Foot traffic only every other Friday for downtown Hanna business discovery

Tammy MacMillan, Hanna Hub Business Concierge and Mark Nikota, Cactus Corridor Economic Development Corporation Manager, asked for the town’s permission to close the 100 Block of 2nd Ave. W. to allow foot traffic only, every other Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning June 26 and ending Aug. 21.

Barriers would be erected, and outdoor seating would conform to the current Alberta COVID-19 pandemic guidelines.

The intended purpose is to encourage residents and visitors to stop, visit and discover what the downtown businesses have to offer.

Hanna Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill said administration has no concerns about the shutdown and encouraged all businesses to interact to ensure these Fridays are a success.

Coun. Connie Deadlock raised the question of the cost of insurance.

The businesses that are a part of this initiative would be required to have the Town of Hanna added as an additional insured to their liability insurance.

Council approved a motion allowing administration to set up a process that will allow businesses the use of on-street parking stalls adjacent to their property for outdoor seating areas.

The respective business will be responsible for providing and taking down their respective barricades.

They will also be responsible for cleaning up any garbage that is created as a result of the use of the outdoor space.

The motion was carried.

Highway 9 millings

CAO Neill reported Alberta Transportation is moving forward with plans to reconstruct a portion of Highway 9 between Hanna and Youngstown this summer.

The town is in favour of receiving approximately 45,000 cubic metres of asphalt millings from this reconstruction to be stored in the Public Works yard.

This material may be used as a gravel replacement on several projects.

Reduced penalty charges

Council gave first, second and third reading to the Tax Payment Bylaw.

At the May 27 council Information Meeting, council discussed the financial hardship many citizens were enduring because of the economic hit regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hanna’s property tax deadline will remain Aug. 31. The 2020 property taxes outstanding after Aug. 31 will be subject to a four per cent penalty on Sept. 1; a second four per cent penalty Oct. 1.

A five per cent penalty will be imposed on Jan. 1, 2021 on any taxes owing after Dec. 31, 2020.

CAO Neill said in an effort to make bill payments easier for property owners, changes have been made to the town financial systems, and they can now accept e-transfers as a method of payment for invoices, including utility and tax billings.

Hanna spray park

The Hanna Spray Park Committee has executed a contract with PlayQuest Recreation for the construction of a spray park at the RCMP Park.

Completion is expected in late fall of 2020.

An area in the park has been staked with some additional paint markings to indicate the actual physical space required.

Administration has reviewed the contract with the committee and believes the installation of a Debris and Rainwater Control System should be included in the initial construction.

The contract signed provided the option to add this as an additional item in the contract to the amount of $17,656.

Administration believes without the Debris and Rainwater Control System in place there will be an increase in downtime for the spray park, and an increase in maintenance time which will be the responsibility of the town.

The Town of Hanna will contribute the required funds from accumulated surplus if the control system increases the cost of the Hanna Spray Park in excess of the $400,000 budget.”

Councillors Campion, Deadlock, Stickel, Jensen, Olsen and Mayor Warwick voted in favour. Coun. Beaudoin opposed.

Phase 2 relaunch

CAO Neill reported that late in the afternoon of June 9, the date of the June Regular Council Meeting, the Alberta Government announced Phase 2 of the Relaunch to take effect June 12.

Council and administration were surprised by the scope of the relaunch as many restrictions previously thought to last until September 2020 will be lifted early.

This relaunch has allowed the local swimming pool to reopen, and Gwen Snell reported her staff are ‘really excited’ about the announcement and are willing to do whatever it takes to have town-owned facilities re-open.

Council agreed to CAO Neill’s request for time to put a plan together and requested council meet June 17 to discuss strategy, a plan and amend the operating budget required to re-open publicly-owned facilities.

COVID-19 crisis

Coun. Larry Stickel reported that the Lodge is able to relax the shutdown rules and it is anticipated that soon new residents could move in.

Coun. Olsen reported that although the real estate market was slow before the lock-down, the province has started announcing relaunch strategies meaning real estate in Hanna is starting to sell, particularly for dwellings under $160,000.

RCMP report

Sgt. Trent Sperlie gave an overview of the Hanna Detachment Policing Survey compiled in conjunction with RCMP Open Houses in Richdale, Youngstown, Hanna and Craigmyle.

Most of the citizens responding to the survey were Hanna residents with the most concerns focused on property crimes, both rural and urban.

Use or abuse of substances such as liquor, cannabis or opiates was the next greatest concern.

Urban and rural traffic violations also scored high on resident concerns.

Examples of traffic concerns included impaired driving, speeding, distracted driving, non-compliance with traffic signs, stunting, loud exhaust, street racing, and drivers not obeying school bus protocols such as stopping when the school bus lights are flashing.

Sgt. Sperlie said the Hanna Detachment set a goal to reduce the number one priority, property crimes, by 26 per cent in 2020, however, a crime spree four nights in a row in May has made this goal for 2020 now unattainable.

He added that people have been charged regarding this crime spree.

However, there is concern because the courts often release offenders before their court date even though a lot of time and money has been spent investigating their wrongdoings.

The survey asked citizens what the RCMP did well in the community.

Responses reflected the positive effect on Hanna of officers getting out in the town and volunteering, attending community and school events, and just generally interacting with people around town including children, seniors, and youth.

 

Eileen Morrill

ECA Review

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