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Alex Maund – bald man with short brown moustache and beard – holds a bylaw officer badge

New bylaw enforcement officer in town

The Town of Pincher Creek has a new bylaw enforcement officer. Alex Maund arrived on the job Sept. 20, ready to roll up his sleeves.

Raised on Vancouver Island, the newcomer already has a connection to the community.

“My sister (Eleanor Maund-Stephens) actually lives here and works as a paramedic,” explains Maund, who is not all that new to our province or the area.

“Started working for (B.C.) Parks and then as a wildland firefighter for the forest service before getting into the whole park ranger background in Alberta … Writing-on-Stone and then Pincher Creek.”

Other stops since then have included Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon, but for Maund, the job opportunity and timing were right to move back to Pincher.

Did we mention he has a connection to the community?

“I’m also engaged. Have a fiance that lives here and works out of Waterton so I felt it was time to come back and stick around for a while,” he jokes.


Beige and green trailer on announcement reminding Pincher Creek residents to have trailers off the street by Oct. 21.


At 41, the former park ranger is looking forward to his new role, and while his title has the word “enforcement” in it, he believes it’s about more than just enforcing the rules.

“I see myself spending more time out in the community educating the public about some of the traffic bylaws, like school zones, parking, that kind of stuff.”

Asked if there’s one area of bylaw enforcement he’d like to focus on as he begins his new job, he says it would have to be schools.

“That’s a big one for this month, especially with kids going back to school. Drivers will have to start driving differently as opposed to the summer, now with kids and families around schools more often,” he says. “So, we’ll be out most mornings.”

As a municipal bylaw enforcement officer, Maund will work in collaboration with the local RCMP detachment and the Alberta Sheriff’s Service.

“I’m more of the education side before, maybe, the RCMP might be called in,” he says. “I’m more or less the middle man, I guess. Really happy to be working with them.”

The office of the bylaw enforcement officer is located in the Town of Pincher Creek’s main office on St. John Avenue.

Maund adds that any questions, concerns or complaints can be directed to his email.


Related article: Pincher Creek transitioning from peace officers to bylaw officers


Vision Credit Union drought campaign ad. Rear view of man and woman walking into field


View of Grassy Mountain coal pit on mountainside with blue sky and mountain range in the background

Application made to explore Grassy Mountain deposit

A proposed coal development project in Crowsnest Pass could show renewed signs of life if a deep-drilling permit is approved by the Alberta Energy Regulator.

Known as the Grassy Mountain Coal Project, the plan first put forward in 2015 by Benga Mining Ltd. would have seen the construction and operation of an open-pit steel production mine.

Estimates, at the time, were that the facility would be able to produce up to 4.5 million tonnes of processed coal each year, but a provincial-federal joint review panel ruled in 2021 that the controversial project was “not in the public interest.”

Acting on the panel’s recommendation, the federal government then rejected the project, saying it would likely cause “significant adverse environmental effects.”

Earlier this month, Northback Holdings, formerly Benga, submitted an application to the AER for exploratory work at the site, about seven kilometres north of Blairmore.

The related permit request is for the purpose of drilling “to depths deeper than 150 metres and no deeper than 550 metres on a combination of Crown land and Northback’s privately owned land, commencing on Oct. 15, 2023,” said an application letter from Northback’s senior manager of regulatory approvals, Donna Venzi.

The permit request was received by the AER on Sept. 6.


Man and woman with their dog in ad for Vision Credit Union profit sharing


Shootin’ the Breeze contacted Northback for clarification and more details of their proposal, but was told there likely wouldn’t be any comment.

A letter from Jennifer Mizuik of Calgary is the only letter of objection relating to the application on the AER website, as of the writing of this story.

“The proposed mining activity raises concerns about the possibility of contaminating local watersheds. These watersheds are vital components of the region’s ecosystem, and their contamination could have far-reaching ecological consequences,” wrote Mizuik in her statement of concern.

“The project has the potential to pose significant threats to aquatic ecosystems in the area. The health of these ecosystems is essential for the well-being of local wildlife and overall environmental balance.”

A local environmental group at the centre of the long-running debate over coal exploration, and this project in particular, is the Livingstone Landowners Group.

“We were heavily involved in the whole Grassy Mountain mine application and opposed it during the regulatory process,” said Bobbi Lambright, the group’s communications director.

In 2021, facing a large swell against the project from not only the environmental movement but a growing number of Albertans, the provincial government reinstated a 1976 coal policy protecting parts of the Rockies.


Notice of operational days for Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill


“Our understanding of it was that they were suspending all approvals of new coal exploration activities,” said Lambright. “So, (our) focus has been on trying to get the existing coal exploration impacts remediated.”

While agreeing with the points brought out in Mizuik’s objection letter, the group feels the issue goes much deeper.

“There’s not much of a mechanism in place right now to ensure that after a company has gone in and created roads and done drilling and really disrupted the landscape in a significant way, that it actually gets cleaned up and restored as closely as possible, to its previous state,” Lambright said.

Livingstone Landowners Group has said it plans to send its own statement of concern.

Besides Northback, Shootin’ the Breeze also reached out to the Alberta Energy Regulator’s media representative for further comment on the process, but was referred to its website and a link to the specific deep-drilling permit.

