Local business owner Simon Boersma speaks to Council during the Jan. 21 Committee of the Whole meeting. – Luci eRoy Photo
by Lucie Roy
Morinville Town Council received a presentation from local businessman Simon Boersma on behalf of 30-35 individuals calling for a Unified Municipality in the Sturgeon Region with Morinville, Sturgeon County, Legal, Bon Accord, Gibbons and Redwater all under one Mayor, Councillors and one CAO.
Mayor Barry Turner made a few comments after the presentation, saying unification was not in the cards and that he was looking to the broader Edmonton Metropolitan Region for efficiencies.
“Currently at this point in time amalgamation is just not on the table—full stop in some conversations with regional mayors as well,” Turner said. “That is not something the group at this point in time have been particularly interested in, in looking at and what is on the table is to work together regionally and to look at to realize some benefits to collaboration and some joint projects moving forward.”
Turner thanked Boersma for his presentation and reiterated his view that the Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Board was working at ways to reduce overall costs across the entire Edmonton metropolitan region.
“Provincial government recently did empower us as a region in 2017 as a growth management board with regulations that aimed at enabling a very high degree of collaboration as well as empowering the region to take action in areas of land use planning and overall regional sustainability and so on and so forth.”
Turner said effective regional service provision is not just a Sturgeon County issue; it is an Edmonton Metro Issue.
“As part of the EMRB, we are involved with several task forces that are tapping significant issues at this point, there is the growth plan number one, which identifies ways to keep Morinville compact and less urban sprawl and thereby reducing overall costs to the ratepayers across the region,” the mayor said, noting the Regional AG Master Plan is working to ensure urban development is sustainable, and the metro region servicing plan looks at collaborative joint service provision.”
In November Sturgeon County and Morinville passed unanimous motions to jointly host a regional roundtable of the six municipalities to look at shared efficiencies as well as the possibility of restarting the Sturgeon Regional Partnership working group.
“We are going to continue to do so at the Sturgeon level as well and realize those benefits of collaboration and in joint service provisions where it makes sense to do so,” Turner said.