Morinville will have an actual mayoral race during this fall’s election now that Barry Turner has officially stepped up to defend his title.
Turner, the current mayor of Morinville, confirmed to The Gazette Aug. 12 that he is running for re-election during the 2021 municipal election Oct. 18.
Married with three children, Turner, 47, was acclaimed as mayor in the 2017 election. If re-elected, he would enter his seventh non-consecutive term on town council and his second as mayor.
Turner cited his 20 years on town council, decades of work with local community organizations (such as the Morinville Fish and Game Association), and his record this last term as reasons to give him another chance.
Turner said council’s last term was a historic one that included the opening of two new schools, Paul Krauskopf Court, and the Morinville Leisure Centre, the latter of which opened on time and slightly under budget.
“There’s been a lot accomplished this term, but there is still more work to go.”
Turner said council recently signed a cost-sharing agreement with Sturgeon County that will see the county contribute about $835,000 a year in capital and operational dollars to support local recreation. Council also convinced the county to chip in $500,000 toward construction of the town’s leisure centre. The Morinville Leisure Centre itself has been a boon to community sports and fitness and brought new facilities, such as a fieldhouse, to town.
Turner said council pared back expenses to focus on core services during the pandemic and created new permits and supports to help companies shift to curbside delivery.
“It’s been a challenge for the entire community,” he said of the pandemic, and he is extremely proud of the resilience shown by town residents.
Turner said his priority if re-elected, is to continue to build a sustainable, collaborative community, particularly in terms of taxation. The town’s old equalized mill rate put an extra $200,000 a year onto the residential tax base, and it is vital that the town use its new split-mill rate to even out this tax burden.
“We need to continue to move that split-mill rate up,” he said, and to keep pushing it toward the regional average.
Turner said he hopes to hold regular roundtables with community groups to address shared challenges, such as volunteer retention and fundraising, if re-elected. He will also address traffic safety trouble-spots identified by the town’s pedestrian safety review, which is now in progress.
Turner said he is thankful for the trust the community placed in him back in 2017 and is glad to have a chance to run against someone this time around.
“I always look forward to those conversations with the community.”
Also officially in the Morinville council race, as of Aug. 13, are mayoral candidate Simon Boersma, and council candidate Alan Otway. Councillors Sarah Hall and Scott Richardson have unoffically declared plans to run in the election.
Visit morinville.ca/en/town-hall/election.aspx for the full list of candidates.