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Tag: Crowsnest Pass

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.


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


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.


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


“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.


Poster for Diyet concert and Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod


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.


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


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

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.


Notice of operational days for Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill


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.


Logo for Crowsnest Pass Fire Rescue featuring a crow, maple leaf, snowcapped mountains, an axe, a ladder and spruce trees

Crowsnest Pass recruiting paid on-call firefighters

If you’ve ever considered becoming a firefighter and live in Crowsnest Pass, now might be your chance to give it a go.

The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass has put out a recruitment call for paid on-call firefighters to join the ranks of the municipal fire department.

A career opportunities notice, posted online, states the department is in need of community-oriented applicants who exhibit a desire to keep the people of Crowsnest Pass safe. 

“We’re always looking for great people to join the department, so we put the call out on the municipal website to try and reach a wide spectrum of people. It’s been a successful recruitment drive here thus far,” says Craig Marshall, deputy chief of the fire department.

Any recruit must possess a number of minimum qualifications to become a paid on-call firefighter.

An applicant must be at least 18 years of age, be a resident of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, be eligible to work in Canada, provide a criminal background check, hold a Class 5 driver’s licence and pass a medical. 

On top of these minimum qualifications, applicants must exhibit a good attitude and teamworking skills.


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


In support of career firefighters, they must also have the capacity to follow directions and make practical decisions calmly on a moment’s notice. 

“We want people that we can trust, that the community can trust,” says the deputy chief.

“We’re often meeting people on their most vulnerable day, so it’s important that applicants show integrity, confidentiality and a desire to help just because it’s the right thing to do.”

Paid on-call firefighters are required to attend weekly training sessions and emergency calls on an as-needed basis. Due to the unpredictability of the job, hours can vary significantly, but generally range from two to 10 hours per week.

To apply, visit the career opportunities page on the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass website at 

Any questions about becoming a member of the municipal fire department can be directed to Craig Marshall at 403-562-8600 or by email.

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.


Beautiful sampling of wedding invitations and photo cards created by Claresholm Local Press.


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.”

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

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.


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


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.

Jonathan Friesen, a man with red hair, sideburns and beard, looks into a microscope.

LRSD students will benefit from mobile science lab

High school students can now immerse themselves in an authentic research space suitable for environmental sciences programming, while earning dual credit in high school and post-secondary botany, ecology, geology, zoology and aquaponics courses.

A mobile environmental sciences lab, created collaboratively by Lethbridge College and Livingstone Range School Division, was launched Sept. 7. Representatives of the two institutions were on hand at PEAKS Campus, the school division’s place-based learning centre in Crowsnest Pass, to officially unveil the lab.

“I think that with this lab comes a unique opportunity to provide world-class education for our students that kids in rural areas tend to have trouble accessing otherwise,” says Chad Kuzyk, associate superintendent of curriculum and innovation for LRSD.

Students will have no shortage of experiential learning opportunities when using the field-study lab.

“This space will provide our students with an authentic learning experience that you just can’t get in the classroom,” says LRSD superintendent Darryl Seguin.

“We have this beautiful area that we live in, so what better way to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the environment and careers in the field than to provide them with the space to do so.”


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


Jonathan Friesen, a lab technician for Lethbridge College who helped design the space, says the lab is equipped to ensure students have everything they need to conduct industry-standard studies.

“We want to get high school students interested in the environmental sciences, and this lab was designed to be a good way for students to get their feet wet,” he says.

The lab includes microscopes, binoculars, chest waders, nets, storage tanks, sensors, safety kits, weather gear, water flow measuring software, a generator and a canopy. It will provide students with a clear pathway into post-secondary education and careers in environmental sciences.

Students can rest assured that this one-of-a-kind mobile unit is designed for use during all four seasons.

“Countless hours of planning and work went into this custom project so it could be comfortable and self-sufficient for students year-round, and we are excited to see the learning experiences that will take place within it,” says Dr. Terry Kowalchuk, dean of Lethbridge College’s Centre for Technology, Environment and Design, via press release.

In coming weeks, high schools within the division will have opportunities to check out the lab so that teachers and students alike know what new resources are at their fingertips.

This project was made possible by a $100,000 grant provided to the educational institutions by the Alberta Education Dual Credit Enhancement Fund.

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.



Youth run from the starting line of the Amazing Teen Race in Crowsnest Pass

Amazing Teen Race attracts 88 participants

Teens from Crowsnest Pass and surrounding area took to the streets of Coleman on Saturday for CNP 40’s eighth annual Amazing Teen Race. 

