Village of Morrin will pay frozen line costs for resident

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Village of Morrin will pay for repair of a frozen water line, a decision made by the Official Administrator (OA) at the regular meeting of council Jan. 20. 

The meeting was held via teleconference to meet pandemic rules.

Harold Johnsrude, OA, mentioned at the beginning of the meeting he was going through past council meeting minutes along with Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner to address unresolved agenda items and dealt with several Public Works issues as a result.

Johnsrude noted that past minutes stated that in March, 2020 the village received a $504 bill for repairing a frozen water line, and added that the village has a sewer repair policy which he asked Plachner to summarize.

She stated if a landowner has a water line problem they shall contact the village before hiring a contractor, and if a contractor is hired, that may release the village from financial responsibility. 

However, if the water line problem is on the landowner’s property, the landowner is purely responsible.

Plachner clarified that in this instance she could find no record of the landowner notifying the village of the problem. However, the CAO also stated that because of lateral line problems in that neighbourhood, her recommendation was for the village to pay for the repairs. 

Johnsrude moved and passed a motion for the village to pay the $504. bill.

2nd Ave N. sewer lateral lines

Johnsrude asked Public Works Manager Dave Benci to report on the 2nd Ave North sewer lateral lines problem. 

Benci responded he found problems with a camera report but also noted four residences in that area were having flow problems that require excavation.

Benci stated this was deferred in 2020 and doing it in winter would be a challenge.

When asked by Johnsrude if other properties in that neighbourhood were also having flow problems, Benci responded most of the homes on that line have problems as the line has “sagged.” 

Benci pointed out repairing the lateral lines would require digging up pavement and sidewalks.

Johnsrude responded that tearing up additional pavement and sidewalks without knowing exactly what’s wrong with other homes wouldn’t be a great idea. 

Benci agreed.

Johnsrude then moved and passed a motion for Public Works to provide a 2021 budget amount for the four residences identified by Benci to be repaired in 2021 for the February meeting.

A motion was also passed for Benci to continue working on a Public Works Policy and look at making the items covered broader.

Water & Sewer Excavation policy

Johnsrude clarified this policy which was also an outstanding agenda item from past meetings. He pointed out the Municipal Government Act, which gives municipal councils their authority, states that councillors have a duty to develop policies and that sometimes councillors confuse general participation in developing policies with implementing polices, which is the staff’s role.

Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that the village staff would investigate what other municipalities are doing with regards to water and sewer excavation policies and report back at a future meeting.

Hydrant repair

Benci gave a report on hydrant testing, and stated this was done on Apr. 28, 2020 with the help of local firefighters. 

Some issues were identified, but then Three Hills came in to help and found that only one hydrant was actually in need of repair.

Benci noted an expert on hydrant repair has agreed to put on a training workshop for Morrin and other municipalities, using Morrin’s hydrant as the sample. 

Benci noted this will reduce the hydrant repair costs which he noted can be quite expensive.

Johnsrude moved and passed a motion for Public Works to proceed with the training session and also prepare a report on hydrant repair for the 2021 budget.

Machinery Park approach removal

The OA asked why the Machinery Park approach removal was included in past meeting minutes despite no resolution ever having been made. 

Benci responded he didn’t know exactly why but stated it may have been related to the demolition of the Noble house.

Benci stated when a contractor demolished the Noble house, his equipment then broke down and the contractor never returned. 

Benci stated the approach is barricaded off and in his opinion he saw no reason to remove it. 

Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that removal of this approach would be at the discretion of the Public Works department.

Water plant

Johnsrude noted an older agenda item about the water plant had no council resolution connected. 

Benci stated the village reports to Alberta Environment regularly about the water plant in accordance with provincial regulations.

Benci noted a provincial inspector checks out the plant on an annual basis, if his memory served. 

Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that no further action on the water plant was necessary.

Johnsrude motioned for an expenditure up to $1000 for a laptop computer for Public Works.

Johnsrude requested the CAO discuss with MPEngineering what they see as priority for the major projects of replacing sewer/water lines on 2nd Ave. S. or Railway Ave. S. and bring it back to the February meeting.


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.