Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill reported that the Hanna Learning Centre (HLC) is moving their plans forward on the development of the Hanna Business Hub at the regular meeting of Hanna council on Oct. 8, as a result of the confirmed $673,000 through Western Economic Diversification with the federal government.
The Hub will provide a collaborative workspace that could be utilized on a small cost process by local home-based businesses, out of town business people, coworkers and contractors who work with local business, or sales persons.
The space would provide independent work-stations, small and large work tables and lounge style areas, wireless internet, conference room space that can be reserved, coffee and water service, washroom facilities, and a rentable secure lockable individual storage area could be added.
The meeting room would also have video conferencing capacity.
HLC is proposing leasing the building at 203 – 2nd Avenue West from the Town of Hanna.
The HLC has had the building inspected and a number of core pieces of the building are at the end of their lifecycle or will be soon.
These include the roof, furnace, air conditioner and hot water tank.
CAO Neill said that the roof is rolled asphalt and does not leak, but water does pool.
Neill noted that the Town of Hanna may investigate putting in a roof drain.
The Town will provide a $10,000 contribution towards the HLC leasehold improvements, specifically for wheelchair access and ramp at the front entrance, power front entrance door and additional access door at the rear.
The HLC is prepared to invest $100,000 in renovations including flooring, painting, lights and wall movement.
The HLC would like a 36 month lease on the structure at $2,000 per month.
The Hub will hire two staff persons to manage the project.
“The presentation given at the Centre today sounds exciting. We will all be proud,” Neill said.
Council unanimously approved the motion to lease this building to HLC for 36 months.
RCMP Stats for Third Quarter 2019
Sgt. Trent Sperlie, from the Hanna RCMP Detachment, presented the stats for the third quarter. Sgt. Sperlie explained that the numbers for Hanna are so low one can’t get an accurate accounting.
The primary concern in Hanna is break-ins.
Break and entry stats in the rural area surrounding Hanna are much higher and the focus throughout the province is on trying to curb property crime.
Sgt. Sperlie said, “Hanna is in a good spot, especially when compared to Drumheller and Red Deer.”
Responding to a question from Coun. Sandra Beaudoin, Sgt. Sperlie said thefts in Hanna are usually connected to drugs and he didn’t think drugs are being manufactured in Hanna but come in from another area.
Traffic citations are on the rise for 2019, keeping on par with provincial stats.
Sgt. Sperlie said the detachment is being proactive in traffic violations with members out as early as 5:30 a.m. watching for offenders.
Coun. Gerald Campion encouraged Sgt. Sperlie to be proactive and have speed bumps placed at every playground and school ground.
Sgt. Sperlie agreed the best incentive to keep speeders within the legal limit is to strategically place speed bumps.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill asked if the Detachment was fully staffed.
Sgt. Sperlie said it is close to a full complement and the newest member will complete training in roughly three months.
Plans are in the works for a full-time traffic member for this area.
Sgt. Sperlie concluded his message with, “Hanna is a great community.”
CAO Neill said that while the Provincial Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General are reviewing police costing models, meetings on this topic at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Conference indicate additional dollars spent by municipalities will mean additional resources.
Vern Thuroo, representing the Hanna Elks Lodge, attended the meeting to deliver a $3,200 cheque to ensure public skating at the Hanna Arena is free of charge for the 2019/2020 season.
It also acknowledges the commitment of the Elk’s membership toward this program since 2001.
In the past year, Elks members have donated over $5,400 and 560 volunteer hours to fund and support various Hanna Area programs including presenting scholarships to University students and promoting a food drive for the Hanna Food Bank.
Gowns for Grads, another Elk’s program, has Elks members soliciting donations of grad gowns then donating them to deserving grad students.
Members also work at fundraising barbecues and fly in breakfasts to fund other altruistic work like donating ice time for provincial playdowns.
In 2020, from Feb. 5-8, the Elks will host National Elks Curling Championships.
Thirty-two teams will compete in this tournament.
Mayor Chris Warwick thanked Mr. Thuroo for the cheque and said, “The Town of Hanna appreciates the great work done by the Elks in the Hanna community.”