The race featured 22 teams of four who made their way through 15 unique challenges. Participants ranged from grades 7 to 12.

Racers went from one challenge station to the next, completing assigned tasks in order to receive their next clue.

The competition included a wide variety of challenges, including escape rooms, fitness circuits, paddleboard races, mannequin hair braiding, creating a song and posting it to social media, and operating a fire hose and hydrant as a team to hit a target.

“I think the race went really well this year. Our registration was full and the kids had a lot of fun with the challenges,” says Stephanie Olsen, co-ordinator of CNP 40 Developmental Assets.

“I think that the hosts that participated genuinely had fun with this event, too. They make the challenges and really put in the effort to make it fun for the teens.” 

The winning teams were determined based on how quickly they completed the challenges. 



In the senior high category, the Ducklings team, featuring Sophie Wendrich, Adam Wendrich, Lily Baillie and Nola McGaughey, took home first place. Each Duckling received a cash prize of $50. 

The NIKS team finished second, featuring Isaac Bailey, Sam Graham, Nate Amatto and Marley Harriott. Each received $25 for their effort.

First place among the junior high teams went to Alex Mertz, Halie Macdonald, Colin Pitt and Landon Sokoloski of the Benchwarmers team. Like the senior high winners, each team member received $50.

The HotWheels team, consisting of Neleta Crombie, Ayla Smith, Owen Smith and Paulo Cameselle, came in second and each was awarded $25.

Stephanie emphasizes how valuable the support that CNP 40 received for this event was.

“I think it’s a community effort,” she says. “The amount of volunteers that we need to do this each year is overwhelming, and yet we seem to rarely have any trouble finding hosts or volunteers because this community really comes together.”

This year’s challenge hosts were A Copper Bind Macrame, Aura Studios, Chris’ Restaurant, Coleman Lions, Crowsnest Adventures, Crowsnest Museum and Archives, Crowsnest Senior Housing — Peaks to Pines, Crow Works, Goal Diggers, Groves Music, the Black Hare, the Knight Family, Nature Conservancy Canada, CNP Protective Services/RCMP/Canadian Bear Safety Authority and CNP Fire Rescue.

CNP 40 thanks every one of its sponsors, challenge hosts, volunteers and participants for making this year’s Amazing Teen Race a successful one.

Three people skating on outdoor rink shown from knees down

C.N.P. council funds temporary outdoor rink, park improvements

During its June 20 meeting, Crowsnest Pass council approved two expenditures that will help improve outdoor recreation for residents.

Temporary outdoor rink 

Earlier this year the parks and recreation advisory committee began exploring options for a viable location for an outdoor skating rink. The idea was to pick a suitable area and run a test season to see if a permanent rink would be successful.

Several locations were considered, such as Frank Playground, Gazebo Park, Flumerfelt Park, Pete’s Park and Hillcrest Memorial. Ultimately, space just south of the Coleman Complex was selected.

The Coleman Complex was chosen partly because all necessary equipment and staff are on-site. When open, the building also provides a heated place for skaters to warm up.

Council approved the committee’s request to fund expenses of the rink, set at $1,750. Expenses include installing the ice ($911), wages for workers maintaining the rink ($647.70) and clearing the rink for an estimated five heavy snow events ($189.80).

With all the information provided by the committee, Coun. Dean Ward said moving forward with the trial rink is a logical thing for the municipality to do.

“I’m not convinced yet 100 per cent that an outdoor skating rink makes sense, but I think this is  a good way to give it a try,” he said. “It’s cheap, it’s reasonable, it’s in a good location — if it works out, let’s do something for permanent next year. This is a good way to trial it.”

Building the outdoor rink outside the complex, added Coun. Lisa Sygutek, is a good step toward determining a permanent location.

“I like the idea of trying it out here as it’s only a $1,700 ticket,” said Sygutek. “And if it’s super, super well used, the group really felt the best bang for the buck would be to do it at Pete’s Park and that we could look into that and budget implications in the future.”



Bellevue Memorial Park

At the request of the Bellecrest Association, council voted in favour of covering $5,500 in unexpected costs spent re-grading and landscaping the picnic area west of the concession in Bellevue Memorial Park.

Due to a water main break a few years ago, the picnic area had been rendered unusable. About 1,000 square yards was levelled with concrete blocks, a border of limestone boulders and compacted gravel to revitalize the space.

