Special Areas Advisory Council met last week before the busy summer season to discuss ongoing policy development and to tour a few major projects in the region.
June 19 saw the group of locally elected advisory councillors in Hanna to review the audited 2018 financial statements, discuss their current financial position, and to check in on policy work on public lands currently underway.
The group was happy to welcome Nolan Ball, Rangeland Agrologist for the Special Areas, to the meeting in the afternoon.
Ball – who was recently recognized by the Alberta Institute of Agrologists as the Outstanding Young Registered Technologist in Agrology for 2019 – received a warm round of applause to celebrate his achievement.
Presenting an analysis of the current uses and soil classifications of public lands in Special Areas, Ball provided detailed information on grazing and cultivation acres for the group.
Near the end of the day, members of the Hanna Climate Change Taskforce presented information on their Community Generation Capacity Building work, discussing current projects being developed.
The advisory council finished off the day talking about their work on other boards and committees, with topics ranging from seniors housing and medical clinics to endangered species and agricultural service boards.
Other areas of discussion included the Special Areas Water Supply Project (SAWSP), with the advisory council directing administration to undertake public consultation for the project this fall.
The morning of June 20 saw the group hop on a bus to tour projects currently underway throughout the region.
It was a full day for the group, with stops including the Westmoreland Coal Mine near Sheerness, Blood Indian Reservoir and Prairie Oasis Park, local road construction work on Laughlin/Klassen Road, and irrigation projects in the Carolside South Irrigation area.
Councillors from the Town of Oyen joined the group to tour through the Iron Horse Energy Services permanent site operating at the Oyen Rail Yard and Logistics Park.
The group finished off the tour with a visit to the Village of Cereal and True North Cannabis industrial hemp facility.
Shayne Hamilton (CEO) and Mike Tracy (COO) from True North led the group on a tour of the industrial hemp processing site, giving behind-the-scenes insights into the challenges and opportunities of the industrial hemp market.
The 2018 approved financial statements are available online at www.specialareas.ab.ca, along with information on 2019 projects, public consultations, and ratepayer meetings.
The next meeting of the Special Areas Advisory Council is planned for September, with the Special Areas Board meeting bi-monthly throughout the Special Areas.