Village of Morrin approves $158k for fire emergency pump project

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Village of Morrin approved spending at least $158,969 on a fire emergency pump project after examining the results of a publicly advertised tender. The decision was made at the Aug. 18 regular council meeting.

Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner presented the results of a tender for the fire emergency pump project which the village contracted MPE Engineering to handle. 

She stated the bids ranged from about $158,000 to about $171,000, and MPE’s recommendation was to take the low bid from Balzer’s Canada Inc., plus tax. MPE also recommended setting aside $25,000 for contingency.

Official Administrator (OA) Harold Johnsrude noted the budgeted amount, including engineering, was $151,000.

Plachner responded MPE contacted the village and notified them that the project could go over $200,000, plus more design work added $9,000 to the project cost.

Johnsrude wondered if the project should be delayed due to “significant increases” in cost. However, he stated prices for the project could go either way and the fact that this is an emergency item for the village is a deciding factor. 

“So we really need to push ahead with this” said Johnsrude. “It’s unfortunate that it has increased.”

Johnsrude approved Balzer’s bid, plus the added design fees and $25,000 contingency. It was stated the work could be completed by November.

Public Works report

Public Works Foreman Dave Benci gave his regular report, and began by stating sewer repairs on 2nd Ave. had been completed.

He stated a leak has sprung in the old water plant Aug. 18, and this leak was previously repaired but it appears the repair itself is now leaking.

Benci stated he contacted MPE Engineering for advice and a suggestion was made that staff go back to the first valve and, once functional, it should be easy to replace.

Repairs were done to sewer infrastructure at 102 Railway Ave. However, Benci stated there were some complications on the village side. 

He stated repairs were completed all the way out to the sewer main.

The department has been trying to contract the fellow who is advising the village on fire hydrant repairs with no luck.

OA Johnsrude stated, looking at the report, the bill for sewer laterals came in higher than the $20,000 budgeted. Benci responded that the hydrovac work was $1,500 per property resulting in a bill for about $25,000.

Return to owner

Benci reported back on instructions from a previous council meeting to track down the original owner of an antique swather donated to the village as a historical display; community members voiced concerns to the village staff that the swather may be a hazard to children playing in the community, so Johnsrude asked that the original owner be asked if he would take it back.

Plachner stated the original owner was found and agreed to take the swather back and arrangements are being made to transport it.

Benci stated a loader will be needed to haul it but the owner stated he was able to unload it himself. 

Benci also stated the original owner was very understanding about the situation.

Financial report

CAO Plachner submitted the financial report to July 31 and stated the regular report continues to be a work in progress. She said there were no extraordinary items to report.

New policies

Johnsrude approved two new policies, Public Works and procurement of Goods and Services.

He noted the Public Works policy was requested by a previous council and the policy would identify service levels that the community could expect, for example, how snow would be plowed from village streets.

The OA stated this item is a policy not a bylaw so it can be adjusted in the future as the need arises. 

He also requested the CAO place the policy on the village website so the public has easy access to it.

The procurement policy, stated Johnsrude, is mentioned in the Municipal Government Act and pertains to setting out the ground rules for how the village directly and indirectly purchases goods and services it needs.

Johnsrude stated a procurement policy should be defined by its respect for and by vendors.

He added that any expenditure greater than $30,000 comes to council, even if it’s budgeted for. 

Again, he pointed out this is a policy, not a bylaw, so it can be tweaked if needed. Both policies were approved.

Possible special meeting

Johnsrude noted the village still had work to do to comply with the Municipal Affairs department’s accountability review. The village was to have certain rules in place for an assessment review board, and the work was to be completed by Aug. 31, but he noted it was not done yet and there wouldn’t be another regular council meeting until the third week of Sept.

Hence, he stated it’s possible the village may have to announce a special council meeting before the end of August.


Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.