The Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce is hosting an all-candidates forum for the Morinville council election this Sept. 27 at the Community Cultural Centre from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Candidates should call 780-939-9462 to register.
Morinville has a new mayor-elect as of this week, and also has a race for council.
Former town councillor Barry Turner was acclaimed mayor-elect of Morinville as of the close of nominations noon on Monday after no one else applied for the job.
Reached minutes later outside town council chambers, Turner said he was still in a state of shock and disbelief at this result, as he had been expecting to fight an election.
“I always love a good election. There’s nothing better than to knock on doors.”
While he would have loved to have gotten in through a vote, Turner said he thanked town residents for the support they’ve given him over the last 16 years he’d been in office, and vowed to carry out the responsible, engaged leadership he promised.
“I really believe in the notion of servant leadership,” he said, where the mayor serves the will of council and the community instead of pushing his or her own agenda.
“When you’re mayor of a community, you’ve got to put all that aside.”
Turner said he wasn’t yet sure what he’d do for the rest of the election.
“My plans were pretty solid up until 15 minutes ago,” he said, as he had planned to spend the rest of today putting out election signs.
“I’ll take today to maybe celebrate a little bit and go from there.”
Turner said he’d be interested in taking part in the Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce election forum next Wednesday somehow if the organizers let him.
As mayor, he said he hoped to challenge administration to close the gap between its budget estimates and actual costs to ensure the town was charging the right tax rate, and to review the town’s capital plans to find alternate sources of money for projects to account for the new rec-centre debt over the next 10 years.
Lisa Holmes, who is still the town’s mayor until Turner is sworn in on Oct. 24, congratulated him on his win.
“Barry has been a valued member of council and will do a terrific job as mayor,” she said in an email.
“His love of Morinville is clear and strong, so I have complete faith he is up to the task.”
Seven people are running for six council seats in Morinville, reports returning officer Holly Rogoschewsky: Rebecca Balanko, Nicole Boutestein, Stephen Dafoe, Lawrence Giffin, Sarah Hall, Neil McDougall, and Scott Richardson.
McDougall, 76, said he decided to run the day before Nomination Day, as he was concerned all of council would be acclaimed otherwise.
“I though it was important for somebody to step up to the plate,” he said, especially since Morinville would soon have to grapple with the question of city status as it approaches 10,000 people.
A retired salesperson for Edmonton Telephones Corporation, McDougall pointed to his customer service experience and service on the Sturgeon County subdivision and development appeal board and its assessment review board as reasons why he would make an effective councillor. He was also an active member of the Morinville Lions, Morinville Fish and Game, and Morinville Legion organizations.
McDougall said he would carry out the will of town residents if elected, voting how the majority wanted.
“It’s not about what I think; it’s about what they want.”
If elected, McDougall said that, following consultation with residents, he would seek to improve the town’s sidewalks and reconsider the seven roundabouts in the Highway 642 Functional Planning Study.