The association had $5,000 of funding at its disposal and initial permission from the parks department to go ahead, but unforeseen issues bumped up the overall project cost. These included the need for deeper trenches for electric and sprinkler lines, extra concrete blocks, and cutting back broken concrete to allow for better grading.

Despite the larger-than-expected cost, Coun. Doreen Glavin said the work was something that needed to be completed.

“I actually commend Bellcrest Association for actually improving it and fixing it, because as far as I’m concerned it was a big safety issue,” she said. “I understand maybe they shouldn’t have went ahead and did it, but they did have permission not to grade the slope towards the adjacent lot because that’s how it was to start with.”

“There’s an awful lot more usable space there now,” added Coun. Glen Girhiny. “It surprised me how much room there was there, actually, in the end, compared to what it was before. It should’ve been fixed a long time ago.”

Not talking to the municipality about the situation before the work was completed, however, was something that concerned council and administration.

“My only concern here is process. I’m concerned that groups will go out, do work, without talking to the municipality first, and then they show up here,” said Coun. Ward. “To me they should’ve come to administration before they did the work. You don’t get to just do stuff and then show up and say here’s the bill.”

“It would be better to come at the front end and we can make a conscious decision if that’s a project we’re going to go ahead with, instead of coming at the tail end,” added CAO Patrick Thomas.

Although OK with covering the cost, Coun. Sygutek said the municipality’s expectations needed to be made clear with the Bellecrest Association.

“Those issues are going to come at us with any group. The difference is this group is a very functional group and they did a really great job,” she said, “but I think that they need, not a reprimand, but it made very clear that they need to come to us in these situations.”

As a result, council directed administration to provide the needed funds and also send a letter to the association explaining the municipality’s expectations.

Next meeting

The next Crowsnest council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 15, 7 p.m. in council chambers.

Create wedding ambiance with flowers

Nicki Schoening, owner of C&D Floral in Pincher Creek, loves a good bouquet challenge.

On your wedding day, the flowers should be there for you, but Nicki notes that flexibility is often crucial when seeking out your dream bouquet.

“When you look at pictures on the internet, the shades of flowers that you’re gonna see, the combination of fresh flowers and silk flowers, the availability of flowers in the area where you’re getting married might all change in real life as opposed to what you see on the internet,” says Nicki.

She explains that one thing to consider in picking your flowers is your dress style, such as pairing elegant dresses with elegant flowers, country style with country style or trailing with trailing.

Popularity and trends can be other interesting aspects of choosing your bouquet.

“There are different things that have come and gone in fashion in the time that I’ve been doing this,” says Nicki. She notes that eucalyptus and trailing flowers have been very popular in recent weddings.



When it comes to floral decor, it is important to consider the place and the weather conditions if you’re outside.

“You have to take the wind into account, because it’s going to make a difference,” says Nicki.

“It’s almost impossible to do tall vase arrangements outside without it blowing over, so you need to think about maybe a lower, broader style of container if you’re putting arrangements outside. Make sure that you’ve got a place where they can be firmly attached if you’re putting them onto an archway or something like that.”

“Challenge us,” says Nicki. “We’re always looking for a fresh challenge. We’ve done a lot of wedding flowers over the years of all different sizes, colours, styles, price points. We love challenge!”

C&D floral is here for you and your wedding for anything flower-related.


Guide for local brides



Choosing your wedding music

I really don’t remember much from my wedding — mostly the things that made me laugh and how tired I was that night — but I knew I just needed to hear certain songs that day. If you’re like that, there are ways to make it happen. If your budget doesn’t allow for live musicians, you can always choose the handful of tunes for the special moments and have someone press play and stop.

Basically, there are three songs needed for the ceremony: the processional (walking in), signing the register (this song can be longer as this takes a good five minutes or so for the signing and photos to be finished) and the recessional (walking out). I like to tell the bride or groom to choose something calming for walking in and a peppier tune for walking out, just to help with those jitters everyone gets at the beginning of the ceremony.

Obviously, a generic theme of love songs is a good start when it comes to choosing the music, but if the couple have some special memories tied to certain tunes, that makes it all the more memorable for them. I really don’t recommend having a different song just for one person in the processional (i.e. the bride or groom) — you’ll only hear about a minute of it and the changeover can be awkward. It’s better to just turn up the volume a little bit in that case, or maybe pick a song with a few verses before the chorus comes in.



