A smiling Jaala Hill kept the promise she made to the Hanna Council in July and returned to the council chambers for the Sept. 10 meeting to present a show of photos from her visit to Wake, Japan as part of the Hanna/Wake Student Exchange Program.
Hill said that during her visit to Japan, she was honoured to meet the mayor of Wake.
Hill also visited several temples and was hosted by an elementary school where she watched the students ride unicycles.
She visited Tokyo Disneyland, walked on a hanging bridge, and had several visits to a “really big” mall.
The exchange student was hosted by five different families during her twenty-day stay in Japan.
Hill and a 16-year-old girl from one of the host families ventured together by train to Yokohama, Japan.
Food was not a problem for her as the folks in Wake prepared food she liked and on one occasion Hill cooked a Canadian meal for her host family.
Hill did learn a little of the language and can greet another with “Hi” in the Japanese tongue.
In response to a question from Coun. Sandra Beaudoin, Hill acknowledged that this was her first trip away without her family and although she had fun and time seemed to fly, she missed her family.
As the exchange visit came to a close, she said that she was ready to come home. Jada Hill, Hill’s mother, said that with modern technology she and her daughter were able to keep in touch throughout her visit which helped make this a really good experience for her daughter.
Jada said because of the new experiences her children gained through her family being a host family, she would “do it again in a heartbeat.’’
Hill said she would love to visit Japan again and noted that although the airport in Japan was huge, she had no trouble navigating it and also had no problems during her 11-hour flight.
Hill was encouraged by Council to make this same presentation to her schoolmates.
Coun. Beaudoin noted that she had seen Hill grow in confidence through her hosting and travels.
Mayor Warwick thanked Hill for being a very good ambassador to Hanna’s twinned town, Wake, Japan.
CAO Neill reported that the Hanna Learning Centre has received notice of approval of their application for $673,000 of Federal funding through the Western Economic Diversification to offset the costs of operating the Hanna Business Hub Facility.
Also, Neill reported the Town will receive the following interim amounts: Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) Capital funding of $397,437; MSI Operating funding of $140,261; and Federal Gas Tax funding of $289,168.
The provincial MSI funding is approximately $250,000 less than the budget anticipated while Federal Gas Tax funding is double the amount anticipated.
A percentage of Hanna Policing Costs may be assigned to Hanna Ratepayers.
CAO Neill reported that the Province of Alberta Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, are reviewing Provincial Police Costing Models.
Neill said presently towns like Hanna with a population under 5,000, Metis Settlements and all municipal districts/counties regardless of population do not pay for policing as it is covered by the Province of Alberta.
The new Police Costing Model developed by the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General anticipates that all municipalities will contribute directly to the cost of front line policing.
Neill said, “The model released by the ministry if implemented may mean a cost to the Town of Hanna taxpayers in the amount $55,000 annually which is equivalent to a 2 per cent tax increase.”
Neill posed the question that if the province implements the policy where towns like Hanna pay a percentage for policing.
“Will Hanna have more input into services received? Will there be more service?” Neill concluded, “There are a lot of questions.”
Climate Change Task Force Update
Chief Administration Officer (CAO) Kim Neill reported that the Climate Change Task Force held their final regular meeting on Aug. 20.
At that meeting, the Task Force recommended that Cactus Corridor become the stewards of the $80,000 remaining in Coal Transition Funding and take over the responsibility of managing the Community Action Teams to the end of 2019.
Neill stated, “The core Task Force members will continue to work and manage renewable energy projects as well as be available to meet and be involved with any outside business opportunity that may present itself.”
Neill also noted that Doug Griffiths from 13Ways was in Hanna Sept. 5 where he met with Council to review the draft tactical plan.
13Ways also met with the Cactus Corridor Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors to review the progress on their Strategic Plan.
Meter reading equipment becoming obsolete
Brent Olesen advised that the water meter reading equipment Hanna presently uses is becoming obsolete, so Hanna Public Works and Hanna Administration are in discussion with providers about a mobile collector system or an antenna system.
Olesen said that there are new and improved water billing systems on the market that are not labour intensive and compile a very detailed record of history of usage which can be used to help sort out consumer questions and prevent misunderstandings.
Leaders in Training
At the Sept. 10 Council Meeting, Gwen Snell, Director of Community Service, proudly suggested the resolution that Hanna Council unanimously passed recognizing the volunteer commitment and dedication of students Brandon Barth, Abby Kolkman, Drew McGillion and Owen Olsen for their participation in the Leaders in Training Program.
Their contribution to other programs and activities provided by the Town of Hanna in 2019 was nominated as well.
Mayor Warwick presented a Certificate of Completion and gift cards to the four successful participants.
Angela McGillion is the program trainer.
Leaders in Training are required to provide a minimum of 125 hours of volunteer service, obtain first aid training and complete the HIGH FIVE Principles of Healthy Child Development course.
Snell said this is a heavy commitment and very valuable in terms of developing strong leaders.
Potential Leaders in Training were recruited this spring and required to apply to the program.
Under the guidance of the experienced leaders, the four young people gained the knowledge and understanding of the requirements to implement a successful recreation program, and the importance of role modelling for young children.
The students were very actively involved in the Epic Adventures Summer Program.
Snell noted Hanna had developed a very good product and a lot of towns have asked to copy it.
Snell proudly admitted, “Hanna gladly shares”.
Pool liners installed
Gwen Snell, Director of Community Services, made a report on the status of the installation of the Town Pool liners.
The pools are now closed to the public for the season, have been drained, and the old liners have been removed.
The remains of the old liners are being prepared for recycling and have been placed in the large dumpster which has been set near the pool area.
Installation of the new liners is underway and once the new liners are fully installed the pools will be partially filled and winterized.
Snell reported that the opening of the Hanna Arena is on schedule for Oct. 11.
The new flooring in the dressing rooms and players boxes has been installed.
Snell said that the new floor is a dark navy blue, is lighter in colour from the old black floor, and looks very nice.
Spray Park Committee development permit
Snell reported that the Spray Park Committee has selected Playworks to prepare a design build for the Spray Park.
Director Snell noted she is working with the Committee on the Development Permit process with hopes of breaking ground on the pumphouse this fall.
The pumphouse will house washrooms and outdoor showers, so winterizing this facility will be a requirement. Spray park fixtures are to be stainless steel and will be removable for winter.
The Spray Park Committee continues to apply for more funding.