Thursday, 3 April 2008

Main Street Blairmore

Wish I had a before photo. For those that remember just 3 and half years ago this photo shows how Crowsnest Pass has changed.
This picture was taken Sunday morning Oct. 7, 2007. I went down town hoping to get a picture of a completely empty street (didn't get it) back dropped by the snow covered hills to the east. Three years previous I would of got the picture I wanted almost any day of the week. Crowsnest Pass has grown in the last three years. People have discovered what locals have always known. Crowsnest Pass is a great place to live and play.

Who are these people? Some are entrepreneurs, young and old looking for a better quality of life while hoping to capitalize on the potential of the Pass. Many are retirees here to spend their free time fishing and enjoying our beautiful outdoors. Some are young miners, here to raise their families while working the mines across the border in BC. Others have bought homes just to enjoy on weekends until they can retire here. Then there is the electronic engineer who moved from Calgary with his wife and two young children. He works for a company headquartered in Munich. The software engineers he collaborates with are in Moscow. Most of his work is done from his home online. Every so often he has to head to his corporate offices or even to Russia. From the Pass his commute is only 2.5 hours longer than it was while he lived in Calgary. There is the newest member of our municipal Culture and Recreation Board a professional employed by the University that moved here with her husband and children. Also the professional couple from Medicine Hat that are here all weekends and other holidays with their young children enjoying our ski hill and other amenities. You will see these welcome additions to Crowsnest Pass, not only enjoying our facilities and outdoors, but also volunteering their time in the kind of social activities that define communities. I could mention many others, including the newly married lawyer and engineer that decided Crowsnest Pass was the right place to start their life together, but the point is made.

These young professionals could well be (and should be) the future of Crowsnest Pass. We should be sparing no expense marketing to this demographic currently coping with a stressful lifestyle in the big city. We can offer the quality of life they are searching for.


  1. Hello Gary,

    As a newbie to the blog world wanting to dive right in, so to speak, I'm choosing this one of yours to do so. Only because it happened to catch my eye. (You have so much on your site worthy of comment, I don't know where to start, but I'm certainly not going back to the beginning. :-)

    So to start. Your comments:

    "These young professionals could well be (and should be) the future of Crowsnest Pass. We should be sparing no expense marketing to this demographic currently coping with a stressful lifestyle in the big city. We can offer the quality of life they are searching for."

    Although, I don't take exception to what you say, and in fact agree with most of what you say, I do have some concerns with how a community made up of these type of people (no disrespect intended) is going to be able to provide the type of volunteer labour this community, so far, has relied on... and is dependent upon.

    As an example, to make my point. If my memory serves me right, we are paying our 'volunteer' Fire Department(s) approximately $200,000 annually. In comparison, our neighbour Fernie pays their 'paid' Fire Department $2,000,000 annually.

    The above scenario is just one example of many within our community where we are dependent on volunteers. Otherwise, if we land up having to pay for these services, nobody but the professionals would be able to live here, because of high taxes and cost of living.

    What we need is industry that pays better than minimum wage, so that we can attract families who not only want to, but are actually able to, volunteer in our community.

    I believe there is no way of getting around this fact. Otherwise, you risk turning our community into another Canmore, where many long time residents were forced out of their own homes and community.

  2. Thanks John. I am definately not saying that I would object to nor should we stop looking for some type of light industry setting up shop here in the Pass. Nor am I suggesting that we create a weekend community such as Canmore. The suggestion is simply to market toward people that could relocate their families and live in the Pass. Already many people in this demographic is making up a substantial portion of our volunteer base.

    Attempting to force a market rather than capitalize on what we we have is difficult as we have seen for the past 20 years. We all know what happened with Phillips Cable, Strand Industries, and Friendly Fuels when the subsidies ran out or another government offered a better deal (in the case of Phillips). Terry Kenney (to his credit) came the closest to creating a long term stable industry here but when push came to shove the big boys won. Terry also has to take credit for finding Arctic Spas and getting them to relocate here. Are there other niche industries like the hot tub manufacturer that could make it here? Quite possibly and we should not stop looking.

    The guaranteed way to insure the Pass is not affordable for our seniors and people such as you and me is to hinder growth. The only way we can relieve the heavy tax burden from our shoulders is to spread it among a larger population. Yes it would be nice to have a large industrial tax base but we can not afford to wait for it.

  3. i wanna move here soo bad!!