by Colin Smith
Lack of high-speed internet, poor drainage and a need for more security or better policing are among the concerns for businesses located in Morinville’s industrial park.
The concerns were expressed at an engagement event attended by business representatives and members of town council and administration.
A report on the business engagement event was presented to council at its committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 21 by Economic Development Officer Stephen Novak.
The event took place on February 3 in the boardroom of Flowpoint Environmental Systems from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Novak reported that it was attended by 15 representatives from 12 separate businesses out of the 30 businesses initially contacted.
The town was represented by Mayor Simon Boersma, Councillors Ray White and Jan Anheliger, and staff members Novak, T.J. Auer and Teena Hughson.
The event allowed for networking opportunities between businesses, councillors and administration, Novak noted.
“A business owner spoke about the difficulty in securing and maintaining employees due to commute times, general amenities, and housing availability. Another owner spoke about previous engagement opportunities with the Town and how they did not seem to be very productive.”
Other responses to questions about concerns for businesses operating in the industrial park included 100 truck access and traffic control, truck parking and the need for signage to make the park more noticeable.
Barriers to growth were seen as a lack of land to develop and a stalled development process, along with taxes and levy costs.
Seven attendees answered a question about their current relationship with the town. Four were very or somewhat unsatisfied, one was neutral, and two were very or somewhat satisfied.
The engagement event was of value according to 100 per cent of those attendees who completed an exit survey. Asked whether the format was appropriate/productive 87% responded positively.
Information gathered at the event will be used to assist council in future strategic planning processes and as input for consideration in and prioritization of future economic development initiatives.
Any information from the event that affects other town departments will be shared with them and attendees will receive a written copy of the event information.
The industrial business engagement report was accepted by council as information.