Thursday, 7 May 2009


People come to Crowsnest Pass simply because it is beautiful and opportunities for recreation and relaxation in a wilderness setting are endless.

Our communities are backdropped by some of the most dramatic views in Alberta.

Crowsnest Pass is not a "cookie cutter" town. It is a real place with real character and, of course, real characters. It has a soul.
This is what we have to capitalize on. We start with what we have and what we build on. Quite a few have recognized what and who we are and have started that process of rebuilding our community. People such as Crowsnest Pass Dreamer, who is renovating a commercial building in Bellevue. Dr. Maritz who has renovated the historic Alberta Hotel downtown Blairmore.
The Centremore Corp. that has restored another commercial building in Blairmore.
Adaptive reuse as the Crowsnest Pass Dreamer and others have suggested is a vital component of rebuilding. Many of our older buildings could be used for purposes other than what they were created or zoned for. It is very important though to at least recognize the importance of the facade and restore that mining town look. We can achieve what Canmore failed at. Growth with out losing our soul.


  1. Great renos! Those buildings truly are an asset to your community.

  2. Nice post, Gary. Is anything being planned for the Coleman Colliery property? Too bad we can't get the feds to spend some money (like they do in other parts of the country) to make it into something along the lines of Heritage Park. Not exactly, but some sort of living museum or something. The land west and east of the buildings could be made into parks. A nice cleaned up off-leash dog park would be perfect. The land's flat so no worries about twisting an ankle and from what I've seen there's not much chance of coming across large wildlife. Cleanup, construction and running it would create jobs and it would bring in tourists. It might lead to a revitalization of Coleman.

  3. Love the post!
    Has anyone got any experience or heard of strategies to convince property owners to do some up-keep on their properties. In Bellevue, for example, it is nice to see one building getting some attention but to see the Bellevue Inn across the road with the peeling paint and the Elk Fence being used to keep the drunks from falling off the patio is sad. I certainly hope the BI isn't still operating as an Inn because we won't get any repeat Pass visitors from those who experience that. In Blairmore there is the graffiti signage on a business near Sobeys and Coleman has a number of buildings that owners seem determined to kill through neglect.
    Are there any ideas from people? Does anyone know the owners of these building/businesses well enough to mention this? Does the municipality have any way of forcing some upkeep?

  4. You have a very upbeat perspective there, you sound a lot like the person who I have read on other blogs. I believe that you must have a genuine interest in your area, but isn't the kind of cash flow that it takes to build this dreamland that you are trying to promote a little hard to come by there?
    I don't usually get involved with these bolgs but it seems to me that before you can have a mobile cart, you have to have a horse. And if there is one thing for sure, the gent that owns the blog you are writing on is someone that is clearly meloncholy and not the type to bring a place like that into a new era.
    Where I live,in Calgary, all we hear about is what goes wrong there and nothing thats positive. I would certainly guess that it would be hard to start any business there simply because the last time that I went through, most of the places were closed. Hence, I would not even consider it unless I was owning a franchise to service the needs on the highway. The sad part about that is we are even selling our place in Fernie due to the fact that we can't afford it anylonger either, as many else are as well and this will even effect those businesses.
    Best of luck with your vision, you have a long road ahead of you.

  5. Thanks Bill, yes those building are great and more will be coming.
    RB..Good comments. The new owner is still exploring ideas for developing much of the mine property. I am sure he will come up with a vision that will work there. There was a concept developed that does include large park areas, a mix of residential and commercial development. I am sure where ever Mark decides to go with the property will be a boon to Crowsnest Pass and downtown Coleman.

    Anonymous..Thanks for the comments and insight. The municipality can and does force properties to be cleaned up or taken down. It generally only happens when things get to the exreme. Should owners not comply the municipality can step in, do the work, then charge the owner for costs (on his/her taxroll if needed). We have had to demolish one in downtown Coleman last year and a couple in Bellevue in previous years. Yeah that sign drives me crazy (I used to own the local sign shop)We do need more enforcement. Having said that though I hate to say we are going to be without a bylaw officer until we get a constable assigned to us by the RCMP (at our cost)for bylaw enforcement.

    Much of how Coleman and Bellevue have degenerated is due to the end of our resource based economy. We really need those with a fresh vision (and capital) for a sustainable economy based on our assests that don't deplete. With a stronger economic base the municipality could then be in a position to offer incentives for the reconstruction or beautification of our business cores.

  6. Why was my comment "Million dollar views, 200,000 dollar homes" deleted.It was meant as a positive.Where else can you buy a house for a couple of hundred thousand and have million dollar views?

  7. Anonymous: My apologies. I misread it. The internet is great place for sharing information and interacting. The unfortunate part of the interaction is ideas and thoughts shared can far too often be misinterpreted.