At Morinville Council: LAV III project returns, and new traffic safety plan

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LAV III project returns

Town council was set to decide this Tuesday on whether or not to green-light a military monument next to Morinville’s new rec-centre.

Morinville council was scheduled to debate a recommendation Tuesday after press time to reserve part of the town’s rec-centre lands for a proposed LAV III monument, one that would be built beside the rec-centre building.

Council agreed to consider the motion last week during committee of the whole at the request of town resident Jayson Wood, who spoke to council alongside Edmonton Garrison commander Col. Scott McKenzie and Morinville members Simon Boersma and Gord Putnam to ask for their support of a LAV III monument.

Canada Company (a national charity that supports the armed forces) has been converting retired LAV III military vehicles for use as monuments across Canada. Airdrie, Fort McMurray, and Lacombe now have such monuments, Wood told council.

Wood tried to convince council to back such a monument in 2016, but the project stalled after costs ballooned to an estimated $150,000, prompting council to pull its support.

In an interview, Wood said he decided to revive the project this year after McKenzie expressed support for it.

Unlike his first attempt, Wood told council that he was not asking the town to put any money towards this monument.

“The only ask is for the land itself.”

Wood said he had arranged in-kind donations to cover about 80 per cent of the monument’s costs, and that the Rotary Club had signed on to lead the fundraising efforts. Should the land be arranged, Rotary and the town would sit down to figure out how to cover the rest of the costs, which related to landscaping, transportation, and permits.

Wood said that the LAV III was the workhorse of the Canadian army, and that having a monument of one here would honour the thousands of Canadian soldiers killed or wounded in Afghanistan.

Many town residents are current or former soldiers, and having this monument would let them show their families the vehicles they used in the field, McKenzie said.

“I’m one of those guys who’s got a couple tours in Afghanistan,” he said, as well as a toddler who’s not yet old enough to understand what his dad did over there.

“I look forward to the day when I can take him to a monument like that and explain what his daddy did, what his dad was proud of, and some of the guys daddy served alongside.”

In an interview, Mayor Barry Turner said this project was worth a second look, as Rotary’s involvement would bring structure and community support to it.

Wood said that the monument could be delivered by late fall should council approve the land request.

Questions on the project should go to lav3project@gmail.com

Traffic safety planned

Morinville will cut its number of injury-causing collisions in half by 2021 under its new traffic safety plan, council heard last week.

Morinville peace officer Sgt. William Norton presented the 2018-2021 traffic safety plan to council last week during committee of the whole.

Communities are required by provincial law to have traffic safety plans if they employ peace officers, Norton said in an interview. The town switched to one-year plans from three-year ones in 2016, but those plans were mostly anecdotal and lacked firm targets and recommendations.

This new three-year plan sets out specific safety objectives for Morinville and actions to take to reach them, Norton said.

“We want to keep our fatalities at zero and we want to reduce our injury collisions by half,” he said.

The plan says that the town will aim to have no more than five injury collisions and 100 motor vehicle collisions by 2021, and will have its peace officers provide at least 25 hours of traffic safety education to residents per year.

Officers are to use social media and candy-cane check stops to ramp up awareness of distracted driving legislation, patrol school zones on a daily instead of weekly basis, implement a community-wide “point, pause, and proceed” program, and award 50 positive tickets to youths a year. They are also to hold at least one “Option 4” program a year, which is where people can attend a training seminar instead of paying a traffic ticket.

The plan can be found in the agenda package for the Feb. 20 committee of the whole meeting at morinville.ca.

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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.