The Climate Change Task Force, a group designed to help create prosperous opportunities for the town of Hanna was disbanded as of Thurs. Aug. 20.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill reported on the disbanding of the Climate Change Task Force at the regular Hanna town council meeting on Aug. 13.
The Task Force solved any outstanding issues, including disbursement of the remaining funds from the Coal Transition Fund Grant.
The Renewable Energy Group of the task force will continue to spend considerable time negotiating a transfer of all or part of the funds awarded through the Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) Best program for a large solar project to a potential Community Generation Project in the region.
The profits from this project would go towards an economic development fund for the region.
They will also be working with CWL Energy Management on Phase II of the Municipal Community Generation Challenge Project.
Hanna is one of 39 municipalities that was accepted into this challenge through Phase I and the town has submitted an Expression of Interest Application for Phase II of the program.
“Hanna has been working in partnership with CWL Energy Group, SAIT and Special Areas Board (SAB) on a hydrogen fuel project,” said CAO Neill. “This project has the potential to spin off into manufacturing opportunities for this region.
“They are also working with CWL Energy Management, Westmoreland and Special Areas Board (SAB) on the Community Generation Capacity Building Project,” replied Neill when asked about funding dollars by Coun. Beaudoin.
The Task Force has received grants to help with economic development and after the meeting on Aug. 20, a report on the dispersal of grant monies received to date will be made available to Council.
Meeting with Federal Minister Sohi
Mayor Chris Warwick, Coun. Connie Deadlock and SAB Chair Jordon Christianson attended a meeting in Edmonton with representatives from the Federal Government including Minister of Natural Resources, Amarjeet Sohi along with representatives from other communities affected by coal generation shutdowns.
Monies earmarked in the 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 Federal budgets for infrastructure projects for communities affected by coal was the topic of discussions.
Coun. Deadlock reported that this was an information gathering meeting with communities exploring the possibility of transporting crops by rail between Oyen and Hanna, setting up a livestock hub at Hanna, and the creation of industrial parks closer to Edmonton.
Mayor Warwick said that after the meeting he had received an email indicating that they will be contacting each community in the future to get more detail regarding these projects.
Airport courtesy vehicle
The Hanna Flying Club put in a request to town administration for an airport courtesy vehicle. The vehicle would provide pilots and passengers with a means to access Hanna tourist facilities.
The SAB donated a halfton truck and the Town of Hanna has registered and insured this vehicle.
Costs will form part of the airport budget and will be split in half with the SAB and the Town of Hanna.
Pilots will be able to access a lockbox and users are expected to provide a donation which is to be used by the Flying Club to assist with the cost of fueling the vehicle.
The vehicle is equipped with a GPS tracker so the SAB will be able to locate the vehicle at any time.
Cactus Corridor Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) will be providing some financial assistance to keep the vehicle fuelled as well.
West Industrial road traffic issues
CAO Neill reported MPE Engineering has provided administration with a review of options to alleviate traffic issues on West Industrial Road.
Administration has reviewed the options and recommended to construct a 12 metre wide gravel road between West Industrial Road and Roundhouse Road alongside the eastern boundary of the Tim Hortons lot at an estimated cost of $82,000.
This 12m wide road allowance would allow semi traffic to be parked at a better location.
CAO Neill needs to confirm with the owner of the lot that there will still be access to that property.
The project will be tendered as part of the 2020 business year.
Gwen Snell reported that the CFEP Applications from Stage Hanna and Hanna Minor Hockey are on hold.
Stage Hanna requested support for stage curtains while Hanna Minor Hockey asked for help with flooring and lighting at the Hanna Arena.
Coun. Melanie Jensen said that Library Board funding is at 50 per cent and no one is sure when the rest will come in.
Mayor Warwick noted that provincial funds identified as 2019 Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) Capital Contributions and federal funds identified for infrastructure are slow when it comes to depositing.
CAO Neill reminded council that the provincial budget is not being presented until September and because of this slow funding from MSI, the Town’s 2019 infrastructure work has been delayed until the 2020-2021 budget year.
CAO Neill said that “Hopefully, moving forward the Town will be able to complete all the projects on the infrastructure list.”
Communities in Bloom Gwen Snell, Director of Community Services, reported that Communities in Bloom judges Berta Briggs and Larry Hall arrived in Hanna on a Sunday evening and left late on Tuesday afternoon which made for two solid days of business.
“It is hoped next year their visit will be extended by a day which would add time for more judging,” said Snell.
Snell will be representing Hanna at the National Conference and Awards being held in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia from Sept. 25 – 28 where one of the sessions discusses “empty storefronts”.