They've had their say and now it's a waiting game for the town of Hanna to learn the fate of the nearby Sheerness coal fired generator and the coal mine that fuels it.
 
The Alberta Government's Advisory Panel on Coal Communities visited the town east of Drumheller on February 21-22 to gauge reaction to the planned phase out of all coal fired electrical generation in the province.
 
"Hanna is unique in all this in the fact that 90 per cent of the employees that work out there live in Hanna; that's not the same at any of the other generating stations in Alberta," pointed out Mayor Chris Warwick. 
 
"This isn't happening in 2030, it's happening already. Investment attraction is very difficult right now when you could potentially lose up to 20 per cent of your population," he added. "We don't know what the impact that way is going to be until ATCO make a decision as to what they're going to do."
 
It's possible the power company could elect to refit the Sheerness generating station for natural gas burning, which is much cleaner than coal, but they could also opt to shut it down for good.
 
Warwick told 99.5 Drum FM the Advisory Panel members listened to what they had to say and had some great questions of their own during a two hour, face to face meeting and he's optimistic they will present an accurate picture to the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Deron Bilous, who will present their case to the cabinet. At the same time, he still has reservations.
 
"What are they going to be transitioning them to do?," he asked. "They want to train these workers to do something, but are you going to train them up and ship them away to somewhere else? That's our biggest concern: these people live here because they want to, not because they have to."
 
The Advisory Panel on Coal Communities is to make its report to the minister in October.
 

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