We also contacted federal Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who in 2021 made the decision to not approve the project, as well as Foothills MP John Barlow and Livingstone-Macleod MLA Chelsae Petrovic.

We are waiting to hear back.


Orange t-shirt on grey background with Town of Pincher Creek logo on the sleeve, promoting Orange Shirt Day on Sept. 30.


Dwyer behind bars, charges laid in Coleman home invasion

A fourth suspect in a recent home invasion in Crowsnest Pass is now in custody.

Robert Dwyer, 37, of Lethbridge faces a long list of charges relating to the forced entry of a home in Coleman on Sept. 16. 

RCMP report that five men, armed with weapons, entered the residence and assaulted a man and woman inside.

It’s alleged, a third resident was also attacked when he returned home.

Robert Dwyer is accused of two counts of aggravated assault, break and enter, robbery, pointing a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, uttering threats and assault with a weapon.

Police also executed a search warrant on Dwyer’s home.

Among items seized were a bat, hatchet, knife, two air rifles, one air pistol, three cell phones and ammunition.


Poster for Diyet concert and Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod


Two other suspects in this case, 39-year-old Tyler Trodden and Garett Ouelette, 41, have been remanded in custody pending their next court appearance, via video, in Lethbridge.

Aaron Thompson, 40, is scheduled to appear in Pincher Creek provincial court Nov. 2. 

He was released from custody with a promise to appear.

RCMP have said all four suspects are active members of the Rebels Motorcycle Club.


Related article: Suspects sought after Coleman home invasion

Related article: Second suspect in Coleman home invasion arrested

Related article: Rebel Motorcycle Club members charged in Coleman home invasion

Map of Alberta showing fire advisory for MD of Pincher Creek Area

Fire danger rating lowered, thanks to recent rain

For the second time this month, the fire danger rating in the town and MD of Pincher Creek has been lowered.

In early September, a ban in place for most of the summer was eased to a fire restriction.

“On Saturday the 21st we downgraded it, again, to a fire advisory with the rain and conditions having improved,” fire Chief Pat Neumann tells Shootin’ the Breeze.

Unlike August, though, when almost all the month’s rain fell during an Aug. 30 thunderstorm, this month’s moisture has been spread out, allowing the vegetation to green up.

But, Neumann warns, conditions can change on a dime.

“So, what a fire advisory allows people to do is have recreational firepits with a permit. It also allows us to issue debris burn permits or notification of burn for residents within the MD.”

It’s also important to note that the district may not necessarily have the final say on where fires are allowed.


Orange and blue flames on SGB Fitbodies ad promoting Fire and Ice classes


“One of the things that makes our MD unique is a protected forest area, which resides mostly on the western edge that is governed under forestry guidelines,” Neumann says.

“So, what that means is they need to pay attention to what Alberta Forestry posts in regards to fire restrictions and fire bans, and currently we don’t have any.”

As we move into the first full week of fall, Neumann is thankful for one thing: the quiet fire season the area has enjoyed.

“Given the conditions we had elsewhere in the province, the Northwest Territories and B.C., there was an awful lot of media education, making sure people understood the risks and hazards of the landscape.”

People are pretty understanding when it comes to having some freedoms taken away, he says, referring to the long-standing tradition of families gathering around a campfire, something that couldn’t happen this past summer.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of man-made fires started within the rural landscape this year and that’s really a testament to people actually paying more attention to the conditions.”

Full updated details on fire bans for the MD are posted online at There, you’ll also find information on fire bans from around the province as well as how to apply for burn and firepit notifications.


Tyler Thomas Trodden, white male with short dark hair, mustache, beard and sideburns with some grey and receding hairline. Arrested in relation to Crowsnest Pass home invasion.

Second suspect in Coleman home invasion arrested

Tyler Thomas Trodden, wanted in connection with a Crowsnest Pass home invasion, has been arrested by Vulcan RCMP.

The 39-year-old Pincher Creek man was arrested without incident, and a shelter-in-place advisory issued earlier today for the village of Champion has been lifted. 

Trodden was the subject of an arrest warrant for charges including aggravated assault, break and enter, robbery, and firearms and weapons offences. 

Five armed men forced their way into a residence where two men and one woman were assaulted. Police allege the suspects had firearms and other weapons in what they believe to be a targeted attack

Trodden will remain in custody until a judicial interim release hearing determines if bail will be granted.


Woman in orange and yellow safety vest speaks to older man dressed in grey beside a police car


RCMP arrested Garett Adam Ouellette, 41, on Sept. 21 and remanded him in custody until his next court appearance on Sept. 28 in Pincher Creek Provincial Court.

Robert Russell Dwyer, 37, and Aaron John Thompson, 40, remain at large along with a third unidentified man.

Authorities believe Robert Dwyer is in the Pincher Creek area. He is 6’ tall and 165 pounds. He has brown eyes, brown hair and a light complexion.

Aaron Thompson may also be in or near Pincher Creek. He is 5’10” and weighs 294 pounds. He has brown hair, hazel eyes and a light complexion.

If you have information about the whereabouts of Dwyer or Thompson, or if you know the identity of the fifth suspect, please contact Crowsnest Pass RCMP at 403-562-2867 or your local police.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at, or the P3 app available through the Apple App or Google Play stores.


