by Colin Smith
Town Council is looking into ways of easing facility rental costs for Morinville community groups.
It has asked the Administration for a report on providing discount rates for rentals of meeting rooms at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre and Morinville Leisure Centre to long-term users.
Councillors also want to see an outline of a program to offer meeting space to community groups in exchange for help with the Town’s events.
These initiatives were proposed in connection with second reading of Fees and Charges Bylaw amendments at Council’s regular meeting Tuesday.
The amendments will result in a rise in fees and charges for Morinville’s recreational facilities and services. Consultations with facility user groups about the changes are ongoing.
To come into effect on August 1 next year, the fee increase will provide a predicted $31,798 in revenue that is included in the 2021 Operating Budget.
“It has been a number of years – I want to say it’s 10 years – since we looked at our fees and charges,” said Councillor Nicole Boutestein.
“Unfortunately it’s bad timing with everything that is happening around the world. But it’s something that has to be done and I’m very happy that it doesn’t come into effect until 2021, so that give us a little bit of time to help the community groups prepare for this.”
After Second Reading of the Bylaw amendment was unanimously passed, Councillor Sarah Hall moved to have the Administration report to the November 24 Council Meeting on the possibility of entering into MCCC rental contracts with community groups at discounted rates.
Hall pointed to groups that have been using the centre since it opened, and relied on the rates they were being charged to remain viable.
“I think it’s important to help our community groups that have been around for a long time to continue to be around for a long time,” she said.
The measure passed, after it was extended to include the Morinville Leisure Centre.
Another motion, moved by Councillor Stephen Dafoe, instructed the Administration to come back before third reading of the Fees and Charges Bylaw with an in-kind program to provide meeting rooms for community groups in exchange for assistance at Town-run events.
Dafoe noted that small community groups like the Art Club struggle with the room rates, even though some may seem reasonable.
“I think we have an opportunity to have more of a sense of community here and also save some of these groups a couple of bucks,” he said. “Because ultimately, they are offering programming for our residents.”
The motion passed unanimously.