by Colin Smith
The Town of Morinville has committed to buying local where possible with the adoption of a finalized public purchasing policy by Council at its June 11 regular meeting.
The public purchasing policy was initially approved April 23 with an amendment that local businesses be given purchasing priority on contracts for goods and services with a dollar value of less than $75,000 and construction contracts under $200,000.
The policy had to be brought back to Council because it lacked a definition of local business. The amended version passed Tuesday night defines local business as “A type of business that is based in a local area and provides a variety of commodities, goods, products or services that are needed to a local population.”
According to the policy, purchases will be made from local, provincial and national suppliers, in that order.
This is with all factors being equal and subject to any requirements as outlined within the Council Purchasing Policy, the Canadian Free Trade Agreement and the New West Partnership Trade Agreement.
All contracts must adhere and be compliant conform to the policies and procedures as outlined within the Town’s Contractor Management Program.
Council has directed the Administration to bring forward a report on the implementation of the policy in November.
Council also adopted the Video Surveillance in Public Areas and Morinville Sponsorship policies discussed at its May 21 Committee of the Whole meeting.
The video surveillance policy sets out guidelines for the installation and use of surveillance cameras in indoor and outdoor public spaces for the purposes of crime prevention and investigation, specifically the deterrence of property crimes such as vandalism and theft and crimes involving persons such as assaults and controlled substances offences.
Only the Town’s Chief Administrative Officer or designated persons will have access to the security surveillance system’s controls and to its viewing equipment.
Among the administrative directive guidelines are that cameras are to be located in such a way that they only monitor town-owned facilities, infrastructure and assets. In areas where cameras are in operation prominently displayed signs are to notify the public they will be under surveillance.
In an emergency situation where Town facilities are being used as reception centres, the use of cameras will be evaluated in the light of privacy concerns.
Councillor Nicole Boutestein offered thanks to those involved in developing the policy.
“Nothing is more important for all of us than the safety of our residents and visitors to the community,” she said.
The Morinville Sponsorship Policy establishes guidelines under which Council provide sponsorships for individuals or groups involved in community initiatives and activities and individuals.
These can include community fundraising activities and events, galas, golf tournaments, silent auctions, service club initiatives and athletic endeavours in which resident athletes will represent Morinville on a regional or national level. Under the new policy review and approval of sponsorship requests will generally be handled by the Administration, although Council will still have the option of providing sponsorships directly by resolution.
Again, the buy local is great, I myself pay a little more to support local business when I can, but the second one is a little concerning to me. I fully support that public spaces should be considered for monitoring based on criticality and probability, but I wonder how much notice was given to the public about the development on this policy so that we might have had an opportunity to comment or ask a question if we had a concern?