Grandin Heights changing name to Juniper Heights

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by Colin Smith

Grandin Heights is no more, as the southeast Morinville development has been renamed Juniper Heights.

A bylaw that recognizes the change of name by developer TAG, also known as Trans America Group, was considered by Town Council at its Nov. 23 regular meeting.

The administration recommended that Council approve all three readings of the Juniper Heights Area Structure Plan Revision Bylaw.

Brad White, Senior Manager, Planning Economic Development, told Council that the bylaw had been drawn up at the request of the developer and there were no changes to the area structure plan other than the name.

White added that no addressing changes would result and the change meets all regulations.

Research indicated no notable historical connection between Morinville and the name Juniper. In Sturgeon County, there has been a Juniper Heights subdivision since the early 20th Century.

However, the passage of the proposed bylaw at the meeting was not to be.

The first two readings of the bylaw passed unanimously, then Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe moved its third reading to be held.

“Typically I don’t like to see three readings in the same evening,” Dafoe said. “But this is merely a text amendment and a business decision by the developer. So I see no reason why we couldn’t and shouldn’t proceed with three readings tonight, with the name change only.”

Councillor Ray White expressed opposition to the move.

“I have to oppose third reading happening in the same meeting,” said White. “The reason that I am fundamentally opposed is you do first and second reading and then there is sober second thought and that is what the purpose of the three readings is.

“I think we lose the ability for community engagement between the second and third reading if we run three readings in one evening. I disagree with that in process.”

When the question of whether to hold third reading was called, White voted against it while all other council members were in favour.

Mayor Simon Boersma declared the motion defeated, as it requires a unanimous vote by Council, and the matter was tabled to Council’s next regular meeting.

Grandin a controversial name

The Grandin of Grandin Heights is Vital-Justin Grandin, a Catholic Priest of the order of Mary the Immaculate, who was Bishop of the Diocese of St. Albert in the latter part of the 19th Century.

Once celebrated for his role in the history of what is now Alberta, Grandin has fallen out of favour because he was a proponent of residential schools as a means of Christianizing Indigenous people.

The City of Edmonton has dropped the name Grandin for one of its city core light rapid transit stations and a neighbouring school has been renamed. St. Albert is also considering changes to its Grandin neighbourhood and street names.

Responding to resident concerns about Morinville locations named after Grandin, which included Grandin Drive, Grandin Heights Park and the Grandin Park, Grandin View Point and Grandin Heights developments, in June council asked the administration for a report to initiate a comprehensive community consultation.

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