FOIP request generates animated discussion

A recent FOIP request generated animated discussion at the Village of Morrin’s regular council meeting on Feb. 21.
According to information provided to council by Morrin Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner, someone from the village has made a FOIP request to Municipal Affairs concerning past village grant information.
CAO Plachner appeared clearly upset that someone had chosen to take this route to obtain the information declaring, “If people want to know something, come ask me.”
Mayor Howard Helton acknowledged the process, as something people are entitled to.
“Fine and dandy, come here and ask me. I’m not hiding it. I don’t have anything to hide,” Plachner asserted.
Contending that it is unnecessary for people to use this process to obtain information, Plachner stated, “It’s a little bit childish, I think.”
“It’s an avenue that people think they have to take. They obviously feel that they have to, so I guess it’s trying to cultivate an atmosphere where people don’t feel they have to do that.
“That’s something that maybe has to be dealt with,” stated Mayor Helton “but you can’t put a sign out saying no FOIP.”

Land Use Bylaw
Changes in the Municipal Government Act (MGA) have prompted an amendment of Morrin’s land use bylaw.
Council took the first step toward change by giving unanimous first reading to Bylaw 358, an amendment to Landuse Bylaw 345.
Land use bylaw amendments require three readings by council and a public hearing.
CAO Plachner advised council of the requirement to advertise the proposed bylaw amendment and public hearing for two consecutive weeks, asking for a motion to hold the public hearing.
The public hearing will be held in April.
The hearing will provide the public with an opportunity to speak for or against the amendment.

Fire Department
Morrin Fire Chief Darcy Davidson came before council to address the needs of the village fire department.
Seeking to fulfil mandated requirements, Chief Davidson put together a list of the materials needed, presenting council with rough quotes from suppliers.
During his presentation, Davidson stated, “My largest concern right now is I’d like to replace some existing fire hose and add a little bit to our complement as well.”
Mayor Helton advised the fire chief to come back with firmer quotes after consultation with the county.
“Obviously council needs to see some firm figures,” he noted.
Morrin and Starland County hold a 70/30 cost sharing agreement for fire services.
Morrin’s 30 per cent share of the requested supplies is estimated at $7000.
Council approved the expenditures in theory, subject to firm price quotes and county acceptance.
At the conclusion of his report, Chief Davidson informed council that volunteers logged 892 man hours in 2017, involving firefighting, vehicle accidents and training.
The Morrin Fire Department has 16 volunteer members, nine who are very active.

Other business
A motion to approve a funding request from the Morrin Municipal Library Board was given unanimous approval.
The library will receive a $500 operating grant from the village.
Following an in-camera, a motion was passed to initiate an annual performance review for the Chief Administrative Officer. The review will take place May 17.

Linda Stillinger
ECA Review

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