by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
During the last municipal election in 2013, Lawrence Giffin was unsuccessful in his bid to win a seat on Morinville’s Council. During the 2017 election, however, Giffin is hoping to turn that all around.
“This is going to be my second run and trying to win a position on Council,” said Giffin, “I’m doing it again because I like being involved, and I like feeling like I’m contributing,” he said, adding that he’s not one to shy away from a challenge.
Prompted to run last time due to significant concerns he had on how the Town was budgeting and spending tax payer dollars, Giffin said things have improved over the last four years, but there’s still work to be done. There’s a lot of money being spent on capital projects, he asserted, and when we’re spending residents’ money, transparency is vital and something he wants to see continue to improve.
Giffin also talked about the need to ensure maintenance of Morinville’s infrastructure is being properly considered and is keen to see the new Council make growing the Town’s tax base a priority over its four-year term. “We need to get some more commercial and industrial taxes coming in,” he expressed, saying this is particularly important in light of the money that is being committed to the forthcoming recreation centre.
Other items Giffin touched on as key areas that Council will need to focus on were accountability of the Town’s administration to residents and business owners and figuring out what the future of Morinville’s footprint, or available new lands, will look like going forward. “We need to plan for this,” he remarked, “we’re running out of space to grow.” Relationship building with neighbouring municipalities is another issue in which Giffin said there needs to be improvement, especially, he said, when it comes to Sturgeon County.
An eight-year resident of the Town, Giffin is the owner of Coach’s Corner Sports Bar. As a business owner, he said, he’s in tune with the Town’s business community and can bring an important perspective to Council. “I understand the challenges and concerns of business in Morinville,” he remarked. “If people are going to come here…and put in their money and invest in our community, we need to make sure their return on investment is there.”
Before taking ownership of his restaurant, Giffin was an electrical engineer and was an Area Manager for Trans Canada Pipelines, where he was in the industry for 25-years. “I’m a good facilitator,” he noted, “and my experience means I know roads and reporting and budgets.”
Gearing up to start his campaign, Giffin said he’s interested in hearing from people. “It’s healthy to have people challenge Council, it keeps them on their toes,” he said with a laugh. “I think if we’re out there asking questions, it’s incentive to make sure things are running at one hundred per cent.”