Three white male home invasion suspects from Pincher Creek. Left – Robert Russell Dyer, reddish-brown hair, mustache and goatee, lettered tattoo on right side of neck; middle – Aaron John Thompson, clean shaven with dark eyebrows and sideburns, wearing ball cap; right – Tyler Thomas Trodden – Short dark hair, mustache, beard and sideburns with some grey and receding hairline.

Suspects sought after Coleman home invasion

This is the original post also see update: Second suspect in Coleman home invasion arrested

One man is in custody and Crowsnest Pass RCMP are seeking three others after a Sept. 16 home invasion in the community. RCMP have charged four Pincher Creek men with aggravated assault, break and enter, robbery, and firearms and weapons offences.

RCMP arrested Garett Adam Ouellette, 41, on Sept. 21 and remanded him in custody until his next court appearance on Sept. 28 in Pincher Creek Provincial Court.

 Tyler Thomas Trodden, 39, Robert Russell Dwyer, 37, and Aaron John Thompson, 40, remain at large. The identity of a fifth suspect is unknown. 

Charges stem from a Sept. 16 event at a Coleman residence. Crowsnest Pass RCMP responded to a report of a home invasion at 5:15 p.m. after the incident spread to the street.

A statement released today by Alberta RCMP says five men armed with weapons forced entry into the home and assaulted one male and one female resident. During the incident, the attackers also targeted a second male resident who had returned home.


Town of Pincher Creek council and committee of the whole schedule advertisement


Police allege the suspects had firearms and other weapons.

Based on evidence gathered and interviews conducted, investigators believe the home invasion was a targeted attack, The investigation is ongoing.

While Ouellette is in custody, Crowsnest Pass RCMP seek public assistance in locating the other suspects.

Tyler Trodden is 6’3” and weighs 213 pounds. He has brown eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion. RCMP believe Trodden is in the Vulcan area.

Authorities believe Robert Dwyer is in the Pincher Creek area. He is 6’ tall and 165 pounds. He also has brown eyes, brown hair and a light complexion.

Aaron Thompson may also be in or near Pincher Creek. He is 5’10” and weighs 294 pounds. He has brown hair, hazel eyes and a light complexion.

If you have information about the whereabouts of Trodden, Dwyer, or Thompson, or if you know the identity of the fifth suspect, please contact Crowsnest Pass RCMP at 403-562-2867 or your local police.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at, or the P3 app available through the Apple App or Google Play stores.



Model houses between male and female hands while graphics indicate fluctutations in the real-estate market.

Slowing in real estate market; industry remains optimistic

Although there’s been a definite bounceback in home sales since the pandemic, 2023 has proven to be somewhat sluggish if you compare it to years past.

“We were expecting, in 2020, a huge reduction and the exact opposite happened. I would actually call it a real estate boom,” explains executive director Cathy Maxwell, CEO of the Lethbridge and District Association of Realtors, which covers the Pincher Creek region and communities in Crowsnest Pass.

“In ’21 we had some very big numbers. In ’22 and ’23, particularly in 2023, we have seen a little bit of decrease.”

Beautiful sampling of wedding invitations and photo cards created by Claresholm Local Press.
In the first eight months, ending Aug. 31, sales in the Lethbridge board region eased by 14 per cent this year versus last — a slow start in the first few months resulting in the downward trend.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though.

For the month of August, there were 278 home transactions overall in the board’s coverage area, with Pincher Creek logging six sales, doubled in the Pass with 12, and resulting in a regionwide rise of 13 per cent year over year.

The number of new listings in August also showed promise, climbing 10 per cent and bringing with it some optimism, but it’s tempered.

“Year over year, we’re up 9.7 per cent and that’s a good thing because we need to improve our inventory, but year-to-date, it’s down 17 per cent,” Maxwell said.


Woman in orange and yellow safety vest speaks to older man dressed in grey beside a police car


“Basically, the easiest way to break it down is we have 2.8 months of (available homes) supply. That’s very low.  So, if you were to talk to me at the beginning of 2020 or even 2019, we probably had about eight months of supply.”

Sales of single-family detached houses continue to lead the charge, accounting for 270 of the 278 sales in August. However, prices remain high, with a dramatic shift in some cases.

“If you look at the detached home, I can tell you that the average house price has gone up about 0.5 percent. So, not a ton … that number is now $358,000,” Maxwell said.

However, it’s a sharp rise if you were looking at a duplex or townhouse last month compared to August 2022, she added.

“This one I find very interesting. That average house price has gone up 30 per cent year over year. That is amazing. So, that average house price is 347 (thousand). That’s nearing the detached price.”

Row housing, where you might have multiple units side by side, has also gone up, by 25 per cent, Maxwell said, with an average price in August of $293,000.

And, apartment building sales also rose by 20 per cent (to $181,000) when compared to August of last year, she concluded.

To put it into perspective, the average overall sale price of a home in Pincher Creek in August was just shy of $301,000, while prices in the Crowsnest Pass corridor ranged from $240,500 in Bellevue to well over $402,000 in Blairmore.


Woman in orange and yellow safety vest speaks to older man dressed in grey beside a police car


In Lundbreck, it was $384,500, and while last month’s benchmark for Cowley was unavailable, its year-to-date figure to Aug. 31 was pegged at $80,000.

