Hanna Council working toward Canada Day celebrations

A special meeting of Hanna council was called for Wed. June 17 where it was decided to pursue Canada Day celebrations.

With regard to the proposed Operating Plans for Canada Day, council discussed options for the flag-raising and fireworks.

It was the consensus that administration work to hold both a flag-raising ceremony and fireworks display.

After contacting the company that does fireworks for the Town, the fireworks display will be at Fox Lake Park on June 30 at 11 p.m. and the flag-raising will be held at RCMP Park on July 1st at 11 a.m. Council passed resolutions as recommended by administration to the items listed above.

Summer budget adjustments

The town of Hanna revisited their 2020 Operating and Capital Budget that was originally passed on Dec. 10, 2019.

The approved 2020 Budget at that time would leave the Town with a surplus of $482.

It was further amended on May 12, 2020 at their regular council meeting but was needed to be looked at again after the government announced the second stage of the provincial relaunch to recover from the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

Council adopted these updated budgets as amended at their special meeting on Wed. June 17.

At the May 12, 2020 meeting Council adopted Spring Budget Adjustments to amend the 2020 Operating and Capital Budget to include current assessment values, requisitions and updated 2019 year-end information.

The spring budget adjustment increased the residential tax rate by 1 per cent and decreased the non-residential rate by 1 per cent.

Significant changes were made because of Provincial regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the assumption that facilities and programs would be closed or cancelled for the summer, which left a surplus of $151,169.

It was decided at that time to carry a significant surplus due to the ever-changing financial impacts of COVID-19 on Town operations.

On June 9, 2020, the Provincial Government announced the Stage 2 Relaunch Strategy to reopen businesses, resume activities and get people back to work throughout the situation.

The Stage 2 Relaunch included several public facilities originally planned to be included as part of Stage 3 Relaunch.

These public facilities included the swimming pool, Centennial Place, Arena, Curling Rink, Community Centre, and Visitor Information Centre.

At the June 9 Council Meeting, Administration was directed to prepare plans including budget adjustments required to open facilities in conjunction with Stage 2 of the Province of Alberta Relaunch Strategy for the COVID-19 recovery plan.

The following changes are proposed to the 2020 Operating and Capital Budget to allow the Town of Hanna to open and operate facilities within the COVID-19 regulations and guidelines.

Also included are adjustments in grant funds that have been confirmed, as well as updated expenses not related to COVID-19.

The net result of the above changes is that the accumulated surplus in this budget has been decreased from $151,169 to $20,413.

According to the Municipal Government Act, council must adopt a balanced budget for the municipality. Following the approval of the above amendments, the 2020 Operating and Capital Budget remains a balanced budget.

Public facilities relaunching 

Administration has been reviewing the revised documents COVID-19 Information “Guidance for Indoor Fitness and Recreation” and will be adopting COVID-19 Protocol – as per recommendations and guidelines.

This includes hand sanitizer, disinfecting on a regular basis and enhanced cleaning.

Information will be posted in several locations within the facility.

Thurs. June 25, is anticipated to be opening day.

The opening of this facility is more complicated because of its multiple uses.

It is anticipated that there will be reduced operating hours during the first month of operation to help ensure all the  Provincial protocols are being followed and to determine the demand for use.

Summer drop-in use is typically limited and as a result the initial opening of the facility will not allow any drop-in use.

As a result, it is expected that Bronze and Silver pass holders would not resume payment of their memberships until they have full access to the facility under normal operating conditions.

All users of the Fitness Centre will be required to make appointments to ensure that patrons can follow physical distancing protocols.

All users will be expected to disinfect all the equipment they have used with the Town providing the necessary supplies.

Throughout the day during times of non-use, staff will disinfect high touch-point areas.

The current operating plan would include opening the CanAlta Field House for limited use by Epic Adventures during weekdays.

Staff are comfortable that supervised programs such as Pickleball, Youth Club programs, and birthday rentals for families and cohort families can be safely operated, meeting COVID-19 protocols.

As a result, administration is not planning any drop-in use of the facility for the month of July at a minimum.

Administration has conducted an online survey focusing on the Epic Adventures program.

A total of 35 responses were received, indicating that 80 per cent of the respondents were looking for activities this summer for children ages 5 to 12 years of age.

The respondents also indicated that while some online programming was okay, they were looking for more programming that allowed children to be active.

The plan is to change our program from the traditional programming of previous years where the focus of the program will be on half-day or special event programs.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.