Village of Morrin won’t acquire senior’s housing from foundation

Written by Stu Salkeld

The Village of Morrin declined a request to acquire a seniors housing development located in the municipality.

The decision was made at the Feb. 17 regular meeting of council, streamed via Zoom to meet pandemic rules.

Village Official Administrator (OA) Harold Johnsrude noted Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner had been instructed at a previous meeting to investigate the request from the Drumheller Seniors Housing Foundation that Morrin take over the Blooming Prairie Seniors four-plex, located in the village.

Plachner stated that upon further investigation, including financial information she forwarded to Johnsrude, it didn’t seem feasible for the village to take ownership of the four-plex at this time.

Johnsrude, referring to the financial information, stated that if the village took over, some sources of funding may no longer be available, as the facility currently generates rent and receives grants and requisitions.

The OA also noted that when the provincial government assigned him in place of the village council last fall, he stated he wouldn’t make any decisions that had long-term consequences.

Johnsrude moved and passed two motions, first that the village declines the foundation’s request and second that the village request the foundation keep it informed of any decisions regarding the future of the four-plex.

Building security

Public Works foreman Dave Benci reported on an item from last month’s council meeting, upgrading security at the village office, shop and water plant.

Benci stated he spoke to the businessman who submitted last year’s quote for services and noted two options are available, a wired system and a wireless system. 

It turns out, stated Benci, the wired system has dropped in value while the wireless one has increased.

Benci reported the wired security system would include eight security cameras with a 2-terabyte hard drive and would cover both the office and shop with a price of $650. He stated this was his preference.

He also investigated the existing alarm at the water plant and found it could be upgraded and would only require a few hours of programming for about $500. However, it would not be part of the camera system.

Johnsrude moved and passed a motion for these security systems to be included in 2021 budget deliberations.

Municipal accountability

Also referred from a previous meeting, the topic of the Municipal Accountability Report timeline was discussed. 

Johnsrude noted the deadline for having the issues resolved was July. Plachner stated a timeline had been developed regarding meeting outstanding issues from said report.

She stated the code of conduct and peace officer issues would be presented at the March 17 regular council meeting, while the procedural bylaw would be presented at the April 21 meeting. 

The development of the Assessment Review bylaw would also be April 21, while the tax adjustment notice would be done in June. 

Johnsrude accepted the report as presented.

Infrastructure discussed

OA Johnsrude noted the topic of future infrastructure projects was also referred to this meeting. 

Benci reported a 2017 priorities report stated the street in front of the school was a priority, while Railway Ave. wasn’t. He added that Railway Ave. was on the list at the request of council. 

Benci’s recommendation was that the 2017 study is the one that should be followed.

Benci also noted he spoke to MPE Engineering and they told him the school street should be done before any new school is built.

Johnsrude also noted water infrastructure repairs, including a fire hydrant pump and hydrant repairs, were also on the list. 

He eventually moved and passed a motion that the village would meet with engineers to discuss a five-year capital plan.

Public Works expectations

Benci reported on his assignment to locate the village’s Public Works policy. 

Benci reported that he couldn’t find such a policy on file, and only found a job description for the department.

OA Johnsrude stated he’d requested the policy be located because he was curious to examine something that listed the department’s service levels or to be more specific a policy that identifies what services the Pubic Works department provides and what is included in these services.

Johnsrude stated the policy is not urgent but is important. He moved and passed a motion that village staff would present a draft Public Works policy at a future meeting, and Johnsrude would help staff work on it.


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.