We’re not quite done with the ceremony yet — we can’t forget to entertain the guests! Having a playlist about 30 minutes long is great for taking care of before and after the ceremony, while the guests are milling around and visiting with each other. If you have live musicians playing, you can tell them who some of your favourite artists or styles of music are, and they can choose their songs accordingly.

Next comes the reception. Dinner music should just be in the background, as a lot of guests are enjoying catching up with one another and want to hear each other speak. These days, having music on during dinner might not even be necessary, as dinner is a great time to have the speeches instead.

You may need one or two special songs for the first dances (the couple with each other, then split off with parents) but otherwise a playlist does just fine, and even better — a DJ with a professional sound-and-light system. Then you know requests can be taken, the music choices adjusted according to how many people are dancing, and everything is taken care of by someone with a lot of experience. Nobody has to worry about renting equipment they may not know how to use, ideally the DJ has insurance to cover any revelry related mishaps, and it’s one less headache for the honeymooning couple to deal with later.



For hiring live musicians, keep in mind whether your venue is outside or inside and have a contingency plan in case of bad weather. Most musicians have played outside and know to bring what they need to deal with wind and bugs. Often they can provide a pop-up tent for an extra fee, but if not, this should be provided to keep the instruments and players safe from the elements as they will be stuck in the same place for a long time, often an hour between setup and takedown.

Placing them is also a consideration. Is there power nearby? Do you want to see them in the background of all the photos of the wedding party? I find that setting up somewhere that allows a sight line of the entire procession as well as the action up front is best, so musicians can watch for when to kick it up a notch, and when to stop the tune nicely. Off to the side or near the back with a good view down the aisle works well. Then actions such as getting the next music ready or retuning don’t distract the guests from the ceremony.

Many helpful websites exist with lists of popular choices for wedding music, and of course talking to each other and to the musicians who will play will help narrow things down as well. If you give live musicians about a month with your final choices, they will have enough time to buy or arrange and learn songs they don’t already know.


Guide for local brides



Outdoor wedding considerations

From a picture-perfect view to the relaxed atmosphere, there are plenty of reasons to have your wedding outside. However, you’ll need to take particular care when choosing your dress, shoes and hairstyle to ensure you look and feel your best. Here are some things to consider.

The ground

If you’ll be walking on grass or sand during the wedding ce­­­remony, stilettos are out of the question. For comfort and balance, choose shoes with a wide heel, or better yet, an elegant pair of ballerina flats.

The wind

A long veil, flowing skirt and loosely pinned-back hair can quickly get out of hand on a gusty day. Consider a birdcage veil and opt for a secure up­do style with beautiful pins to hold your hair in place.

The temperature

For a summer wedding, sandals and a strapless or sleeveless dress are the way to go. Consider a matching jacket or shawl in case it gets cool in the evening. For a fall ceremony, opt for long sleeves and booties.



Southwestern Alberta is a beautiful place to have your outdoor wedding, and many local venues are ready to accommodate your special day.

Castle Mountain Resort, Crowsnest Mountain Weddings, Heritage Acres and Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village all offer unique wedding packages that allow couples to celebrate their union while celebrating nature and the local scenery.

At Castle Mountain Resort, wedding goers can venture into the backcountry to exchange vows in the heart of nature.

Crowsnest Mountain Weddings uses SpringBreak Flower Farm as its venue. After the garden centre shuts down for the season, an outdoor area is provided for ceremonies and the greenhouse becomes the perfect place to enjoy a beautiful event while protected from the elements.

Heritage Acres is complete with beautiful grounds and heritage barns and buildings that can be rented for ceremony and reception. 

Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village offers a gorgeous outdoor space for larger gatherings and rustic antique buildings for smaller gatherings.

The nice thing about outdoor weddings is the scenery itself is part of the decor.

As you plan your outdoor wedding, keep trusted local business in mind!


Guide for local brides



Things to do before saying ‘I do’

Use this month-by-month checklist to make sure you don’t forget a thing.

