Morinville needs to think regional if it wants a pool and more economic development, says Coun. David Pattison.
Pattison, 59, told the Gazette this week that he’ll seek a second term on town council during this fall’s election. The 25-year town resident joined council in 2010, and works as a land-use planner with the province.
Pattison said he heard a clear call for more business development in town during the last campaign, and lobbied hard for it during the last term. “I think we finally got council agreeable this term to pursue economic development.”
One big step was the hiring of a dedicated economic development officer, Pattison said – a position he pushed for while in office. “When you look at towns that succeed at economic development, they have someone or have an organization who works very aggressively on looking at business attraction.” Yet for decades, Morinville has been the largest community he knew of in Alberta without such a position.
Town administrators finished interviews for the economic development officer earlier this summer, Pattison said, and the officer should be on the job before the election.
“You need to have council very engaged to make this work,” he continued. He hoped to work closely next term with local businesses, the economic development officer and the public to create a business development plan for the town, one that would ID the specific businesses the town wanted the officer to go out and get – a hotel, for example.
This plan would also highlight the town’s competitive advantages. “When’s the last time someone approached your company and said, ‘When are you planning to expand in Morinville?’” asked Pattison. The town needed to get out and let companies know about opportunities for them in Morinville, he said.
Residents also want a new arena and pool, Pattison said, which the town should get through regional partnerships. Communities much smaller than Morinville have pools, he noted, and the town could muster the population studies suggest is needed to support one if it partners with local governments. “It’s very clear that we need to start doing some things on a much broader regional basis.”
Pattison said he was disappointed that council wanted to suspend further planning for its parks system. “I can tell you where the road improvements are being done on an annual basis,” he said. “Why can’t I do that on the parks side?” He wanted council to create a more detailed plan for the parks and facilities it would build in the next few years.
Pattison said he spent about 18 years as a member and chair of the town’s Municipal Planning Commission prior to his time on council, and has been an accredited economic development officer and planner for decades. He has also completed the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association’s Elected Official Education program.
Pattison said residents should support him because he has stuck by his beliefs while on council, as shown by his voting record, and because he has helped keep taxes low. “I’m looking forward to working with council to keep Morinville growing.”
The Gazette will profile other candidates as they come forward.