Architects will design full facility, steering committee confirms

cao-steeringby Morinville News Staff

The Town will undertake a six-stage process for the proposed multi-use recreation facility planned for east of town. That was the word from Town of Morinville CAO Debbie Oyarzun in her presentation to Morinville Town Council in their role as steering committee during a Sept. 1 meeting.

The six stages encompass the Pre-Design, Conceptual Design, Schematic Design, Detailed Design, Construction Documents, Procurement and Construction, Post-Construction and Administration of the new facility.

Oyarzun told Council 114 companies looked at the architectural Request for Proposal, which closed Aug. 31. Of that number 16 attended an onsite meeting and a total of 11 firms submitted proposals by the RFP deadline. The 11 proposals contain 38 different companies in total proposing to work on the project.

The CAO said the Town challenged companies to come back with a team approach, rather than the town going out to hire an individual for this and one for that. “This way we know right up front that they can work [together],” Oyarzun said.

But just what the successful architectural firm will be designing was a question for Councillor Stephen Dafoe. Dafoe said he wanted to ensure the conceptual designs would include all the major components discussed in the stakeholder meetings the Town held. This despite the RFP identifying only an arena, concession, common area and a running track as a minimum build.

“The footprint for the conceptual design will be the 25 acres,” Dafoe said. “Whether we ultimately build a pool or not [in this phase] I see it as being in there [in the conceptual designs].”

Oyarzun assured Council the architects would be doing conceptual designs for a full project. “Whoever we hire is pricing out the whole meal deal,” Oyarzyn said. “They are pricing out the whole project. In their decisions, Council can go back to them if they like the prime contractor for example and the engineer but not the other. It is all part of the negotiations.”

Oyarzun said the arena portion was motion driven but the track was not. “The common area and concession [are] part and parcel of an arena,” she said.

Mayor Lisa Holmes said part of the problem with public perception is the terms arena and multi-use are confusing to some. “It makes people think it is an arena or multi-use,” she said. “The project is not just that. It started as a motion for an arena. The multi-use is the future or opportunity. From now on this is a project, but when we start talking about the rest of the site that is when it is a separate project.”

The architectural RFP focuses on the multi-use project and not the full 77 acres, which requires a master plan for the full land purchase.

Councillor Nicole Boutestein raised the issue of whether or not the curling rink would be included. It is her belief that when Council made the decision early in their term to replace the arena, she and others assumed the curling rink would be part of that build.

Once the conceptual design is done, meetings can take place and adjustments may be made, reviewing the wish list to create a Master Blueprint for now and into the future. Council will be asked to decide what they will tackle in this first stage year of construction.

With an estimated start time of spring 2016, the steering committee will need to work their way through each of the six stages at a rate of about one per month.

Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald queried as to the flexibility and timeliness in each of the six stages. Oyarzun said the main thing was looking at having the arena constructed for early 2017 at the latest. It would be in alignment with the construction of the public middle school on parts of Town land where the current arena is. She said it would be important to watch timelines. Pushing too much longer could result in additional investments to keep the existing arena open.

Council is expected to make a decision on an architectural firm at the Sept. 8 meeting of Council.

Steering Committee could expand to include stakeholders

During the steering committee meeting, Councillor Dafoe moved to refer Mayor Holmes’ suggestion to expand the Steering Committee from just Council. The motion would be to include a minimum of one member from each of the seven stakeholders groups that had previously met on the project. Those groups include current arena users, other sports groups, businesses, schools and institutions, and the general public.

“The purpose of the Steering Committee is to receive information,” Dafoe said of the idea. “Now all of the stakeholder [groups], one person from each, would receive the information concurrently [with Council]. Now they can advocate and go back to their groups and fill them in.”

Councillor Boutestein made a motion that the Steering Committee recommend that Council invite all municipalities in the area to a meeting so one message is provided to all simultaneously. This is a follow-up to discussions Council had at their Aug. 26 meeting and prior to the summer break about sitting down with municipal partners.

The steering committee does not have the authority to pass the two motion suggestions, only refer them to Council for debate and decision. That is expected to take place Sept. 8.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email




  1. Great article, so tell me the difference between ” steering committee” and “Counsel” please?. Why was this meeting not publicly advertised until the day off and why were the stakeholders not notified either?

    • Simon, Council received official invite to the steering committee meeting Friday, Aug. 28, four days prior to the Sept. 1 meeting.

      On that day I sent an email to Council and CAO asking that notification be made on the Town’s social media channel and posted on the doors of Town Hall, exactly as I did the last time the steering committee met.

      Given both local papers came out Sept. 1 and 2, there was no opportunity to announce it via those channels.

      That said, it was Council’s wish that all steering committee meetings be public, so perhaps they need to be coordinated to allow a fuller period of notification. Cannot speak for anyone else but myself, but I am supportive of that.

      The difference between steering committee and Council is that the committee – though made up of Councillors – cannot make decisions, only refer potential decisions to Council for debate and vote.

      Two of those are likely to be brought forth Tuesday night.

      One of those – as reported – is a desire to expand the steering committee to include at minimum one member of each of the stakeholder groups.

  2. Hey Simon – an excellent question; one which I have NO doubt will go unanswered – as usual.

    Am I correct that this same question has been posed to Council members via a formal letter (where you just MIGHT get a response) or will it forever remain in the “Rant & Rave” category?

    My goodness – a “six-stage process for the proposed multi-use recreation facility”? If even a single so-called deadline is missed, we are, in the vernacular – well and truly screwed!

    The next few months should prove to be quite interesting indeed!

    James G. O’Brien

  3. Jim – to your first line – wrong – see my answer above.

    To you second sentence – no, Simon has not sent us an official letter asking the same question.

    To your third line – not well and truly screwed, but certainly there is an even greater need to stay on focus and stay on target, in my opinion.

    To your last line – We live in interesting times.


Comments are closed.