“If you look at residential sales by price range, homes between $350,000 and $400,000 had the most turnover,” the association’s CEO pointed out.

Last month, there were 81 homes purchased, 16 more than 2022.

Since Jan. 1 of this year, there were 581, but a downturn from last year’s first eight-month total of 675.

Besides the jump in housing prices, Maxwell also credits a large part of the slowdown to what happens with the Bank of Canada’s interest rate. 

Currently being held at 5 per cent (at press time), its fluctuation has a direct bearing on the real estate market, as well.

“Of course, when the rate goes up, it’s harder for people to buy homes,” Maxwell says.

And with the interest rates where they are now, she believes many are hesitant to lock into a mortgage, unsure if the index will go up or come down, or worse, face high prime rates if they have to renew.


Woman in orange and yellow safety vest speaks to older man dressed in grey beside a police car


“It’s going to be tough on some people,” Maxwell says. “I know some people personally, who back in 2021, early in ’21, locked in at a very low rate. By the end of the year, it was probably four points higher.”

Asked to look into her crystal ball, she is confident the market will show signs of growth, pointing to not only a diverse economy in the region, but also a burgeoning shift in population into Alberta.

Figures released by the province at its fiscal update in August showed a potential four per cent-plus migration.

“You know, I believe that,” Maxwell says. “At our AGM in March, our economist, who prepares these stats, had a slide of these arrows pointing towards Alberta showing the amount of migration. It was staggering to see.”

And, that sentiment is being echoed in the real estate industry.

“I’m hearing from my colleagues all over the province about people moving from Ontario and B.C., buying a very, very nice house in Alberta and still having a nice nest egg,” Maxwell concluded.

There was also mixed optimism around the rest of the province with a bump in both sales and new listings in August, according to the Alberta Real Estate Association.

In all, there were 7,527 sales province-wide and 9,825 new listings.


Woman in orange and yellow safety vest speaks to older man dressed in grey beside a police car


“August sales reached record high levels thanks mostly to the gains in Calgary and Edmonton,” it said in its monthly update.

“Higher lending rates have driven many purchasers to seek out the relatively affordable semi-detached, row and apartment sectors, which reported the largest year-over-year sales growth this month.”

The association also singled out a strong migration and continued job growth as reasons for the monthly climb, but like the Lethbridge region, indicated that inventory levels have not been this low in August since 2006.

The average price for a home in Alberta in August was $485,000, a four-percent gain if you compare it to 2022.

To see the full Alberta Real Estate Association report for August online, visit or scan this code with your phone camera.

Full moon against a blue sky

Annual fundraiser for KidSport set for Saturday

Pincher Creek’s annual Moon Shadow Run returns this Saturday, Sept. 23.

Volunteer director Alecia Williams calls the race, started by John Verhagen, an annual family fun event.

“We have three different distances again this year — 2.5 kilometres, 5 and 10K. We usually have the most people in the 2½, kids with their parents or people who would rather walk … so we offer something for everyone,” Alecia says.

“All three courses will wind their way close to the creek,” she adds.

“For the 2½ and 5K, you actually head east towards Highway 6.”

The 2.5-kilometre portion will go to the highway and back behind the pool, where the starting line is.

The 5K route will begin east, then back west to the gazebo and return to the starting line.

“The 10K goes west toward the Community Hall and does a loop in that direction, and there will be water stations along the route,” Alecia says.

Entry fee is $25 and, like in years past, all monies raised will go to the KidSportCanada program but will be used locally.



The idea is to provide financial support for families whose children might not otherwise be able to take part in sports.

Funding of up to $300 per year, per child, is offered to local families.

The business community also does its part to keep the event going, Alecia says, with sponsors helping to cover the costs. Their names are put on the back of race T-shirts as a way to recognize their support.

This year’s event will begin at 6:30 p.m., but you can register beginning at 4. All indications are that the weather will co-operate, with a forecast of sun and cloud and temperatures reaching 20 C.

With it likely to cool off quickly, layering is recommended.

“After the run, we’ll have snacks and an environment to hang out after, to cheer on the remaining runners to the finish line. So, having a few extra layers is really a good thing,” Alecia says.

One final ask: With narrow spots along parts of the trail and the chance of runners and walkers going in opposite directions, event organizers are urging that child strollers (buggies) and participants of the four-legged variety be left at home.

Should be lots of fun. Hope to see you there!

Overhead view of Montem Resources plan for Tent Mountain development near Crowsnest Pass.

Tent Mountain coal mine ‘pivots’ to renewable energy

Faced with a changing environmental landscape, a Crowsnest Pass mining operation is looking at shifting gears.

Australian-based Montem Resources, which operated the Tent Mountain open-pit mine, 16 kilometres west of Coleman, is changing its focus and name as it moves into the renewable energy field.

In a presentation to Crowsnest Pass council Sept. 12, president Peter Doyle announced that Montem will now be known as Evolve Power Group and has partnered with TransAlta in the new venture.

“The CEO of TransAlta and I meet regularly. I have no doubt in vouching for their commitment to this project,” said Doyle to council.

“I know you see the significance of this. It’s a billion-dollar investment,” he added.

TransAlta, Doyle continued, brings experience, already operating a hydro-generating plant near Drayton Valley.