12 months before

  • Decide on the type of wedding you’d like (civil or religious, big or small)
  • Choose a date
  • Determine the number of guests
  • Establish a budget
  • Pick venues for the ceremony and reception (it’s best to reserve early)

11 months before

  • Make your guest list
  • Choose a caterer (meet with a few first)
  • Select your wedding party
  • Hire a wedding planner

10 months before

  • Start shopping for a wedding dress
  • Decide on a theme for your wedding
  • Choose an officiant if you haven’t already done so


9 months before

  • Book a photographer
  • Reserve a block of hotel rooms for your out-of-town guests
  • Purchase a wedding gown
  • Shop for the groom’s attire and purchase it

8 months before

  • Meet with your officiant to plan your ceremony
  • Book your entertainment (DJ, band, MC, etc.)
  • Shop for and purchase your bridesmaids’ dresses
  • Design and order the wedding invitations and save-the-date cards

7 months before

  • Create a gift registry
  • Hire a florist
  • Plan your honeymoon


6 months before

  • Send out the save-the-date cards
  • Book your hair and makeup appointments for the day of (and trial runs for both)
  • Book a hotel room for the wedding night if necessary

5 months before

  • Create a schedule for the big day
  • Decide on dates for bachelor and bachelorette parties
  • Shop for and purchase shoes, jewelry and accessories

4 months before

  • Reserve wedding day transportation for the wedding party
  • Select alcohol and other drinks for the reception
  • Taste and choose your wedding cake
  • Buy wedding bands
  • Shop for and order the groomsmen’s attire


3 months before

  • Purchase wedding favours for your guests
  • If you’d like a loved one to say or read something during the ceremony, let them know
  • Write down your vows
  • Decide on activities for the reception (photo booth, dancing, games, etc.)

2 months before

  • Send out your wedding invitations
  • Do trial runs for both hair and makeup
  • Give your music selections to the DJ or MC

1 month before

  • Finalize the schedule for the big day
  • Choose a seating plan for the reception
  • Break in your shoes


1 week before

  • Visit the desired beauty professionals (hair colourist, esthetician, etc.)
  • Practise reading your vows
  • Write out cheques to pay your vendors

1 day before

  • Get your nails done
  • Give the cheques to someone you trust to pay the vendors

Day of, Enjoy!

A woman with long blonde hair and a woman with short brown hair and glasses smile for the camera.

LRSD hires mental health therapists

The pair will be tasked with providing culturally appropriate and evidence-informed practices in crisis intervention, assessment, referral and intervention services for students and their families. Additionally, they may support consultation and professional development activities within LRSD.

Students and their families can access this service through a referral process with a school’s family-school liaison counsellor. 

Through this process, the counsellor determines if the student and caregiver will be best served seeing an LRSD mental health therapist.

If it is determined to be the best course of action, a referral will be made and the mental health therapist will reach out to initiate the service moving forward.

Colette, who is Métis, will be working as the Indigenous mental health therapist for the division. Her focus will be primarily on the Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek areas, given their significant Indigenous populations.

Colette previously worked within the school division as the family-school liaison counsellor at Livingstone School in Lundbreck. 

She provided support to students and families experiencing hardships while acting as a liaison between families and the school system.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in psychiatric nursing from Brandon University and a master’s in counselling psychology from Yorkville University, Colette has the experience and education to excel in this role.

“I am extremely pleased to be chosen to fill this new role and look forward to gaining knowledge and sharing experiences with individuals and families in the Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod area,” Colette said in a press release from LRSD.



Kristen will work in the northern and western corridors of LRSD. This includes schools in Nanton, Stavely, Claresholm, Granum, Lundbreck and Crowsnest Pass. 

Kristen previously spent over 10 years working predominantly for community agencies and Alberta Health Services. 

She holds a diploma in social work from Mount Royal University, on top of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Calgary. 

With a diverse education background and an affinity for helping others, Kristen is excited for this new challenge.

“I am looking forward to seeing the world through a student’s lens and helping support and nurture healthy and meaningful relationships in the process,” said Kristen in the same media release.

The mental health therapist positions are temporary roles made possible through the Alberta government’s Mental Health in Schools Pilot Grant.

LRSD recognizes the importance of having therapists available to its students and felt this was an opportunity the division could not pass up. 

“Oftentimes the ability to access these supports may prove difficult due to travel logistics or financial barriers,” says Holly Stewart, clinical team lead with LRSD, in the press release.

“Having Colette and Kristen join our division and be able to provide these essential services directly and in a flexible, timely manner to our students and their caregivers in the school setting is truly exciting.” 

Colette and Kristen will hold these positions until Dec. 31, 2024, barring any changes.

Womens' hands joined in a gesture of comfort

Increased demand for victim services, volunteers needed

Ranchlands Victim Services, the only 24-hour crisis unit in Alberta, is looking for volunteers who can devote time to assisting victims of crime and tragedy with their short-term needs.

