Hanna Council: Purchasing policy reviewed; focus on local

At the request of Coun. Angie Warwick, the Town of Hanna’s Purchasing Policy, with a focus on local procurement, was brought up for discussion at the May 29 regular council meeting.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill highlighted that staff had previously raised questions about the policy, suggesting that a discussion would help clarify its guidelines and boundaries.

“Where do we draw the line between getting the best value for our service and supporting locals?” he asked.

Coun. Warwick shared that she had received complaints about the town’s purchasing practices, emphasizing that local businesses are crucial to the community and provide essential services, stressing the need for the council to assess how they can better support local businesses.

“We need to seriously consider what we, as a council, give back to our community,” said Warwick.

CAO Neill mentioned that the majority of supplies and materials were bought locally with Mayor Danny Povashuck supporting this, noting that 90-97 percent of consumables are sourced from local businesses.

Warwick pointed out the difference between purchasing items and services, especially during emergencies when local businesses are relied upon.

“What kind of value do we put on our community, the people in our community, and the businesses in our community?” she wondered.

Coun. Sandra Beaudoin expressed frustration over the expectation for local businesses to donate while residents purchase products from outside the community for events.

Coun. Sandra Murphy was dismayed by the practice of shopping from Amazon or Walmart, but Mayor Povashuck countered that cost savings for the town should be a priority.

Coun. Fred Crowle added that even when products are sourced externally, they are often still purchased through local businesses, thus supporting them indirectly.

Coun. Murphy agreed, noting that issues can be resolved more easily when dealing with local suppliers.

CAO Neill underscored the importance of supporting local businesses, even at higher costs, as they play a vital role in the community. He pointed out that while most supplies are locally sourced, larger items often are not, and he sought more direction on what is acceptable in the town’s purchasing policy.

Council motioned to have administration draft a revised purchasing policy for review at a future meeting.

Downtown project
Construction for the downtown redevelopment project is set to begin on Mon. June 10

with the first phase targeting the 200 block of Second Avenue West and the intersection at the Town Office, extending one block east. The section would be closed to traffic for approximately six to eight weeks with a temporary boardwalk that would provide pedestrian access.

Phase two would follow with a timeline of approximately six to eight weeks and phase three anticipated to start early to mid September.

An open house was held on May 28 at the Town Office and was attended by representatives from Brooks Asphalt and Aggregate Ltd, MPE, and the town administration to address questions or concerns of the redevelopment project.

Three businesses attended, seeking information about service access during construction.

CAO Neill noted that disruptions would be minimal, with reduced access for five to six weeks and that businesses should rarely experience a complete lack of access.

Kitchen project
The kitchen renovation remains incomplete at the Hanna Community Centre.

Outstanding tasks include finishing the stainless steel work between the exhaust hood and the roof, as well as adding a backsplash, a new tap system and new storage containers.

It was noted by some council members that several community members have complained about the kitchen renovations, citing inadequate dishwasher capacity and storage space.

“Some people felt they were not consulted,” Coun. Sandra Beaudoin noted with CAO Neill stating that local caterers were invited to the initial planning phase but did not attend.

“I am not hearing anything positive about this as well,” Coun. Warwick added, noting that it was interesting to hear negative comments after all the money spent modernizing the kitchen.

“We are open and willing to listen to their concerns,” insisted Neill, emphasizing that the town would be open to making adjustments to better meet user needs.

Animal control bylaw
Council noted that more preparation time would be needed to draft the public engagement plan for urban hens, delaying a public hearing until after the August council meeting.

If adopted, public engagement is expected between Aug. 19 and Sept. 11, with the second and possible third reading of Bylaw 1035-2024 – The Animal Control Bylaw scheduled for the October 15 regular council meeting.

Council motioned to accept the information as presented.

Cheryl Bowman
Multimedia Reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Cheryl Bowman

Cheryl spent most of her childhood in Stettler, growing up on a quarter section north of town. After graduating from Stettler Composite High School she moved to Calgary where she worked in various industries, attended The University of Calgary and raised a family.

She enjoyed volunteering and contributed in a variety of ways, such as writing articles for the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and covering charitable events as a photographer.

She moved back to Stettler in 2023 where she still has family.