by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent
Council passes half of agenda in one unanimous omnibus vote without debate
Council has passed a slew of motions at once without debate as it, for the first time in its term, utilized a consent agenda to pass more than half of their items in the evening without discussion or debate. The motion came at the beginning of Council’s final meeting before their summer recess, with a jam-packed agenda.
The motion was passed by a unanimous vote, meaning each item was agreed to be passed or accepted for information, unanimously.
Here is a list of the items passed in the omnibus vote:
– CAO’s Report
– Land Use Bylaw 13/2016 First Reading
– New CAO Bylaw First Reading
– Community Grant intakes as recommended by Administration.
– External Auditor Hawkings Epp Dumont contract extension
– Strategic plan update
– Cancelling July 19th Committee of the Whole meeting and scheduling a July 12th regular meeting.
– Allowing all members of Council a pass to be absent from all Council meetings from June 29th to Aug. 30.
No discussion or debate was had on the motion to pass the massive motion and Councillors had an opportunity to pull out any items from the list before the motion went ahead. Deputy Mayor Brennan Fitzgerald requested the removal of an update on the Town’s park improvement project, and the renewal of Waste Management Service contract, both of which were considered and debated separately.
Town passes First Reading of Bylaw that could see former Anglican Church replaced with liquor store
Following a unanimous decision, as passed in a large consent agenda, Council has passed First Reading of a new land use bylaw that would allow for the replacement of the now demolished former Anglican Church at the corner of 107 Street and 100 Avenue with commercial business.
The motion passed without debate and only had a report attached that was not presented by Administration at the meeting due to it being passed without discussion. The report included the acknowledgement that a corner of the lot the site is currently on will need to be appropriated to accommodate a roundabout at that major intersection. Beyond that, the report made it clear that this new site could accommodate any number of typical retail businesses, and that the zoning applied to the area assumes that any variety of retail businesses, including a liquor store or gas station which are specifically mentioned, could be placed on the lot.
The bylaw will be reviewed for Second and potentially Third Reading at a future meeting of Council.
Council receives report on new roundabout at 100 Avenue and 107 Street
Council has received a lengthy report from Administration on a new major road project in Morinville’s core; a new roundabout at the intersection of 100 Avenue and 107 Street (next to Morinville’s Shell).
The report was not given and commented on by Council; however, as it was passed unanimously without comment in that evening’s exhaustive consent agenda.
The project has been public for years now – and has caused some controversy since its announcement – but the final design steps are being taken in what could be a significant infrastructure piece in preparing for Morinville’s continued growth.
Residents can read the entire lengthy report about impact, design and proposed implementation of the project in Council’s June 28th agenda package on the Town’s website.
Council approves $1730.70 in round of community grant intakes
Following a unanimous decision, Council accepted as information a report that indicates $1730.70 worth of new community grants that paid out to two community initiatives.
First was a community grant budget allocation of $552.10 to help fund a community member’s participation in the Canadian U21 Men’s Canoe Polo championship event. The request was for $2,000, but following in line with previous decisions in supporting similar events, Administration granted only a quarter of what was sought from the Town.
Next was a $1178.60 FCSS grant to the Morinville Tiny Tots to help contribute to a $5893 bill to replace a window that could lead to significant water damage if not fixed. The original request was for more than double what was offered by Administration, $2,500.
The motions were not debated at all as they were passed as part of that evening’s larger omnibus consent agenda.
Town Council has decided to temporarily renew the current contract with their current provider for up to a maximum of two years while Town Administration works on getting information together on how the agreement can be changed more permanently.
Following this agreement the program would go out to a Request for Proposal (RFP) or the program could be operated in-house, depending on Council direction.
Auditor of Town’s books gets extension on contract
The Town’s financial auditor Hawkings Epp Dumont has secured another lucrative contract extension with the Town following a unanimous decision was to extend their role as auditor for another three years.
A debate was held during previous discussions on renewing them in the past about whether or not relying on one auditor’s services for too long could have an impact on auditing results. This time around Council unanimously approved the three-year extension without debate as part of their larger consent agenda that evening.
Council adjourns for summer recess
Council has held their last meeting until July 12th, and then again until August 30th. This is the first time in this council term that any meeting has been scheduled during their regular summer recess, which came as a decision to hold a midsummer check in on Town operations.
Town to survey state of homelessness in Morinville following motion from Deputy Mayor Fitzgerald
Following a unanimous motion, the Town will begin a preliminary study into the status of homelessness in Morinville. The motion came from new Deputy Mayor Brennan Fitzgerald, who commented that following meeting a homeless person in Town recently, he was inspired to pursue a Town homelessness strategy.
This initial study will be done without any budget expense, and will rely on communicating with school, community services, police and the library to get contacts for information about homeless citizens in Town. This report is to be brought back to Council’s Aug. 30 meeting.
Following the report, a new project may come forward as part of the 2017 budget process to commission a full study on homelessness in Morinville.
Fitzgerald named Deputy Mayor
Following a brief ceremony and official oaths, Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald has been named the youngest Deputy Mayor in Morinville and Alberta’s history Tuesday night. Deputy Mayor Fitzgerald is the 5th member of Council to have the honour, as the position is rotated among members of Council in eight-month terms.
The role is mostly ceremonial and infers relatively few powers, but it does offer the ability to chair meetings in the Mayor’s absence or when the Mayor cannot assume the role as chair. Further, the Deputy Mayor can be delegated the responsibility of attending certain meetings and performing tasks when the Mayor cannot.
Following handshakes with all members of Council, Morinville’s new Deputy Mayor immediately assumed his role.