Village of Morrin council discusses fire bans

Morrin village council agreed they want staff to talk to the fire department about fire threat and possible fire bans. The decision was made at the May 15 regular meeting of council.

Mayor Chris Hall told council he was concerned about the fire hazard situation and wanted to know if nearby Starland County had declared a fire ban; no one at the meeting could confirm that.

Hall stated despite scattered showers, the fire hazard remained a concern.

Councillors agreed village staff would contact the Morrin Fire Department for a fire hazard update and decide later if the village needed to make any declarations.

Lot prices
Councillors voted unanimously to put several available lots up for sale.

First, they discussed offering the former library building and the lot it sits on, already zoned commercial, for sale possibly for $20,000 to $25,000; it was stated at the meeting that the former post office building sold for $29,500.

Councillors stated they felt the lesser number was fair as the former library lot is only 27 feet.

Councillors passed a resolution to put the old library building and lot up for sale for $25,000 as of June 15.

Secondly, councillors passed a resolution to put a vacant lot described as lot 21, block 3 4945ap up for sale for $20,000.

Lastly, they also unanimously agreed to put 111 1st Ave. up for sale for $20,000.

Bylaw officer update
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner gave councillors an update on her search for a bylaw officer. At their March council meeting councillors passed a resolution that the village would hire a bylaw officer as soon as possible to address aggressive dogs at large in the village.

Plachner stated she’s attempting to contact the Town of Drumheller’s bylaw officers to see if Morrin can hire them but hasn’t had any luck so far.

During discussion councillors agreed Morrin needs a bylaw officer, especially one who can handle dog complaints.

Councillors also heard that some other smaller villages, including Munson and Youngstown, apparently don’t have bylaw officers either.

Water bill hike
Councillors approved hiking the Village of Morrin’s water bills by $10 per month effective July 1 in response to a water price increase from their supplier. Plachner noted the village’s water bill for January to March of this year was $31,880.

Coun. Lorraine MacArthur explained councillors had no choice but to hike the bills to cover the supplier’s increase. It was noted Morrin utility bills would include a note explaining the hike.

Pothole patrol
Plachner updated councillors on street patching this summer; she noted the contractor is ready to go but the Village of Morrin is having trouble finding a grant to cover the roughly $70,000 cost. The CAO stated she will continue searching for a grant.

Picnic tables
The CAO stated she contacted Morrin school to take students up on their offer to build some picnic tables for the village; however, it turns out the students are swamped this time of year as last day of school approaches.

Teachers offered to have students build some picnic tables next school year and councillors accepted that offer.

Financial report
The CAO reported the village’s 2023 audit is completed and the audited financial statement is available on the village’s website for public perusal.

Closed session
Councillors agreed to discuss one item in closed session, the topic of CCANs.

Contacted by phone May 16 the CAO confirmed councillors passed one resolution after closed session ended: with regard to a violation of the village’s Land Use Bylaw (LUB) involving a CCAN in a residential area, the village will seek a stop order and legal advice to fill it out.

Plachner confirmed the resolution was in regard to former Mayor Howard Helton’s property.

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.