Lit-up crosswalk option divides Hanna council

A recorded split vote was cast after Hanna council debated the pros and cons of a few options for a crosswalk in town at the July 14 meeting. 

This crosswalk, in particular, is located along on 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street West connecting the Town of Hanna administrative building with the emporium.

People have reached out saying that themselves and children often have to peek around vehicles as they are parked on an angle, forcing them to inch closer into the street.

Administration used a survey to gauge citizen opinions on the five options presented which provided an opportunity for residents to submit any additional options that may have been overlooked.

The survey was open from June 15, 2020 to July 6, 2020.

A total of 149 survey responses were completed.

One suggestion was a four-way stop while the more expensive option was to install signage that lights up to grab the driver’s attention.

Although it is the least popular option at 67.9 per cent strongly disliking it, administration recommended the solar lit controlled crosswalk sign at an estimated cost of $12,000.

This option provides enhanced pedestrian crossing awareness while only stopping traffic when pedestrians are crossing.

The downside to this option is the cost as it is significantly higher than any of the other options.

It was believed that the reason this option was chosen as a lower-rated option was the cost with many comments indicating the expense is not necessary for the limited pedestrian conflict, that this money could be spent fixing roads and so on.

Council narrowly passed the motion to go with the lit crosswalk with a vote of 4 – 3 at their regular meeting on July 14. 

Hanna Municipal Library

Carley Angelstad introduced herself as the new director for the Hanna Municipal Library to council as part of her presentation.

Angelstad has experience working in libraries of all sizes, developing inclusive programming and services.

She has been working at the Hanna Library since June 22, 2020.

Angelstad has provided a report including a COVID-19 update and how the library is operating through this pandemic, circulation statistics, library programs and benefits of the Marigold Library System membership.

Later in the meeting, council was introduced to the Hanna Municipal Library Board payroll agreement which outlines duties and acknowledges expectations of both the library and municipality which council accepted.

Closed session

Council went into a closed meeting for 20 minutes on a land matter with third party business interests as per Section 16 of the Municipal Government Act. 

No decision or motion was made.

Hanna RCMP youth programming

Hanna RCMP Detachment members Const. Chad Marlow and Const. Amy Pepin came to council for a possible partnership with the town on engaging youth in the community as part of their annual goal of community involvement.

Administration saw an immediate connection with the Youth Club as a partner. 

Cst. Marlow and Cst. Pepin attended the Youth Club meeting held July 8 to present their vision and discuss how their vision works with the goals and objectives of the Youth Club.

From all accounts, the meeting was successful and the RCMP will be working with the Youth Club on several programs and initiatives that will focus on older youth in our community.

One highlight as described in a later interview with Rhonda Lund, director of corporate services, the RCMP are looking at a boxing program for teens aged 14 to 18.

They will continue to partner with the Hanna and District Youth Club which will help aid in obtaining facilities when needed as well as finding participants.

The possibility of teaming up with EMS and fire personnel is also in the works. 

“Council talked with them a little bit in that the RCMP should have kids aware of who they are and talk to them rather than just be afraid of them,” said Lund.

Infrastructure project 

Council awarded the 400 Block 2nd Ave. W Infrastructure project to Con-Site Construction Ltd. in the amount of $538,354.65 and directed administration to amend the 2020 Capital Budget to include $629,354.65 for the infrastructure project, with funds derived from re-allocation of Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) Capital, Federal Gas Tax (FGT) grant revenue and 2020 MSI Additional Stimulus Capital.

Part of these funds was initially going towards upgrades to the community centre but will now be for this project.

With the water line problems that have occurred on the 400 Block of 2nd Avenue West and knowing through sewer video inspections that this section of sewer line should be replaced, administration requested MPE Engineering to undertake the detailed design work required to tender a water and sewer main replacement project for this block. 

The pre-tender estimate to complete this infrastructure project, which would include the replacement of the water and sewer mains and complete road rehabilitation, was $500,000.

Administration indicated that Provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative funds in the amount of $432,000 previously allocated to the Community Centre renovation and expansion project could be re-allocated to the 400 Block of 2nd Avenue West Water and Sewer Line Replacement Project.

Twelve tenders were received for the project ranging from the low tender of $538,354.65 to the high tender of $704,380.95.

The engineering costs associated with this project have been anticipated at $91,000.

Tax reduction request

CanAlta Real Estate Services asked the town for a reduction in taxes by 10 per cent.

The company said in their letter to council they have been working with municipalities to secure satisfactory arrangements for payment of property taxes.

“Our businesses under the Canalta Group, like so many across Canada, have been reduced to temporary closures and minimal to no income which has severely impacted our cash flow. Our industry has been greatly impacted by COVID-19.”

“We have received the 10 per cent reduction from other municipalities, and we are confident that the Town of Hanna will consider our request and provide us with the support necessary to aid us in getting through these troubled times.”

Council chose to deny the request based on a couple of things. One was because they felt if they give this tax decrease for one company, they must do it for all.

During budget deliberations, council also reduced the non-residential tax rate by one per cent from 2019 rates and to help address financial hardships as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, council further adjusted the tax penalties for 2020 from eight per cent to four per cent in September and October and reduced the January 2021 tax penalty from 10 per cent to five per cent.

According to information provided by CanAlta representatives, they have received a 10 per cent tax reduction from the Town of Kindersley and a five per cent tax reduction from the City of Brooks.

After conducting research in regard to the above-mentioned tax decreases, administration found that the Kindersley reduced their tax rate by 10 per cent from planned 2020 tax rates for all properties and Brooks reduced their tax rate by five per cent for commercial and industrial properties.

Others have denied the request as well.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

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 paper on her dinner table growing up 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).

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