March 15, 2017
The last few months have been rather busy, especially on the coal affected communities front.
In February the Government of Alberta’s appointed Advisory Panel on Coal Communities visited Hanna. Their mandate is to have consultations with coal affected communities, including Hanna, Forestburg, and the counties of Parkland and Leduc. They are expected to complete a report by late spring to be presented to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade with recommendations of how the Government should help municipalities transition away from coal fired generation.
During their visit they met with several groups including municipal leaders, the Chamber of Commerce, the Hanna Learning Centre, Cactus Corridor Economic Development and the workers from both the ATCO Sheerness Generating Station and Westmoreland Coal Mine. We had the opportunity to take them on a tour of our community so they could get a sense of all that we have to offer. Overall we felt the meetings were productive and very engaging by the panel.
Our focus going ahead will be to develop a transition plan with community engagement to help direct the Taskforce on the direction and opportunities we see for our community. As a region we have a lot that can be gained in composing a solid transition plan as the Government of Alberta has budgeted a significant amount of funding for coal affected communities, which could include investment into new industry and businesses to come to our area. We are in the very beginning stages of a transition plan and will keep our residents up to date on possible town hall meetings and engagement strategies going forward.
Mayor, Town of Hanna