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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 06:00 am

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More forgiveness for seed plant

The Morinville seed plant is once again off the hook for paying off a loan from Sturgeon County, and county council may soon waive the rest of payments altogether.

County council voted unanimously at its regular meeting Tuesday to approve the Morinville Municipal Seed Cleaning Co-op’s request for forgiveness on its May 1, 2014 loan repayment of $16,700. The motion means the co-op won’t have to make the payment.

The county and the province each have a one-third stake in the co-op.

This is the fifth consecutive time that the county has forgiven the company of making payments on the $150,000 it loaned them in 2009 to upgrade its operations.

A letter to the county from plant manager Joanne Borle said that the company wanted the payment forgiven so it can stay competitive, as it had taken out another $325,000 loan this year to install a new colour sorter.

Coun. Jerry Kaup, who sits on the Morinville Seed Cleaning Plant committee, initially moved to have the county forgive the loan entirely – a move last considered in 2011.

“We are still a rural municipality,” he said, and other municipalities provide much more support to their seed plants.

Forgiving this loan would be “miniscule” compared to the county’s other expenditures, he argued.

“We have to support our seed plant a little more than we do.”

Forgiving the rest of the loan to the plant this year would cost the county roughly $66,800, a report to council suggested.

But other councillors were leery of that move, wanting to see more complete financial statements from the group first.

Coun. Susan Evans said she wanted to know more about how such a move would affect the county’s finances first.

“That’s a huge amount,” she said.

Wojtkiw noted that council had not budgeted to forgive the entirety of the loan this year, but had planned to forgive about $15,000. If it forgives the whole loan now, the rest of the cash would have to come from reserves.

Kaup agreed with these criticisms and tabled a new motion to forgive this year’s loan payment and to call for proper financial statements from the co-op – reporting that could lead to the county forgiving the rest of the loan next year.

Starkey back on schedule

Construction work on Starkey Road should now be underway after some land issues delayed the start of work.

Sturgeon County contractors started work on the rebuild of Starkey Road earlier this month.

Originally scheduled to start after the May long weekend, the project got held up due to some land issues, said county Mayor Tom Flynn.

Starkey Road is a two-lane collector near the Sturgeon Valley Golf & Country Club used by residents to get to Highway 37. It’s been plagued for years by cracks, bumps and collisions due to tight turns, heavy traffic and a sub-par subsurface.

“That road was just not standing up to the traffic there,” Flynn said.

Crews plan to widen and rebuild the road this summer. They will also add turning lanes and a multiuse trail – all steps meant to make the road more durable and safe.

Flynn said crews might have to divert traffic around at points during this summer, and might temporarily convert Starkey into a one-way road (where cars from different directions take turns using it).

It’s short-term traffic pain for long-term gain, Flynn said.

“(Residents) are going to have a good quality road that we’re not repairing annually.”

Visit sturgeoncounty.ca for details.


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