The move, though, is a new direction for Montem, which has said it’s in the process of exiting its coal business and ceased all coal development activities.

“Unfortunately, we had to make a pivot, but we’re very proud that we’re able to make the change,” Doyle continued.



The new operation will have both an upper and lower reservoir and feature pumped-storage hydroelectric storage or PHES.

According to the PowerPoint presentation, PHES is a closed-loop system of non-fish-bearing water that cycles between the two reservoirs.

While the new Tent Mountain proposal will still need to go through the proper regulatory approval and community engagement, Doyle is confident of its value, not only to Alberta’s power grid, but to the area, as well.

“At its peak during construction, it will provide jobs for close to 200 people, and 30 permanent positions.”

Once built, the project is expected to generate power for a period of 80-plus years to some 400,000 Alberta homes and to eliminate up to 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year into the environment.

And, while not formally in place, Evolve is working toward another partnership with the Blackfoot Confederacy, which includes the Piikani and Siksika nations, of at least a 10 per cent ownership stake.

If approved, construction would begin in 2026 and be completed sometime in 2028.

Map of Canada indicating percentage of CEBA funding distributed by province.

Ottawa announces CEBA payment extension

After repeated calls by the business community, interest groups and opposition parties, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that his government is extending the loan repayment deadline for Canada Emergency Business Account to Dec. 31, 2026, one full year after the current deadline.

“We know that some need a bit more runway,” Trudeau said, after emerging from a Liberal caucus retreat Thursday.

“We’re giving small businesses in Canada more time to pay back emergency loans offered during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Between April 2020 and June 2021, close to 900,000 applications were made to the CEBA program, with a little over $49 billion handed out.

However, with only a reported 21 per cent of businesses, as of May 31, having paid back their loans in full, a large chunk remains unpaid.

The program, launched in the wake of the pandemic, originally had a payment-in-full deadline of 2022, but with a sharp rise in Omicron cases, the federal government, seeing a slowing in business bounceback, extended it to the end of 2023.

Those able to get funding of $60,000, for example, currently have until this coming Dec. 31 to pay two-thirds of the amount and have the last third, $20,000, forgiven.

The alternative, until Thursday’s announcement, for business owners was a two-year payment plan, at 5 per cent interest, due Dec. 31, 2025.

That deadline has now been extended by a year.

But will it be enough?



“This news comes with mixed feelings for the Pincher Creek and District Chamber of Commerce,” said president Rylan Brown in a statement Friday.

“It’s great that business owners who need more breathing room can express the option to extend the payment. The troubling part of this statement is that it’s only a short-term fix. It begs the question, what happens when the piper calls?”

Brown, though, is recommending businesses don’t go it alone.

“I would suggest that our members in this predicament speak with their accountants and lenders for a better long-term solution. Many lenders are stepping in to take over the loan so business owners can capitalize on the debt forgiveness and acquire a longer loan term to help soften the debt load,” he concluded.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, meanwhile, characterized the announcement as “disappointing.”

“The (federal) government has failed to address the most critical issue on outstanding CEBA loans — the loss of the $20,000 forgivable portion for those unable to repay the loans by year-end,” the statement opened.

“The extension of the forgivable deadline by a few weeks will be of very little value to the thousands of small business owners who just don’t have money to repay now.”

Figures compiled by the federation indicate that 69 per cent of small businesses that accessed the loan have not yet been able to repay any of it and only 18 per cent have repaid their loan in full as of September.

View the above image on the Government of Canada website here.


Related article:

CEBA repayment may sink one in five Alberta businesses

K's Thomson, wearing a red shirt and black cowboy hat rides saddle bronc on a brown horse with black mane at the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo.

K’s Thomson pushes for Top 12 season finish

K’s Thomson is a difficult person to get ahold of. Then, again, cell reception on the back of a bucking horse might have something to do with it.

And, when he’s not in the saddle, you’ll likely find the well-known local bronc rider heading down a darkened highway or hopping a plane to some far-off rodeo.

Now 24, the Lundbreck cowboy is completing his third year on the pro rodeo circuit and he’s still having fun.

“Lot more fun than doing something else,” he jokes.

One of K’s top finishes this season was on Aug. 19 in Pincher Creek when he tied fellow Albertan Chance Barrass for second with an 82-point ride, a $1,000-plus earning.

“A pretty fun day, but a little more pressure when it’s your hometown. My dad was actually a chute boss,” says K’s. “Had a pretty good horse, had a good chance. Probably should have won the rodeo to be honest with you, but I kind of messed up on the ride a bit.”

Heading into this past weekend, K’s was 13th overall in the Canadian Pro Rodeo’s saddle bronc class, with the top 12 advancing to Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer in November.

Is he feeling any pressure?



“No, not really. There’s two guys ahead there that don’t have the rodeo count, so I would actually be, like, 11th but the only thing is, it’s me and Quinton Taylor and Logan Hay,” K’s says.

“The three of us are all fighting for the last two spots and they’re both guys that I travel with, along with Ben Andersen. We travel together all year.”

Andersen, as of press time, sat atop the leader board, while Hay was eighth and Taylor, 14th.

CFR is set for Nov. 2 to 6 in Red Deer.

While historically, like most pro athletes, cowboys would have an off-season to heal and rest up, rodeo has become pretty well a year-round sport.

Oct. 1 is the start of the 2024 season.

