A very happy 16-year-old Jaala Hill was an invited guest at the Tues. July 9 meeting of the Hanna Town Council.
Hill, who will be entering Grade 12 at J.C.Charyk High School in the fall, has been chosen to represent the Town of Hanna through the Hanna-Wake Student Exchange Program and council requested her presence so they could meet her and congratulate her on being chosen as the successful applicant.
Hill is expected to leave for Japan on Aug. 3.
The Town of Hanna requires that the students from Hanna be responsible for 50 per cent of their airfare costs while the town will cover the remaining half.
Hill agreed to attend another council meeting at the end of the summer and report back on her journey.
Coun. Connie Deadlock explained that in meeting Hanna’s host responsibilities for the exchange program, three students and a chaperone from Wake arrived in Hanna on Mon. July 22.
The Hill family will be the homestay family for the Wake students and the Halter family will host the chaperone.
Homestay families are responsible for any costs associated with hosting the visitors.
Student host Mrs. Hill, in response to questions from Councillor Beaudoin, stated that the host committee has lined up a busy 12 days for the group including a welcome event, a drive to Banff, a day at Calgary’s Calloway Park and a visit to a Hutterite Colony.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill reported that on June 12, Doug Giffiths, CEO of 13 Ways Inc., the consultant who has been instrumental in guiding Hanna away from its economic reliance on the coal-powered generation industry, attended a Cactus Corridor Economic Development Committee (CCEDC) meeting following his time with council that morning working on a strategic plan.
Neill stated, “Doug has indicated that it is time to terminate the task force and transfer all responsibility for economic development and coal transition initiatives to CCEDC.
This includes any work or follow-up with the active Community Action Team (CAT) and those CAT teams that are still active would work under the direction of CCEDC.
“An event is being planned for the evening of July 30 for the Task Force and the CAT teams to update Doug and hear from Doug his vision on Economic Development for the Region moving forward.”
Fire department accepts call
Fire Chief David Mohl reported that on June 18 the province requested a truck and crew be dispatched to High Level to be put on stand-by for its out-of-control wildfire.
The Hanna crew with truck, who usually have 12 hours to prepare for similar emergencies, were on the road within two hours.
Mohl explained that using Hanna fire services rather than Edmonton or Calgary was very necessary because the High Level Office was looking for a Type 3 (grass fire) Engine, “plus our firefighters are trained grass firefighters.”
The crew went on an eight-day deployment and returned safely back to Hanna on June 26.
Council unanimously passed a motion to enter into an agreement with 13 Way Inc. to retain their services to complete the Town of Hanna Brand Identity Project at a cost not to exceed $42,000.
Funds will be accessed from either the Coal Community Transition Fund from the provincial government, the Western Economic Diversification from the federal government, or transferring funds from the Town of Hanna Accumulated Surplus.
Neill stated that discussion has taken place with 13 Ways Inc. around the importance of ensuring Hanna’s brand identity is aligned with the outcome and objectives of the strategic plan.
Neill said 13 Ways Inc. is to deliver focus and build on the community of Hanna’s competitive advantages and what makes it unique with special consideration to factors such as history, demographics, infrastructure, culture, economic foundation and opportunities, quality of life factors, as well as other discovered factors.
The company will also focus on logo creation, colour palette, template, website and all-inclusive branding guide as well as prepare the municipality for the subsequent phase of communicating and marketing the town of Hanna.
Following the completion of this project, there will be the expectation that there may be further costs associated with replacement of town building signage, town letterhead and any other marketing materials that may have the current town logo.
Council approved a motion to retain MPE Engineering to conduct a review of options to alleviate traffic issues on West Industrial Road and provide council with options including estimated costs at the scheduled Aug. 13 council meeting.
Council discussed the suggestion and agreed cost and soil conditions are primary concerns.
Neill said that if this issue is resolved this road may be included in the 2020 capital program or, if time permits, there may be an option to do something this fall.
Skunks spotted in town
Adrian Mohl, Director of Protective Services, in his report noted that skunks are active on the west side of town.
Skunk traps are lent to property owners by Protective Services.
Homeowners need to be vigilant because sometimes cats are caught in the traps instead of skunks.
“People who place their weekly garbage bags on the ground in the alley instead of in proper garbage receptacles are inviting these little unwanted critters to a free meal,” stated Mohl.
“They are also encouraging crows, magpies, seagulls, cats and occasionally dogs to do the same, often leaving a huge mess in the alley.”
Discussions between the Hanna Library Board and the Hanna Museum have started, acting on a request from the Hanna Historical Society to house museum archives in the library.
The Library Board leases their premises from the Town of Hanna and this contract expires at year end in 2031.
The two boards would like council’s approval up front before they proceed with renovations and incur costs.
The town provides both the library and the museum with operating grants.
Council discussed the matter and unanimously supported the proposal.
Building clean energy
A news release issued by the government on June 28, 2019, announced support for fair and just coal energy transition and new funding supports for several communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan including Special Areas No. 2.
Neill said that to date, the CCEDC has received $95,000 for the development of a strategic plan.
Warwick speculated that if Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) best funding turns out positive for Hanna, the town may have access to solar energy grants.
Warwick continued stating that the work the town has done with CWL/Westmoreland through the memorandum of understanding developing the interest in a solar photovoltaic generating facility within the lands of the Sheerness Coal Mine is already a framework for such a working relationship.
Council approved entering into a Memorandum of Understanding between the Town of Hanna and CWL Energy Management Ltd. which will establish the framework to develop a renewable resource inventory for the town under the Province of Alberta Community Generation Capacity Building Program.