Amalgamate, regionalize, or stay the course: Morinville to weigh options for the future

When Simon Boersma defeated incumbent Barry Turner to become mayor of Morinville earlier this fall, it marked a new beginning for the town as the longtime businessman takes the reins on council.

Boersma, who owns Pleasant Homes, spoke during the campaign about both amalgamation and regionalization as options for the town.

He initially approached town council in January 2020 about amalgamating with Sturgeon County, Bon Accord, Gibbons, Legal, and Redwater to become a specialized municipality, pointing to benefits including reduced administrative costs and an improved residential/non-residential tax split.

Boersma promised that, if elected, he'd look into amalgamation as well as exploring city status.

"The reason that I studied (those options) is because it was brought up by the past council," he told Taproot. "We have approached the 10,000-resident mark to become a city and when we look at those items, I think we need to look at all options that are on the table, and that's why we brought it forward right off the bat."

The third option is for Morinville to keep its status as a town.

Boersma declined to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of any of the options in detail, citing upcoming work with strategic planning. Discussions about the strategic plan will begin at the end of the month, but he wasn't sure if a firm decision on any of the three possibilities would be made as part of that process.

"We have some big decisions to make. We're looking at a long-term future for our community. I'm only one of the members, at the end of the day, as a vote," he said.

Simon Boersma

Simon Boersma defeated incumbent Barry Turner to become mayor of Morinville on Oct. 18, 2021.

During the election, St. Albert Today reported that Boersma would seek to reverse the town's decision to begin the three-year process to leave Edmonton Global. He told Taproot that he is planning to speak to council about the topic and said he wants to find out how residents benefit from the town's membership in the organization.

"Going into the election, you don't always have that inside information. Knowing the amounts of money that are going in, some of that stuff you don't find out until you are elected," he explained.

As Boersma settles into his new role, he said it'll be key for the town's council to work as a team to move the community forward. He's also started meeting with other mayors in the region to start conversations about working together.

"I'm looking forward to working with all the mayors to ensure that we are all viable within the region. Morinville has massive impact within the region and I want to make sure that that stays that way."