CAO Debbie Oyarzun called the bylaw a “formality” required by the Municipal Government Act. As such, it passed without any questions or clarification. Second and perhaps third reading will be given at the next meeting of Council.
Council approves Strategic Plan with a few revisions
Council approved their Vision, Mission Goals and Strategic Direction statements after some discussion and debate. While it received the endorsement of Council, CAO Debbie Oyarzun referred to the plan as a “living document” that will adapt based on Council direction.
The document was developed in consort with consultant Ian McCormackl of Strategic Steps Inc. and encompases a list of priorities and strategic approaches the town will take in the short and long term.
Outlined in the document are 17 goals with related strategies and desired outcomes related to those goals. Outlined in the document are the goals of: Responsible Government, Organizational Effectiveness Review, Regional Hub, Celebrate Culture, Unique Identity, Healthy Citizens, Appropriate Housing, Equitable Access, Community Safety, Alternative and Accessible Transportation, Economic Strength and Diversity, Economic Development, Efficient Utilities, Recreational Facility, Effective Transportation Infrastructure, Emergency Facilities and Environmental Mindfulness.
Each goal has sub-strategies and desired outcomes with rated priorities, and the complete document is available on the town’s website (morinville.ca). The plan saw a few minor revisions, but ultimately was endorsed by Council who have worked on creating the document in a number of workshops.
Council gets information request update on curbside recycling
Public Works Director Claude Valcourt and Communications Coordinator Felicity Bergman responded to an information request from Council clarifying how the curbside recycling program works and what is and is not accepted.
Among the issues discussed was the recycling of glass. While it is accepted, glass must now be placed in a separate blue bag that is properly secured to prevent glass shattering and spreading on community streets.
Councillor Dafoe asked whether or not styrofoam meat trays were recyclable. Bergman explained no form of styrofoam is accepted under Morinville’s curbside recycling program, despite some types of styrofoam being accepted in other community’s recycling programs.
Public Works Director Claude Valcourt also said he would investigate the cost of using blue recycling bins with automated pickup as opposed to the current manual pickup method following a question from Mayor Holmes.