by Tristan Turner
Morinville Council has another request for what to put on the Town’s77-acre recreation centre lot. The latest comes from Murray Knight, a member of Morinville’s Historical and Cultural Society board, who made the ask for a new indoor and outdoor museum to be included in long-term plans for the land. Knight and other members of the board have made similar asks of Council in the past, but this marks the first as an official request in Council Chambers.
The Morinville Museum currently operates out of the former convent basement next to St. Jean Baptiste Park.
Knight’s ask came during Council’s April Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting, where he and his fellow member, Andre Noel, made their case as part of a larger presentation. They also included a request to work with the Town on updating their Historical and Cultural policy, passed year with a clause to be reviewed after one year.
Knight is not looking for a new museum in the short term just that “it would help to know there is something coming, something to look forward to” as the organization needs more space as older members of the community pass away and are looking for somewhere to donate their historical belongings and documents.
The current museum is approximately 5000 square feet. The board’s long-term vision is for a 10,000 square foot facility as well as space for an outdoor museum area.
Noel added at the end of the presentation that he felt there is an opportunity for the Town to create a big open community space “with all sorts of different activities”, and the 77-acre plot of land is a good chance to bring in different developments to draw people in for festivals and events.
Council had limited comments for Knight but thanked him for his presentation. Councillor Nicole Boutestein asked Knight if the museum was interested in having both an outside and indoor museum, or if only one would be enough. Knight said that the society needs both spaces together to accommodate their growth.
Councillor Sarah Hall inquired about whether the rec centre lands were being specifically requested, or if any site would suffice. Knight simply stated, “I don’t care [where the site is]. As long as you can make it happen, that would be great.” But went on to say that he believes the rec centre is a good opportunity to build it, while the Town has the land to accommodate the new museum.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe asked Administration to look at scheduling the review of the Historical and Cultural Policy at Council’s next Bylaw and Policy Review Committee meeting, ahead of potentially bringing it forward to council.