Hanna town council heard from resident and business owner, Deb Clark on three issues of concern at their regular March 14 council meeting.
Clark spoke on the issues regarding moving up the fall rummage sale to an earlier date.
The issue was raised in last month’s council meeting with Hanna Minor Hockey making a request to council to have the Hanna Auxiliary move their rummage sale forward one week.
Clark noted that not only the rummage sale but rodeo, funerals, and graduations, all work together to make use of the arena.
The Hospital Auxiliary puts “$50,000 plus annually into the Hanna hospital and long-term care” noting she wouldn’t want to see anything jeopardize that.
Also included in the council package was a letter from the president and the past president of the Hanna Ladies Auxiliary outlining all the monies raised and used in the community for the hospital and long-term care.
Minor Hockey spokesperson, Don Boos spoke to the concern stating that over the last 20 years minor hockey has had to rent ice elsewhere for three weekends in the fall, mainly in Drumheller, at a cost of $6,000.
“Three weeks in September is a lot of money being funnelled out of the community. We are trying to find a way to keep that $6,000 in our pockets, in the town’s pockets.”
He stated they were hoping to find different solutions.
He shared some thoughts that moving the rummage sale to the end of August would alleviate some concerns raised at last month’s meeting regarding timing in relation to income cheques.
He added, “At the end of August kids are getting back to school, lots of stuff families are looking for, more people are around to assist at the end of August and minor sports has helped and would make themselves available.
“Just wanted to put out more info about our thoughts and hopefully maybe something in the future can be worked out,” stated Boos.
Sammi-Jo Lee also spoke up noting that Hockey Alberta is setting the “date sooner and sooner for us to go. These are all coming from the city, they get their ice year-round, but she reinforced the volunteering that Hanna Minor Hockey does around the community.
“We understand the good that comes from the rummage sale, we have offered our services to help clean it up, set it up,” Lee added. “Hanna Hockey is not the enemy in this, we fully support it.”
Coun. Angie Warwick noted that the J.C. Charyk Hockey Academy would benefit from more ice time as well. The academy is a credit program that offers students the opportunity for skills development on and off the ice.
“That’s a tough one and so it’s really hard,” said Coun. Sandra Beaudoin, “It doesn’t matter who we choose, somebody is going to be disappointed.”
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill concluded this discussion noting that depending on the desire and wishes of council, anything can be on a trial or conditional basis.
Two other of Clark’s issues involved decisions made before this council that included the taxpayer’s cost of $413,000 for demolition of five properties the town took over due to non-payment of taxes.
“Is the town council looking into this and how to try and prevent this in the future? I find it odd that property owners employed by the town of Hanna was one of the property owners and while being paid by the town, by us, to clean it up.”
Clark also asked that properties that go into arrears need to be made public to keep the town fair to all citizens.
“The kind of information that comes to light to town council shouldn’t be used for personal gain of only a few,” said Clark.
The second issue raised was regarding the town forgiving loans, stating the golf course as an example.
“How far do we go, who gives them, do we get any say?”
Council did not address the last two issues.
Council passed second and third reading of a proposed amendment to the Advertising Bylaw that states the town has nine options of publishing information.
Kim stated, the town has statutory requirements under the Municipal Government Act (MGA) for advertising public hearings, resolutions, meetings, election material, etc. but the MGA has provided other avenues than print “in an attempt to reduce costs”.
Listed in the bylaw is the use of electronic postings on the Town of Hanna’s social media sites, referring interested parties to the town’s website, and electronic newsletters.
Kim stated that the town has wanted to support the local Hanna Herald but now that has ceased its print publication the amended bylaw outlines various alternative methods of advertising but council must prove that other methods are reaching the attention of substantially all residents in the area.
In the meantime, the Town of Hanna will be doing a 6-month trial using multiple methods of communication with Hanna residents, one of which is regular advertising in the print editions of the East Central Alberta (ECA) Review, noted Laurie Armstrong in a follow-up interview by the ECA Review.
Carol Lenfesty, in attendance in the gallery, spoke to council reiterating the importance of print advertising for seniors who are not on social media platforms.