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    Categories: Local News

At Morinville Council: LAV III lands approved, and new top cop

LAV III rolling out

Morinville’s rec-centre lands will soon be the home of a military monument, council has decided.

Council voted 6-1 in favour of setting aside an unspecified part of the 77-acre rec-centre lands for a proposed LAV III military monument last Feb. 27, with Coun. Nicole Boutestein opposed.

Flanked by CFB base commander Col. Scott McKenzie and members of the Morinville Rotary Club, town resident Jayson Wood asked council to set aside land for the monument project at a committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 20.

Council heard that Canada Company (the group manufacturing the monument) needed that land earmarked before it would approve Wood’s application, and that it could have the monument built as early as this fall. Wood also told council that he was working with the town’s Rotary Club to fund-raise for the project.

Boutestein was deeply skeptical of Wood’s request, saying that he presented no hard evidence of the project’s cost or backing.

“We’ve had seven days from last Tuesday to today basically to put this through based on a presentation that had no facts. It was all hearsay,” she said.

Council voted 1-6 against her proposal to instead work with Rotary on a monument that would honour firefighters, police, and military members (Boutestein in favour).

While Coun. Lawrence Giffin initially moved to designate land near the southwest corner of the rec-centre area for the monument, town chief administrative officer Andy Isbister said that spot was near the Legal water line and had no road access. Council supported an amendment by Coun. Stephen Dafoe to determine the precise location of the monument on the rec-centre lands later.

In a 5-2 vote, council backed Coun. Sarah Hall’s move to have council specify that they would provide land, but not money, to this project, provided that council get final say over the project’s design and have a liaison with the project team (Boutestein and Coun. Rebecca Balanko opposed).

Boutestein argued that reserving land could create a precedent for other community groups, and noted the town’s historical and festival societies had previously asked council to reserve spots for an outdoor museum and logger sports complex on the rec-centre lands.

“What you do for one you do for all.”

Mayor Barry Turner said the rec-centre was a great opportunity for the town to show its support for Morinville’s military community. This project was also backed by Rotary, which has completed community projects such as the town’s splash park and Rotary Park in the past.

“I know we’re short on details, I know there’s work to do, but I feel there are appropriate conditions in place.”

In an interview, Wood said he was happy with council’s decision and would now work to solidify the project’s in-kind donations.

New top cop

Morinville has a new sheriff in town, and he’s from St. Albert.

Town council received the 2017 crime stats report from outgoing Morinville RCMP commander Sgt. Dale Kendall and her replacement, Sgt. Chris Palfy, last Feb. 27.

Kendall has left Morinville for a new post at Edmonton’s K-Division. Palfy took over as the town’s top cop Monday.

“I leave with mixed emotions, as this has truly been a highlight of my career,” Kendall said.

A St. Albert resident, Palfy has served 20 years with the RCMP in St. Albert, Strathcona County, Edmonton, and other parts of Alberta, and said he was excited to have the chance to run his own detachment.

“I’d love to have the job (permanently) but that’s beyond my control,” he said.

Kendall told council that property and persons crime in Morinville rose 8.4 and 4.8 per cent last year, respectively. These were very minor increases compared to the rest of the province, she added.

Kendall emphasized the importance of locking doors and cars to make neighbourhoods less attractive to thieves.

“It takes a whole community in order to prevent crime.”

Turner thanked Kendall for making a difference in Morinville and presented her with two commemorative portraits of the town.

Kevin Ma :Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.