The Town of Hanna has been busy for the last few months trying to prepare for the day when the Sheerness Power Station converts to natural gas and the coal mine across the road from the plant shuts down for good.

chris warwickChris Warwick.Mayor Chris Warwick told Drum FM a number of community action teams have been set up to look at various aspects of what will be required  to compensate for the loss of as many as 200 jobs. Ideas approved so far include a one-stop agricultural service hub and a community of retirement homes for people from the city.

"Before the Climate Leadership Plan was announced, the town put about $1 million into developing this thing and of course, once the Climate Leadership Plan came about, these lots have sat there and done nothing, so we're looking at maybe restructuring those and maybe trying to get a developer to come in and do some of the residences that might attract some retirees from the city," he explained.

"We've got a few ideas for community action teams that don't have champions, and that's a bit of a hurdle because some of these are very viable solutions," Warwick added. "It's a matter of getting some people that are interested in those to sign up for them and champion these other projects."

While much of the attention is on developing new projects, the mayor admitted the fate of the workers destined to lose their jobs is still a concern.

"I know some of the guys are having a little difficulty getting (a) bridge to retirement or a bridge to re-employment," he outlined. "Some of the parameters set up don't work with some of the people that are around my age, which is unfortunate because when you're 56, 57, 59 you're really not looking at a bridge to re-employment because you're only going to work for another five or six years anyway and then probably retire, that's the goal."

A worker transition conference is scheduled for next week and Warwick plans to attend it. The Town of Hanna also has a town hall meeting tentatively scheduled for November 29 to bring people up to date on the subject.

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