“Might go to Newtown (North Dakota) or maybe one or two in October, but then I got to get home. I have some colts waiting for me that I need to get going on,” says K’s. 

“Hopefully, then, go to Arizona and win some rodeos down there.”

After undergoing hip surgery last season and then suffering both a knee injury earlier this year and a lower body injury, cowboys don’t like to talk about, he’ll need to find the time to heal.

After all, the process starts all over again in just a few short weeks, but I’ve heard it’s a lot more fun than doing something else.

Construction site of Highway 507 bridge repair near Pincher Creek

$1.3-million structure on time, on budget

Work on the Highway 507 bridge on the east side of Pincher Creek is on time and on budget, according to the province’s Ministry of Transportation and Economic Corridors.

“Work on the replacement program began on Aug. 1 and is expected to be completed by the end of October,” press secretary Jesse Ferber tells Shootin’ the Breeze.

“Girders for the new bridge were erected on Sept. 9 and the new deck will be placed this week.”

Ferber says the total cost for the project, awarded to ISL Engineering, is estimated at $1.3 million.

Paving work is also taking place along sections of 507 in the MD of Pincher Creek.


Local groups, like SPCA, reach out for help

It’s no secret that businesses are struggling to find staff, but the same holds true for non-profit groups like the Pincher Creek Humane Society (SPCA), in finding volunteers.

Shelter manager Felicia White says finding volunteers to act as board members, help with community events or come into the shelter to care for the animals is an ongoing challenge.

“We’ve been part of the farmers market with the chamber all summer, and the big thing I’ve noticed with everyone is nobody can find volunteers.”

Part of the reason, she believes, might be the changing family culture.

“I think a lot of it has to do with families needing two incomes to live. And if you have kids, you’re strapped, you have no time.”

But, there’s also a shift in the volunteer culture.

“Our seniors’ generation are the ones that have been part of the boards, part of the businesses and doing the fundraisers,” Felicia adds.

And, now they’re retiring or moving on — in some cases, leaving the community to be closer to family.



“I feel there’s a lot of people that piggyback. So, if we have somebody on our board, they’re also part of the fish pond, the Legion, the Elks or the Lions, and they can’t give their full effort because they’re trying to help everybody.”

As longtime volunteers step away, Felicia is hoping the younger generation will pick up the torch in some capacity.

“For us, we need volunteers everywhere. I kind of get one demographic of people who just want to come in and pet our cats and that’s great because I do need socialization with them,” she says.

But there are other ways to help. The shelter needs foster caregivers and people to walk dogs.

“With that being said, our dogs are not little dogs. Typically, ill-mannered large dogs, which is why we have them. So, a 16-year-old can’t go and take out my big cane corso,” Felicia adds.

That’s not because most teens wouldn’t have the strength, she points out, but because of insurance and liability concerns.



That’s where an older person can step in and help.

With more volunteers, Felicia says the humane society is able to reduce some of its operating costs and, more importantly, avoid “cutting corners” with its animal care, with the money that is saved.

But, while advocating for her organization, Felicia says volunteering is all about the right fit.

“I cannot keep a plant alive to save my life,” she jokes, “so, I would not be a good person for the (Pincher) Planters.”

If you love animals, however, the Pincher Creek Humane Society is looking for you.

Here is the society’s web link:

The Pincher Planters and plenty of other non-profits in the community are also in search of a few good people, many with their own social media pages or websites offering contact information.

One good source to start might be Volunteer Pincher Creek’s social media page at

Topographic map showing location of proposed Rpger's cell tower near Beaver Mines in the MD of Pincher Creek.

Beaver Mines area residents against planned cell tower

A proposal that would see a 60-metre cell tower built northeast of Beaver Mines is facing some stiff opposition.

The application, submitted by Calgary-based LandSolutions Inc. on behalf of Rogers Communications, was brought before the MD of Pincher Creek’s municipal planning commission Sept. 5.

The development, if approved, would see the large structure built on private property just north of Highway 507 and east of Range Road 22. But nearby residents question not only its location on a lower section of terrain, but what benefit it would provide in cellular coverage.



Protect the environment 

“We’ve put a lot of energy into trying to keep this region pristine,” said Jim Parker, who lives about a half-mile south of the proposed site.

“You just have to go north and there’s a lot of wind turbines where you get the red lights at night. We’re lucky, (the turbines) aren’t right in our view, but I sure wouldn’t want to see a bunch of huge wind towers. It would destroy the beauty of that region,” he said.

“Residents live there because it’s one of the untouched areas, and when we’ve spent so much time and energy trying to develop that corridor into such a beautiful area, a tourist area, I think Rogers can try harder to find an alternative spot.”

Laura Parker, Jim’s wife, shares the same feelings about protecting the natural environment, but her leading concern following the meeting was not hearing from the other side of the equation.

“I think it was really disappointing that there wasn’t a representative from Rogers at a development meeting (so) that we could have had some of our concerns addressed directly.”

“Shame on them for nothing being here,” she added.

While not against better cell coverage, residents aren’t sure the location is ideal.

“I know the landowners don’t know what radius this will cover and I’m concerned that people would make such a decision for development and not have a good, strong knowledge of the impacts and benefits of it,” Laura said.

