Relief found in Morrin sewer issue

Dear Editor,
• RE: Howard Helton – Village of Morrin – RCMP (2)

For quite some time I have not bothered to become involved in Village business. Lynn and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that the Village has no intention of repairing our sewer.

This year the sewer will celebrate a birthday of some 60-plus years. As caregivers, we are very gentle and understanding. We provide relief in the form of using other sewer facilities as often as possible to lessen the burden on this ageing infrastructure.

Morrin council received a complaint about a CCAN on our property and subsequently passed a resolution in the December 2023 meeting that I Howard Helton violated the Land Use Bylaw.

In January 2024 I received a letter advising that a tarp-covered CCAN was to be removed in 90 days or the RCMP would enforce the bylaw. I was invited to respond which I did.

I informed council that the structure was similar to several structures in the Village and had been in place since September 2005. Also, I invited council to come and observe the structure or allow me to present in a council meeting.

CAO Plachner denied both requests.

Subsequently, I requested a copy of the letter of complaint presented to council which formed the basis of their resolution of non-compliance. Again, I was refused this request.

I responded, in part, by expressing my disappointment with their continued disregard for procedures and my access to council and would have to see council at places such as coffee or church if I had questions regarding Village activities.

Fast forward to the regular council meeting Wed. April 17, 2024. Lynn and I attended as there had been several suggestions, one at the behest of Mayor Hall’s wife on Facebook that if folks want to know what is going on in the Village – attend meetings.

All went well until council moved into the closed session portion of the agenda. Subsequently, Lynn and I left the council chambers and closed the door. The four other attendees left the building and went their separate ways. As was the protocol, when I served as councillor and mayor, attendees usually waited in the public area of the Village office if they intended to re-enter the meeting when recalled after council moved out of closed session.

Shortly, Deputy Mayor MacArthur came out and inquired, “Why are you still here”? I explained we were waiting to return to the regular portion of the meeting. She said it was over and, as council was in closed session, we had to leave the building so as not to be able to eavesdrop through the wall of council chambers. I refused her demand. This led to Mayor Hall and CAO Plachner entering to reinforce Deputy MacArthur’s demand. I did not feel they had the authority to eject us from the Village office. (Wednesday evening at this time was cold and windy).

In my view, if council has a problem with porous walls, it is their responsibility to deal with it more appropriately than tossing the public into the cold. Council then decided to adjourn the meeting and we left.

The next day, April 18, 2024, I was visited by the RCMP enquiring as to my recollection of the above experience. I was under the impression that they had been notified by the Village.

The RCMP also informed me they had received a 911 call reporting that some persons in the Village were feeling threatened and afraid as a result of my actions.

Although the officer was not specific, the only event I could think of was my conversation earlier in the day, April 18, at the Seniors’, with a Village councillor where I had asked for an explanation as to why I was being refused the letter of complaint I have requested.

I have been advised to ‘tread lightly’.

Howard Helton,
Morrin, Alta.

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