Hanna town council approved a development permit to improve services at a major tourist attraction in the community. The resolution to approve a development permit application was passed at the March 12 regular meeting of council.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Kim Neill presented councillors with a development permit application from the Hanna Roundhouse Society to greatly improve guest services at the historic attraction.

“The owners of the property legally described as Plan 0313132, Block 3, Lot 3, Tax Roll 28200 have submitted a development permit application to reconnect the building to power, gas, water, sewer and to construct washroom facilities on the ground floor of their building,” stated the staff memo. 

The site was described as being 8.97 acres with the development permit application listing water, sewer, gas and power as the services being added.

A letter included in the agenda package also noted indoor washrooms, a meeting room, internet service and heating would also be added.

Readers should note the Hanna Roundhouse is not only a museum and tourist destination but also an events venue.

The CAO noted such an application usually goes through the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) but the roundhouse sits in a Direct Control (DC) zone, which means town council acts as the planning/approving authority, not the MPC.

“The property is zoned as DC 1 direct control district 1 and in this land use district the discretionary use of the building is for temporary assembly,” noted the staff memo. 

“Adding services and a washroom facility would be an improvement for the users of the facility while still following the discretionary use as temporary assembly.” 

Neill stated staff recommended approving the application as improving services wouldn’t change the nature of the operation and improved services were not seen as having a negative effect on neighbours either.

The development permit application listed President Sandra Beaudoin, who is also a town councillor. Beaudoin stated at the beginning of the presentation she would describe the application briefly but would not participate in either the council debate or vote.

The development permit application noted the estimated value of renovations was half a million dollars.

When looking at the application Mayor Danny Povaschuk asked where the facility might tie into existing services.

Beaudoin stated a hydrant isn’t far away, plus sewer service is also nearby; she said the society is looking at underground power. Beaudoin also pointed out the heritage ministry is required to approve the society’s project as the site is considered a historical resource.

Beaudoin also noted that the Prairie Economic Development agency is providing a grant of $500,000 for this project. She added that the roundhouse was identified as a kickstarter for the Hanna-region economy following COVID; to ensure the site’s future a source of revenue has to be found and improving services means the facility can more easily accommodate users.

At this point Beaudoin left the council meeting.

The mayor voiced support for the application. 

“It’s a great project,” said Povaschuk, noting the site already hosts a lot of events.

The CAO stated that with improved services the site wouldn’t have to provide labour-intensive features like portable toilets, power and water.

Coun. Angie Warner asked how much the Town of Hanna will have to pay for this request. Neill responded this project has no cost to taxpayers, and if it did result in costs in the future that detail would return to the council table for approval.

Councillors unanimously approved the development permit application.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 13:22

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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