Coal transition panel meets in Hanna
Hanna is looking at a future without the coal industry, and last week local leaders in the community were able to voice their concern and ideas about what that may look like.
On Tuesday, February 21 and Wednesday morning, the Advisory Panel on Coal Communities met with invited stakeholders. They spoke with municipal leaders, the Hanna Learning Centre, the Cactus Corridor Economic Development Corporation, the Rural Alberta Business Centre and the local Chamber of Commerce. They also spoke to local representatives of the coal industry.
Mayor Chris Warwick said it was a positive meeting.
“It was a chance for them to hear some of the impacts that are going to happen in our area and region, so they can make their report,” said Warwick.
“The report is due in late spring and it is really dependent on the panel getting all the information.”
Warwick said the panel started in Hanna and then headed to other affected communities including Forestburg and Parkland County.
He said the panel made no promises, and that isn’t their role.
“Their work is to recommend to the government how the government can help coal communities transition away from coal, that is their mandate,” he said, adding that much of the transition planning is in the community’s hands to design.
“We are closer to the impacts and to what we want to see in the region. From here going forward, it is really in our hands to come up with a transition plan of some kind and then implement it. That is where we will get the help from the government and to possibly utilize their departments and how they can help us transition away from coal and still be viable.”
Warwick said the panel appeared to be responsive.
“It was good. The panel has some really good questions and it was a good opportunity to sit down and discuss and give them a tour of the town to show them everything we have to offer,” he said. “I felt it was very good, their questions were pertinent to what is happening in our area.”
There are no firm timelines. The report from the Advisory on Coal Communities is due later this spring, and Warwick said after the report is published they can begin to look how to work with the government on the transition.
“It felt like we were heard, we just have to see what comes out of it in the end,” said Warwick.