Communities in Bloom
Communities in Bloom (CiB) member, visited the Hanna Council Chambers, asking the question, “Do you think the community buys into the concept of Communities in Bloom?”
Coun. Kyle Olsen said, “The same people that care will continue to care.”
Coun. Beaudoin suggested CiB try to move aggressively in the main problem area, which appears to be the industrial area.
Blocksom stated the committee is working hard discussing and developing ideas about promoting CiB in a positive way to get the public to “buy-in”.
In 2019, Hanna scored 84 per cent or Five Blooms Bronze with a special mention for the “Communities in Bloom’s Support of Tree Planting.”
Blocksom noted that the judges made a point of saying Hanna has come a long way since it first entered the National competition in 2015.
To reach the level of 5 Blooms Silver, a score of 87 per cent is required.
The evaluation criteria have six categories.
The categories and Hanna’s scores were: 84 per cent for tidiness, 82 per cent for environmental action, 84 per cent for heritage conservation, 84 per cent for urban forestry, 85 per cent for landscape, and 86 per cent for floral displays.
The ratings received in the six categories are considered good ratings; receiving consistent scores across the board so it is tough to focus on what would be considered a weaker category.
The Hanna in Bloom Committee has had a brief review of the report and will be making a recommendation on how to proceed in the future.
Director of Community Services Gwen Snell attended the national Communities in Bloom Conference in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and said the conference was very educational.
She networked with others whose towns are suffering from loss of resource dollars much like Hanna.
She reported Yarmouth is suffering from the loss of a ferry, therefore a loss of income from 1.5 million tourists a year.
Yarmouth citizens were encouraged to sign a contract with the town for improving the appearance of their properties, be it painting, installing a deck or planting trees.
This created income for town businesses.
Also, the community “adopt a tree” program in Yarmouth offers charitable receipts.
These ideas piqued Snell’s interest.
Rodeo sound system
Coun. Beaudoin said that at the Hanna Indoor Rodeo the sound system was not working at an acceptable level. Director of Community Services Gwen Snell noted that when ice is in the arena and the building is full of people the sound system is very functional.
Coun. Campion said that the confusion at the rodeo was compounded because the scoreboard was not working.
Snell concluded that she recently met with Peggy Rehill of the Rodeo Committee and agreed to work with that committee so next year’s rodeo does not have sound or scoreboard issues again.
Road rehabilitation update Administration has received a quote to mill and pave the bumps along 12th Avenue, Fox Lake Trail and Palliser Trail this fall (weather permitting) for approximately $25,000.
Administration, feeling this time sensitive work is a priority, will be making some changes to the existing operational budget to be able to fit this work in without requiring additional funds.
The funds will come from the sidewalk replacement program and the gravel budget.
This road rehabilitation work is presently underway.
Bursary recipients announced
Coun. Connie Deadlock reported that this bursary, initiated by past long-time residents Fred and Freda Geuder, is awarded to students based on need and academic standing.
Funding was provided from the estate of Mrs. Freda Geuder.
Each year, bursaries are awarded to three students in the amount of $1,500 each for a total award of $4,500.
The bursary committee for 2019 reviewed 18 applications and awarded the following students with a $1,500 bursary to continue their education: Sharanne LaClaire – Bachelor of Science: Nursing; Tyson Sabey – Bachelor of Science: Nursing; Lindsey Voltner – Bachelor of Science: Chemistry & Biology. Coun. Deadlock said the decision was difficult as there were plenty of excellent applicants.
Shallow gas tax relief
CAO Neill reported that pursuant to Section 347 of the Municipal Government Act, for Tax Roll 200800, there is now a Tax Relief program provided by Alberta Municipal Affairs.
The program provides industrial property tax relief to shallow gas producers affected by low market prices and protects municipalities from lost revenue.
The program will reduce property tax for owners of shallow gas wells and pipelines by 35 per cent for the 2019 tax year, providing short term relief to the producers.
Hanna has only one property affected by this program and the tax relief will total $560.34.
Council unanimously authorized the refund $560.34 of the 2019 property taxes to the property affected by this program.