Above: Concept drawing of the proposed Leisure Centre electronic sign from the Oct. 12 Council agenda package.
by Colin Smith
Morinville is getting a high-profile digital information sign located at the Morinville Leisure Centre entry, thanks to the project coming in under budget.
Town Council decided on the sign after receiving a financial project update for the centre at its regular meeting Tuesday.
The summary showed the MLC project is under budget by $799,679, or 3%, with total spending at $29,900,321, compared with an approved construction and site servicing budget of $30,500,000.
Funding for the project has included two 20-year debentures totalling $17 million.
A temporary operating line of credit from Servus Credit Union has a current balance of $2,745,911. There is also final forecasted spending of $115,000.00 for outstanding construction and site servicing, including storm pond landscaping.
Administration presented Council with a recommendation that the line of credit balance and forecast expenditures be turned into long-term debt by means of a loan from the Alberta Capital Finance Authority.
The Administration further recommended that a portion of the unspent funds budgeted for the MLC be invested in a highway pylon sign for a cost of about $160,000.
The total amount of the 15-year term loan is $3,018,000, ncluding $157,382 quoted for the sign by one of the contractors involved in the MLC project.
Both recommendations were approved by Council, with the proviso that Administration gets a second price quote for the sign, as moved by Councillor Stephen Dafoe.
“We have a quotation,” Dafoe said. “I think it’s a good quote, but it’s a year old and since then COVID has happened, and there’s not as much going on. I think we have the opportunity here to save some dollars.”
According to the quoted specifications, the pylon sign will be 28 feet high x 5.6 feet x 12 feet. It will be located just before the MLC entry for those coming from the town.
As well as identifying the Morinville Leisure Centre, the digital sign will display a variety of Town information and announcements, including specific programming and events taking place at the centre.
Chief Administrative Officer Stephane Labonne told Council that purchase and installation of the sign would take place as soon as possible. It may occur before ground freeze-up this year or in the early spring of 2021. The electrical rough-in for a future sign was completed at the time of construction.
Councillors agreed that the sign is something that the town needs and that it should have been part of the MLC project from the beginning.
“I think it is about time that Morinville has a sign like this,” said Councillor Sarah Hall. “I’m happy it will be in front of our recreation facility.”
Hall and Councillor Nicole Boutestein wanted reassurance that the actual sign would resemble the projected image accompanying the update report.
Mayor Barry Turner pointed to the effective management of the MLC project.
“This project all along has been planned with some strategic moves to reduce its costs and that’s offered the opportunity to add this sign to the project and bring something much needed to the community,” he said.
“I also like the approach that has broken out this bit of the project and bringing it forward separately. It speaks to the work that has been done to make sure we are doing this responsibly.”
Speaking to his motion to approve the recommendations, Councillor Lawrence Giffen said, “I think it is a tremendous accomplishment to be under budget, and I think the sign looks great. I’m all in favour of it.”
The motion passed unanimously.