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Council Remains Opposed to Solar Farm

March 21, 2024

The Town of Hanna received a petition with over 300 names on Thursday, February 8, 2023. This petition requested that Council remove Solar Power Plant as a permitted or discretionary use in any and all districts in the Land Use Bylaw 1032-2023, including the removal of all definitions or other bylaws relating to Solar Power Plant.

According to the Municipal Government Act (Section 226 (1)) Within 45 days after the date on which a petition is filed, the Chief Administrative Officer must make a declaration to the Council or the Minister on whether the petition is sufficient or insufficient.

Municipal Government Act (Section 232 (2)) states that a petition requesting a new bylaw under Part 8, 9, 10, 17 or 17.2 of the Municipal Government Act or an amendment or repeal of a bylaw or resolution made under Part 8, 9, 10, 17 or 17.2 of the Municipal Government Act has no effect. Part 17 of the Municipal Government Act is the Planning and Development section and is the section of the Municipal Government Act that mandates that all municipalities must have a Land Use Bylaw. Therefore, the petition is not valid because it seeks to amend the Town of Hanna Land Use Bylaw # 1032-2023.

At the March 12, 2024 Council Meeting a Resolution was passed that Council accepts the Solar Power Plant Petition Report for information. This report states that Based on legal advice, the CAO confirms to Council that the Petition received February 8, 2024, is outside the legal scope of petitions contemplated in the Municipal Government Act RSA 2000 c. M-26; specifically, pursuant to section 232(2), a petition purporting to require an amendment to a land use bylaw (which is a bylaw addressed under Part 17) “has no effect”. Therefore, it is not appropriate or necessary for the CAO to determine sufficiency of the petition (i.e. whether the petition has met the logistical requirements of petitions as prescribed in the Municipal Government Act). The CAO will advise the named representative for the petitioners of the foregoing.

In addition, Council at the March 12, 2024 Council Meeting passed a Resolution that Administration prepare a press release explaining the rationale behind the decision and that despite this decision Council remains opposed to the proposed Solar Farm Development adjacent to the Hanna Airport. Council sent a letter of Non-Support of the project to the Developer PACE Canada LP on December 13, 2023.

Furthermore, Council has retained legal counsel to assist the Town of Hanna with managing the Alberta Utilities Commission Intervention Process and provide guidance and direction to protect the Town of Hanna and the Hanna Airport now and into the future. Council is also planning to retain other technical advisers for review and guidance of studies completed by the Developer on this project such as glint & glare, runway setbacks, etc. if necessary.

It is important to note that under Alberta regulations, renewable energy project approval lies with the Alberta Utilities Commission. Town Council is working diligently to safeguard the community and the airport however Council does not have the authority to approve or reject this project as per section 619 of the Municipal Government Act.

Any group or individual can file a complaint with the Alberta Utilities Commission. Finding the complaint process online is very easy. Go to on the internet and at the very top of the page, you will see a link that says “File a Complaint”. Also, this document may be helpful for Interveners without Legal Counsel.
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