Three-way conversation needed for further talks of creating Morrin campground

The proposed location of the Morrin Campground with access from the Old Mill Road. ECA Review/Submitted
Written by Terri Huxley

Bill Montgomery, chairman of the Morrin Sod House and Historical Society presented to Starland County council at the regular meeting via video conference on Wed. Nov. 25. 

Montgomery shared that the campground will consist of 12 pull-through sites and green space next to a 10×80 ft. gravel pad.

The society approached the county first as the land this could be situated on is county-owned.

It was asked that the county donate this land as well as resources to set up full hook-ups with the help of volunteers to get it started.

“It would be a benefit to us but also a benefit to the community as a whole,” said Montgomery.    

Councillors asked if the society has approached the village yet but they have not.

“It should be a three-way conversation in regards to this,” said Coun. John Rew.

Council agreed, asking Montgomery to approach the village to see what their position on partnering would be.

Ice plant requests

Council was presented with requests from various community organizations and societies who operate ice plants within the county.

Each year, Starland sets aside $95,000 in grants for operations as well as an additional $38,000 for a slightly different category.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Shirley Bremer stated that ‘community groups that put in an application that normally do’ did for this year as well.

With that, the requests in dollars was larger than the budgeted amount.

Council passed a motion to accept the recommended amount for each application.

“Any help by this point is good help,” said Reeve Steve Wannstrom. “I’m sure they will appreciate it – especially since they can’t fundraise at the moment.”

For the second category, council also passed the recommended amount at $38,000 which would cover 46.65 per cent of the 2019 actual ice plant costs for the Delia, Morrin and Rumsey Agricultural Societies who operate these facilities.

CAO Bremer mentioned she asked for more clarification on one or two of these applications but never received them.

Public Works report

Public works supervisor Ken Menage and Colby Black, assistant public works supervisor presented this meeting’s public work report.

A situation this past season was brought to council for decision.

A county employee who has their Class 1 certification and is a grader operator but with little loader experience was first found to be underweight when transporting gravel.

He was asked to replace another employee who was sick and was unable to be at work.

In this particular case to load the trucks, employees were using a track-hoe instead of their regular loader due to the slope of the area.

It was explained this loader did not have a proper scale that has not worked ‘since factory’ compared to their normal equipment.

After the first time being found underweight, the employee loaded the truck but was then found to be 7,000 kg overweight and was subsequently fined at the weigh scales for $3,948. 

$1,900 is still owed on this ticket.

Menage asked if council would consider paying the remaining balance as this was not the employee’s fault.

To make a point, Menage noted that the county has been operating with a ‘skeleton crew’ of seven people compared to 19 last year.

Coun. John Rew described the situation as a ‘total accident’ and “one of those things that happens”.

A motion to pay the dues was passed due to COVID-19 restrictions and lack of trained staff on said equipment was passed.

Tax arrears cancelled

Council was shown the oil and gas companies within Starland who are in receivership.

Receivership is a requirement to apply for Provincial Education Requisition Credit funding.

Council passed a motion to cancel these taxes as per Section 347 (1)(a) of the Municipal Government Act.

In total, they are writing off $2,124,364.90 from six companies including Trident Limited Partnership at $1,509,728.95, Trident Exploration Corp. at $539,927.06, Traverse Energy at $18,243.86, Canadian Oil and Gas Inc. at $1,206, Capital Oil Ltd. at $1,036.53 and Blaze Energy at $222.50.

PLRD letter for school shop

CAO Bremer showed Starland’s letter of support for the transition of Morrin School’s old gym to be turned into the school’s future shop building.

Council passed a motion to send the letter.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.