“Is it what the community really needs? I also worry more and more about the environmental impact,” she continued.

“I’ve tried to do some reading up and it says there really hasn’t been enough studies to know the impact (development has) on the environment, wildlife, birds, people. We need to start being more protective of our lands.”



Location under scrutiny

Another nearby resident, Larry Bartsoff, knows all too well about setting up towers. Now retired, he has almost 40 years experience in erecting power grids, including with Fortis Alberta.

“If you look at a cell tower, they’re normally up high,” he said. “They’re in a local zone, but this one is supposedly covering a wide area, so what is the real coverage this tower is expected to do?”

Bartsoff and those living in the area had hoped to hear at the planning commission meeting.

“Why is it at this location? Why is it so low?” — referring to the terrain, with higher hills nearby.

“Why is it in a location that won’t provide better coverage?” Bartsoff questioned, following the public session.

Like the Parkers, Bartsoff wants to see the area’s scenery protected and migrating wildlife unaffected by further development.

“How come as an MD, the wind chargers are stopped at a certain location, a certain area. They’re not pressing to put further (turbines) in because it would be a total violation, and that’s, basically, what this is,” he said.

“And, if you come over the hill into Beaver Mines out of Mill Creek, and you hit the top and you look down, it’s like a Swedish village, almost. It’s serene. It is peaceful.”

There’s an added concern that the tower could cause an indirect traffic hazard.

“It’s not that far off the road … 300 feet, 130 metres, and as you come up that hill, that flashing light is going to be right in your eyes. There’s enough stuff to watch for, deers and other animals,” Bartsoff pointed out.

“And now you could potentially have this light blinking at you for a half a minute.”



What happens next

Needing more information on the application, the municipal planning commission has asked MD administration to write a letter asking Rogers to clarify some of the details of the proposal, including the area of coverage the new tower would provide.

It’s hoped directors will have a clearer picture when the commission meets again on Oct. 3.

Shootin’ the Breeze reached out to LandSolutions Inc. but was told the company couldn’t comment. A followup call to Rogers’ corporate media department was not returned by our press deadline.

Arm of person passing a fast-food drink from a drive-thru window and hand of person in vehicle accepting it.

Town council to focus on the bigger picture

Pincher Creek town council has put the brakes on plans to include drive-thrus in its C4 transitional zoning designation.

In a vote of 6-1, with Coun. Sahra Nodge the lone dissenter, council defeated the second of three readings of an amendment that would have allowed businesses, like restaurants and financial institutions, to potentially have drive-thrus in the downtown core.

“The one thing, in my view, that makes it slightly incompatible, is you’re transitioning from residential to commercial and that whole area of transition has public sidewalks right in front of it,” said Coun. Wayne Oliver, referring to the Subway restaurant on Main Street, which had been hoping to open its existing drive-thru window.

“Having a drive-thru that has to cross (two) public sidewalks is not an ideal design,” he said. “And that’s a high-traffic area with a swimming pool and a skating rink.”

There was also concern across the board that an alleyway behind the restaurant might be impacted by a drive-thru lane.

While there’d been no direct dialogue with the owner of the Subway on the access route, the town’s CAO assured council that vehicles wouldn’t be able to line up in the alley. 

“Private development isn’t able to use back alleys. Everything has to be done on their site,” confirmed Angie Lucas, when asked by Coun. David Green where the vehicles would enter the drive-thru.

Oliver, however, followed up on an earlier comment from Mayor Don Anderberg that any amendment changes need to be considered for all the businesses that might be affected, not just one.



New direction for future development? 

While in favour of seeing the amendment go through second reading, Nodge also accepted there might be a shift in what the community wants from its downtown, which includes Kettles Street, where a number of lots fall under the “transitional” designation.

The zoning “was primarily along the Kettles Street piece. It’s more than just Main Street,” she said. “It was meant to facilitate more commercial development on Kettles and also on the west end of Main Street, west of the Hewetson intersection, on that block, on both sides.”

But have the wants and needs of the community changed?

“I don’t think where our community is moving now is foreseeing Kettles as a commercial core, as it once did, and I think there’s a shift in how the downtown is viewed in terms of growth possibility and the desirability,” Nodge added.

Anderberg, meanwhile, would like to see any future discussion on land use include the stretch of Main Street west of Hewetson.

“The (original) intent was to intensify that section for commercial development. It hasn’t worked too well,” he said.

Anderberg hopes an updated land use bylaw, with new provisions for C4, will address that.

“I think the plan (for the C4 district) was put in place … 1998, 1990, so it’s been 25 years. It’s out of date,” said the mayor.

The first draft of the new land use bylaw could come across the council table as early as next month.

Food bank shelves filled with non-perishable food and bottled water

Latter-day Saints continue food drive tradition

If you find a plastic bag on your doorstep next week, don’t be alarmed or think the wind must have blown it there.

The bag, as it turns out, is part of the annual fall food drive put on in Pincher Creek by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Campaign chairman Chuck Nelson says the plastic bags will have a flyer inside that outlines what the Pincher Creek Food Centre is in need of at this time.

“It’s a pretty good mix,” Chuck says. This includes pasta, cereal, fruit cups, pudding cups, flour, sugar, coffee, tea and canned soups.

Organizers aren’t accepting any homemade canned or baked goods, though.

