It was one year ago this month that we entered the COVID-19 pandemic.
I know it has been a very challenging year for all of us and we are all experiencing COVID fatigue.
There are some positives on the vaccine front with Health Canada recently approving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
With increases in vaccinations, and the weather improving we can be outdoors more which has us optimistic that we will see an easing of restrictions similar to the spring of 2020.
Facilities are seeing activity with minor hockey able to resume practices and figure skating lessons occurring with restrictions.
Adult sports are still not able to take place until we reach Step 3 of the Government of Alberta’s Moving Forward Safely plan. As of this writing, we are in Step 2.
Step 2 affects Centennial Place. The Fitness Center and the Cervus Equipment Walking Track can now be opened and used with restrictions for low intensity workouts only.
Bookings, although restricted, can be made for the Fitness Center and the Walking Track.
Moving to Step 3 is based on several factors including the number of hospitalizations remaining stable and reducing over a period of time. Each step eases restrictions in different areas including sports, places of worship, libraries and others.
There are four steps, and there is a minimum of three weeks between each step.
I encourage residents to continue with what they have been doing because there are zero cases in Special Areas 2. You have done an exceptional job to contain the spread of this contagious virus.
Administration and staff will continue to monitor the COVID-19 guidelines set out by the province to be well prepared as restrictions are adjusted.
The provincial budget was announced and one of the items the elected officials and town administration watch closely is the availability of Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding.
This funding is crucial to addressing Hanna’s infrastructure deficit.
The 2021 budgeted allotment for Hanna is larger than the amount received in 2020, which is good news, but in 2022 and 2023 it is projected that this funding will be significantly reduced, which is very concerning.
Council and administration will continue their diligence and history of capitalizing on these funding opportunities now and in the future.
Stay safe and be well.
by Chris Warwick, Mayor