In partnership with the RCMP and additional co-partners, RVS provides victims with emotional support, practical assistance and referrals to community resources for continued support. 

According to Shelly-Anne Dennis, executive program manager, the organization has recently experienced increased demand for their services, requiring more volunteers to provide victims with support. 

“We’re seeing more cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, which means a greater need for our services,” she says.



Volunteers typically go out to crisis calls and may provide court support, accompaniment, transportation and other means of assisting victims.

Supporting the communities of Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, Claresholm and Piikani Nation, RVS emphasizes the provision of a co-ordinated, skilled and efficient response to victims of traumatic events. 

“Being able to administer trauma support to victims of crime and tragedy in our community is a very crucial and beneficial service,” Dennis says.

The RCMP often rely on RVS staff and volunteers to provide support to victims and their families, while they focus on potential offenders, particularly in cases of criminal activity.



Part of the struggle to find volunteers comes with the rigorous background check that each potential volunteer or staff member of RVS has to go through to be accepted.

“You have to pass an enhanced security clearance, which is the same clearance as an RCMP officer, so it’s a very strict background check,” Dennis says

Employees and volunteers of RVS have a level of security clearance that exposes them to police files that they must keep confidential. A thorough background check is crucial in ensuring someone is suited to sign on.

These background checks are meant not only to look for criminal history, but also to look for anything that could affect work credibility or re-traumatize someone who was once a victim themself.



This could include a recent history of domestic violence, assault or financial stressors.

In time, Dennis hopes RVS can get more volunteers to maintain a full unit to service and support our communities.

“I’m pretty passionate about this job — it isn’t just a job to me. I love helping people and the work I do to help said people,” she says.

“We hope that our work decreases the amount of trauma that people have to go through and that eventually, with the proper help, they could move back into a normal lifestyle sooner.”

If you wish to become a volunteer with RVS, the advocate application is available online at




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Semi with orange cab drives on Highway 3 near Crowsnest Pass

Crowsnest Pass council discusses Highway 3 twinning

Crowsnest Pass municipal council wants to address residents’ concerns about twinning Highway 3 when councillors meet with Transportation Ministry officials at March’s Rural Municipalities of Alberta convention in Edmonton.

Mayor Blair Painter, who sits on the non-profit Highway 3 Twinning Development Association (H3TDA), added the issue to council’s Feb. 14 agenda, prompting a frank discussion about the project’s economic and traffic safety benefits for the municipality. 

“I’ve heard a lot of comments from people wanting to talk about Highway 3, which leads me to the point where I believe that our community wants to have this come back to Alberta Transportation for further discussion,” Painter told council.



H3TDA has advocated for the project for more than 20 years, according to a December 2022 Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) report commissioned by the association.  

Former premier Jason Kenney committed in 2020 to twinning the highway between Taber and Burdett at an estimated cost of $150 million, telling Albertans that shovels would go in the ground in the spring of 2021.

Construction on that span of the highway is now slated to begin this spring, while the province announced last November that it plans to twin the rest of the highway within 10 years.

Painter has long supported the project, and Crowsnest Pass’s 2020 municipal development plan states that “Ultimately, the improved corridor will facilitate positive economic growth in the community and increase safety and mobility for the public.” 



The MDP further states that “The [province’s] recent confirmation of the highway expansion and realignment project equips decision-makers with the certainty needed to make land-use decisions moving forward.” 

With the reality settling in, residents are starting to worry that the project might bypass the municipality altogether, Painter told Shootin’ the Breeze

The PwC study says the project would yield around $1.5 billion in provincewide spending on one-off construction costs, plus around $400,000 in annual maintenance costs between the Fort Macleod bypass and Sentinel. Regional highway maintenance would create an estimated three full-time jobs between Pincher Creek and Sentinel, while hugely benefiting southwestern Alberta’s agricultural, tourism, mining and renewable energy sectors. 

The study also found that twinning the highway would significantly cut down on head-on collisions by allowing motorists to safely pass slow-moving vehicles. 



A December 2019 planning study by the engineering firm ISL says the twinned highway would function as “a four-lane freeway” linked to Pass communities through interchanges at Allison Creek Road, Blairmore, Frank, and Bellevue-Hillcrest. The study further recommends another local access point through an underpass at Passburg. 