“No solicitation, so we won’t be asking for a donation,” he says. “It’s completely voluntary to participate.”

As in years past, volunteers with the church will go around the community dropping off the bags between Sept. 19 and 21.

Collection day is Saturday, Sept. 23.

“We’re asking anyone who’s taking part to have the bags out on the doorstep by 10 a.m. We’ll then pick them up and deliver them to the food bank,” Chuck says.

“We are extremely grateful for the continued support from the church and its members,” says Anne Gover, president of the Pincher Creek and District Community Food Centre. 

“Over the years, they’ve managed to collect hundreds of pounds of food and we simply couldn’t accomplish our mission if it wasn’t for the support of our marvellous community.”

The local ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been co-ordinating the event since 2012. It presented a cheque in lieu of a food drive in 2020, when Covid restrictions were in place.

Silhouettes of three people deliberating at a table.

Crowsnest Pass council considers projects for 2024

Crowsnest Pass council began the first step Aug. 17 of considering what projects they’d like to have included in next year’s budget.

While many might be considered as lofty goals, each one of the 31 proposals was looked at thoroughly with CAO Patrick Thomas providing background information and feedback, where needed.

Topping the list, in cost, at $8.5 million is a new multi-use facility that would include a gymnastics centre, climbing wall, indoor soccer pitch, and meeting rooms for community and sports groups.

So far, $3.8 million has been set aside in a reserve fund.

Also brought into the discussion: a new $5-million municipal office. The funding, if approved at a later meeting, would see $1 million put away in each of the next five years, starting in 2024.

But, it was some of the smaller concepts that drew the bulk of discussion during the meeting, which lasted over three hours. 

This included the Coleman washroom, with an estimated value of $160,000. The structure is to be built on a stretch of the community trail system used by walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists. 

The exact location, however, has yet to be decided on. It’s being considered for 2024 funding.

While no cost was given, a potential trail or pathway between Bellevue and Frank might also be in the offing.



Another investment that’s much needed, but for different reasons, and at a considerably larger expense, is a street sweeper.

With only one unit to cover Blairmore, Coleman, Frank, Hillcrest and Bellevue, councillors believe it’s money well spent.

The existing sweeper will be kept strictly as an emergency backup.

Also on the list is $2 million in funding upgrades to Gazebo Park in Blairmore, which hosts a farmers market during the spring and summer months.

Any improvements would complement the downtown core, which has undergone a facelift of its own.

Council will divide the cost between its 2024 and 2025 budgets.

Not approved, but not necessarily off the table, are improvements to the new Eco Centre in Frank. At a cost of $75,000, the proposal would have seen a new concrete pad put down and fencing placed around the collection bins.

It’s something that might be looked at again, for 2025.

A planned $1-million investment for the Hillcrest ball diamonds has also been taken off the table for now.

It, too, might come back for discussion next year or the year after.

A second budgetary meeting is planned for Monday, Sept. 18, at 9 a.m. at the municipal council chambers.



Yellow crime scene tape on black background

Lundbreck business scene of break-in and assault

RCMP are looking into a break and enter that took place early this morning at a business in Lundbreck.

At approximately 5:15, Crowsnest Pass RCMP were dispatched to a complaint of a break-and-enter in progress,” said an RCMP press release Wednesday morning.

“During the break and enter, the owner attended the business and an altercation took place in which a suspect brandished a weapon.”

Police say the owner received minor injuries in the incident.

It’s believed two, and possibly, three, suspects fled the scene prior to Mounties arriving, taking with them an undisclosed amount of money.

RCMP are appealing to the public for any help in the case.

They’re asking anyone with information to contact them at (403) 562-2867.

You can also remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Exterior of Subway franchise building in Pincher Creek

Main Street restaurant awaits changes to bylaw

The Town of Pincher Creek is looking at making a change to one of its zoning designations.

Known as C-4 transitional commercial, it covers financial institutions, retail stores and restaurants, but the rules now don’t allow for a business to operate a drive-thru window.

The owner of a Main Street eatery is hoping a proposed amendment to the current bylaw will change all of that.

Avinash Thakor owns the downtown Subway location, at the corner of Main and Davidson, and has since 2017.

“The drive-thru, for some people, is much more convenient, especially if, maybe, you have kids in your car. It’s much quicker sometimes,” Thakor said.

“Right now, I’m really just waiting for the process to be completed.”

For any changes to be accepted, though, a bylaw amendment or amendments need to go to a first reading, then to a public hearing, before a second and final third reading.



The first two steps have already happened.

“So, if the request gets added into the zoning, and the zoning gets changed, then the applicant is going to have to bring an application forward,” Mayor Don Anderberg explained after the Aug. 28 public hearing.

Facing staffing challenges, like many employers, opening the drive-thru window hasn’t always been top of mind for Thakor, but it’s something his customers have been asking about with a window already in place.

If approved, the restaurant will also need to establish a traffic pattern to avoid blocking a nearby alleyway and Davidson Avenue, but so far no one in the neighbourhood has shared any concern, including at the recent public hearing.

“There is actually space in the parking lot where you could enter the drive-thru and it’s wide enough,” Thakor said.

A passing of the new bylaw could come as early as the town’s next regular council meeting, Sept. 11, when it’s expected to receive both second and final readings in succession.