Morinville town council should hold neighbourhood meetings to give residents more voice in town operations, says a council candidate.
Incumbent Morinville Coun. Nicole Boutestein said last week she would run for a fourth consecutive term on town council in this fall’s municipal election.
“I absolutely love it,” she said of the job, and she wants to make sure Morinville doesn't lose its small-town feel as it continues to grow.
First elected in 2013, Boutestein has lived in Morinville for 42 years and, up until recently, worked for Jostens Canada.
While she said she felt “robbed” of two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, Boutestein said she did much in the last term to improve the town’s trail system, having worked with council to complete trail links to the Morinville Leisure Centre and along 100 Street.
“It’s great to have paid sports, as in hockey and soccer, but there are people in town that can’t afford [them],” Boutestein said.
“We need more affordable programming for people that’s not going to cost them $1,000 per child.”
Boutestein said she is lobbying to add horseshoe pits and other free recreational facilities to the Morinville Leisure Centre lands, the development of which has been held back due to the pandemic. She also worked with council to renovate the splash park and build a new outdoor rink by the old Ray McDonald Sports Centre.
Boutestein said council has to do more to improve communications with residents, and hopes to convince councillors to hold community forums in various neighbourhoods to hear directly from the people who live in them.
She takes pride in reaching out to residents in person and by email, phone, and social media, and last term had administration include information about community events with household water bills to reach out to every home.
“We need to be able to have those conversations face-to-face,” she said, and do more than just chat over social media.
If re-elected, Boutestein said she will seek to maintain town events, such as the French Heritage Celebration, Oktoberfest, and Light Up the Night, which she feels are integral to the town’s identity.
She will support reconstruction efforts for St. Jean Baptiste Church and efforts to rename town streets, such as the proposal to dub 101 Avenue Veteran’s Way. She will also continue to work on the town’s relationships with its neighbours and work with administration to promote economic development.
Nominations for town council are due Sept. 20. Visit www.morinville.ca/en/town-hall/election.aspx for details.