“In the ultimate freeway condition, no other direct highway access will be available for any use, including residential access, business access or field access. All existing highway access, including community access, will need to be directed to the local road network to the ultimate interchange locations,” the study notes. 

ISL’s study acknowledges that “previous highway [3] realignments have bypassed” Blairmore, Bellevue and Hillcrest. 

Painter said Coleman was also bypassed in the 1980s. 



Speaking at chambers on Feb. 14, Painter reminded councillors that “We’ve all lived here long enough to remember what happened to our commercial areas.”

Speaking to the Breeze 10 days later, Painter noted that local traffic is already much safer thanks to four traffic lights that went up along municipal stretches of Highway 3 roughly a year and a half ago. (The PwC study notes that highway collisions were 1.5 times higher on untwinned highway sections between 2014 and 2018, based on period data from the Government of Alberta).

The lights also make it easier for tourists and residents to directly access Crowsnest Pass’s communities, Painter added. 

The mayor said up to 25 properties and businesses might have to be expropriated to accommodate highway expansion through parts of Frank. 



The ISL study was less specific, noting, “The community of Frank is anticipated to be a challenging area for land acquisition given the residential properties and active businesses impacted by the recommended plan.” 

The mayor also told the Breeze that the project risks disturbing the west side of the historic Frank Slide, which is considered a graveyard. 

Bill Chapman, president of H3TDA, says the association hears Painter’s concerns “loud and clear.”  

H3TDA strongly supported Painter’s initiative to install Crowsnest Pass’s highway traffic lights, and remains committed to “achieving a balance” that supports rich economic growth for the province and the Pass, Chapman continued.



The province may decide to expropriate some properties in Frank, but Chapman noted that ISL “very clearly” stressed the need to protect the graveyard section of the slide. 

H3TDA and the province have hosted local stakeholders at multiple public forums, with Alberta Transportation officials meeting with councils from Crowsnest Pass, the Municipal District of Pincher Creek and the Village of Cowley four times between June 2017 and November 2018, according to the ISL study. 

Mayor Painter said he’s looking forward to confirming a meeting with Transportation Minister Devin Dreeshen at next month’s RMA convention.




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Fire truck parked on highway surrounded by vehicles in swirling snow after a multi-vehicle crash near Pincher Creek.

Two hospitalized after at least eight vehicles collide at Cowley

Pincher Creek RCMP are investigating a series of multiple-vehicle collisions on Highway 3 between Pincher Station and Cowley, according to Sgt. Ryan Hodge.

Hodge confirmed there were a few injuries among motorists involved in four collisions reported near Pincher Station between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday.

First responders closed Highway 3 near Cowley at around 10 a.m. Thursday, following a second series of collisions. 

Hodge said it wasn’t clear exactly how many vehicles were involved in either smash-up as of Thursday afternoon.



Pat Neumann, chief of Pincher Creek Emergency Services, said at least eight vehicles were involved in the Cowley pileup, including multiple tractor-trailers.

Neumann said two people were taken to hospital with moderate injuries. One was treated in Pincher Creek hospital and later transferred to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, while the other was taken to Crowsnest Pass hospital, then airlifted to a Calgary hospital.

PCES on Wednesday evening attended a single-vehicle rollover on a stretch of Highway 22 near Lundbreck and a multiple-vehicle collision on Highway 6 near Pincher Creek, Neumann said.



Hodge said charges are expected against drivers believed to be responsible for some of the pileups, as per Alberta’s Traffic and Safety Act, advising that the detachment’s investigation could last through the weekend. 

What is clear is that many drivers aren’t driving to winter highway conditions, which Hodge said are notoriously treacherous between Pincher Station and Crowsnest Pass. 

Snowdrifts had crept onto Highway 3 at Pincher Station by late Wednesday afternoon, but responding officers reported adequate visibility. Neumann said the highway was slippery near Cowley Thursday morning, adding that blowing snow had reduced visibility.



“People aren’t slowing down. They aren’t driving to road conditions,” Hodge said. 

Mounties don’t believe drugs or alcohol were involved in any of the collisions they attended, he said. 

Pincher Creek RCMP strongly recommend that drivers use caution on Highway 3. 

“When you see a snowdrift on the highway, slow down and wait until it’s safe to drive around it,” Hodge said.




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Laurie Tritschler author information. Photo of red-haired man with moustache, beard and glasses, wearing a light blue shirt in a circle over a purple accent line with text details and connection links