Mark Nikota, economic development manager of the Harvest Sky Economic Development Corporation, presented an activity update about their campaigns and projects to the Hanna council at the June 29 meeting.
The first topic of the update covered the marketing campaigns highlighting the advantages of moving to Hanna.
The biggest factors that draw people to live in Hanna are the low cost housing and the access to high speed internet.
Nikota says that there are plans to do a housing study to see if they can further leverage different opportunities outside of affordable housing and the Hanna Lodge.
Other campaigns to bring in tourists include advertising the golf course and tourist attractions, and attending trade shows to bring in new visitors.
Nikota also presented information regarding investment attraction opportunities that can make new connections with different industries.
One industry in particular that Nikota brought up involved bringing in cryptocurrency farms and data mining facilities into the area.
According to Nikota, the situation with these systems could be likened to the gold rush.
“Back in the gold rush days, some miners made money, some lost their shirts. But the guys selling the pickaxes made money. And that’s what we are,” said Nikota.
Facility business was discussed. Working alongside the Prairie Land School Division, Harvest Sky is looking to make a dorm facility for international students that come to Hanna.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill and Mayor Povachuk discussed the possibility of having the Hanna Lodge serve as the dorm, but logistical issues regarding dorm supervision, food and other items were brought up.
The final topic involved the development of a commercial kitchen.
Nikota spoke with residents who do catering and commercial food production for feedback.
The goal is to turn the Lions Hall kitchen into a commercial kitchen space.
There is no cost on this project yet, but will move on to drafting the space.
Council discussed the new signage proposals that have been presented and checked to see if they had any feedback or changes to the revised version.
The next step of the project involves creating the tender package to have the project officially start.
There are plans to have three entrance signs for about $180,000, two gateways signs for around $24,000 and 17 wayfinding signs with additional signage for buildings and parks for $6,000 each.
The total cost is expected to be between $400,000 and $500,000.
Although CAO Neill mentioned there is no money budgeted, they intend to use cost saving measures found through the Western Economic Diversification (WED) when the project first started.
Council is expecting to hear back the results from the application in July in order to see how to proceed with the project. Input from WED may be taken into consideration when proceeding with the project.
If approved, council will need to spend whatever funds they receive before March 2023 or funding will be taken back.
Council moved to proceed with the concepts.
Additionally, solutions for the broken LED sign located at the entrance of Hanna were discussed.
Proposed solutions include spending $7,185 to repair the broken elements, $68,700 to replace the sign or $94,142 to upgrade the sign.
Coun. Sandra Bedouin proposed to remove the sign completely as she was against it.
Coun. Fred Crowle suggested that spending $68,700 for a replacement sign that would possibly fail seems like a poor idea.
Mayor Povachuk suggested investing in the newer sign as opposed to repairing or replacing the old sign with the same model.
For now, council decided to find a temporary solution while they figure out how to resolve it in 2023.
Coun. Kyle Olsen has been approached by a resident regarding concerns of vehicles speeding in the Shacker Crescent alleyway.
CAO Neill mentioned that it is a high traffic area and that an individual has suggested placing seasonal and removable speed bumps.
He has also spoken with the RCMP in regards to the situation and they intend to monitor speeds in the area.
Coun. Olsen mentioned that with the high amount of foot traffic in the area, there are instances where pedestrians are almost hit by vehicles.
One major concern of the council is the possibility of negative feedback from the community by placing the speed bumps.
Although this is an administrative problem, CAO Neill wanted to bring this to council’s attention before taking any actions.
Mayor Povachuck suggested waiting for more information before making a decision.
Cemetery committee considered
Coun. Crowle inquired about the possibility of forming a cemetery committee that would oversee the Hanna Cemetery.
The purpose of the committee would be to oversee the maintenance of the cemetery and ensure that the graves and site are all maintained
Coun. Crowle has noticed that the cemetery has been overrun by gophers who are digging noticeable holes on gravesites.
Funding and grants
Funding for the Music in the Park program has been approved, allocating $75,000 and performances have been booked.
Council will see if they can use the funding into 2023.
The Community Centre Renovation Project funding has been denied.
Reports on the application failed to list information regarding building and energy information. The application also failed to meet the minimum merit assessment score.
The application will be resubmitted with improvements made on the sections that failed.
A resident has come forward asking for bylaws regarding cats. The resident’s complaint regarded a resident who is suspected to own nine or more cats.
The resident said that the felines are trespassing onto their property and they are fed up with it.
Another concern is that although dogs need to be registered and owners need to pick up their waste in public spaces, cat owners are not required to do the same.
Council said they will bring this matter back for discussion at a later date.