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Tag: John MacGarva

Owen Crow Shoe of Pincher Creek rides his horse as parade marshal leading the Calgary Stampede parade on the front page of the July 10, 2024, issue of Shootin' the Breeze

Shootin’ the Breeze – July 10, 2024

Get the scoop on what’s happening in Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass. Stay informed about local news, events, and community projects.

This week’s headlines:

Owen Crow Shoe rides as Stampede parade marshal

Piikani Nation RCMP looking for suspect in aggravated assault

Pincher Creek musician Aly Williams drops first single from mountaintop

Pincher Creek Swimming Pool celebrates 25th anniversary

Alberta commits millions to methane reduction

Co-op cybersecurity incident impacts local shelves

Town, MD of Pincher Creek residents urged to conserve water as heat wave envelops province

Acceptance and strength sewn into works of local artisan Laurel Francis

Editorial: Rekindling the news flame

Editorial: Calgary Stampede recollections

Embrace Summer feature section

Geat ready for the heatwave

Try a digital detox this summer

MD of Pincher Creek sponsoring free Weeds and Wildflowers guided walks

A taste of summer

Obituary: Gertrude Welsch

Obituary: James Tillack

Celebration of life: Dana Hungar

Pincher Creek Humane Society Pet of the Week

Town of Pincher Creek events and notifications

Frontier Canadian Recollections – Chronicles of Pincher Creek area’s gas industry Part 2

Plus local events, contests, concerts, community notices, job opportunities, service directory, Coffee Break puzzles and general information for Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass and Piikani Nation.

Dave Cox, reeve of the MD of Pincher Creek, sits at a table with a gavel resting on it.

New reeve and deputy-reeve for MD of Pincher Creek

Municipal District of Pincher Creek councillor Dave Cox is the new reeve.

Cox was elected to the position in a secret ballot amongst the councillors during the annual organizational meeting, Oct. 24. 

“I know it’s going to be a steep learning curve,” admits the first-term councillor. “But, I never like to shy away from someone asking me to do stuff.”

He replaces incumbent Rick Lemire, following a run-off between the two.

Elected as the MD’s Division 3 representative in 2021’s municipal election, Cox says he’s looking forward to the new role and ready to roll up his sleeves. 

“We have a lot of things going on, some pretty big challenges, especially with our water system … trying to get a reliable source of water to our treatment plant, probably one of our highest priorities right now,” says the new reeve about some of the MD’s priorities in the coming year.

“Road maintenance is probably next as our highest-call item and I believe our administration understands that.”

A former fire chief for the area, Cox is also passionate about seeing a complete twinning of Highway 3 to the Alberta-British Columbia border.

“It’s an important trade corridor. It’s a national corridor and it’s an international corridor with lots and lots of traffic coming from the States,” he says.

“We’re always seeing an increase at our intersections coming on [to Highway 3] so it’s something we’ll need to address.”

Besides the election of Cox as reeve, the MD also has a new deputy reeve. District 5 councillor John MacGarva was chosen over Tony Bruder in a secret-ballot vote.


Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


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Large tractor trailer leaves cloud of dust while driving on gravel road.

Resident concerns grow amid ongoing pipeline construction

The TC Energy Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) West Path Delivery 2023 Project has been progressing, and with it, the concerns of some MD of Pincher Creek residents.

This project, announced in 2019, seeks to invest $1.2 billion into 119 kilometres of pipeline and associated facilities. This includes current construction in the MD of Pincher Creek, causing some residents to express concern.

MD resident David McIntyre has raised a number of concerns, including traffic-caused dust on North Burmis Road, the condition of the affected waterbody, Rock Creek, and the treatment of local wildlife.

He feels there has been a lack of an opportunity for adequate public involvement in this conversation.

“I’m looking for them to finally listen to the concerns that they said they wanted to hear and that they said they were very receptive to hear two years ago,” McIntyre says.

He and some neighbours highlight concerns over the use of lands, roads and waters.

In an email to Shootin’ the Breeze, Rolf Brinkmann, a resident of North Burmis Road, said he and his wife frequently see heavy traffic from TC Energy, often travelling at high speeds. He noted that when he and his wife are seen working at the front gate, the vehicles slow down.

Brinkmann said high speeds in times of dry weather cause significant dust clouds that are “mitigated only sometimes.”


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Before, he and his wife used to go for walks on the then quiet road. Now, he describes this as impossible because of risks posed by heavy traffic.

“Although we are seniors,” Brinkmann said, “we value our lives and don’t want TC Energy’s contractors to put us at risk.”

Echoing similar concerns, Monica Field wrote an open letter to MD of Pincher Creek CAO Roland Milligan. She highlighted a number of concerns but focused primarily on the impacts of the dust.

“Once airborne, dust is an issue that profoundly impacts my life and enjoyment of living within an area characterized by its magnificent natural beauty,” she wrote.

Not only is the dust an issue for the human inhabitants of the area, but Field’s letter emphasized how dust in hay crops makes bales heavier and causes excessive tooth wear for livestock.

Furthermore, Field said, a lack of adequate dust control measures may limit and sometimes obscure visibility for traffic, potentially translating to deadly situations.

Regarding Field’s letter, Milligan told Shootin’ the Breeze, “We are working with [TC Energy] to make sure that the dust-control issues are mediated.”



These concerns are not necessarily echoed by all. In an interview with Shootin’ the Breeze, John MacGarva, an MD of Pincher Creek councillor, said the disruptions caused by the project are “certainly nothing abnormal.”

He said he has gone down North Burmis Road a couple of times since the onset of the project, and has seen TC Energy contributing to dust control and the project’s vehicles operating at a “very reasonable speed.”

MacGarva also noted that he’s had personal experience with courteousness when travelling along the road in question and, as a longtime logger, recognized truck drivers’ efforts to slow down when he encountered them.

“You’ve got additional traffic on the road so some may call that disruptive, but it’s nothing above normal,” he added.

Another concern among residents is what many feel is a lack of adequate communication and consultation with residents impacted.

In her letter to Milligan, Field referenced a Zoom meeting in 2021 in which the public was assured of inclusion in consultation meetings.

“We, impressed and thankful for TC Energy’s apparent interest and concern for area residents, were promised regular and meaningful involvement in planning for the upcoming pipeline construction,” she wrote. “But then the bottom fell out. The TC Energy-promised consultation never occurred.”

Brinkmann raised a similar concern regarding local involvement: “TC Energy’s employees should realize that working without residents’ involvement is not the best idea.”


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However, MacGarva has been “very happy with [TC Energy’s] openness.”

“Two representatives came in to council, explained it well and asked us if we had any questions,” he said.

“They were very, very upfront.”

As the representative for the district in which North Burmis Road is located, he said that not too many complaints about it have come to him.

“I think they’ve done a great job, and certainly my number of phone calls indicates that they have,” he said.

He described this project as “a necessary thing as were improving pipelines.”

However, some residents continue to raise concerns about the methods by which the company is going forward.

In an email responding to an inquiry from Shootin’ the Breeze, TC Energy reinforced its commitment to the community and to regulatory requirements.



“In addition to our consultation on the Lundbreck section that began in 2020, we continue to work with municipalities, stakeholders and rights holders to provide information on the project and have recently provided details on project mitigation measures such as dust control on unpaved surfaces to interested parties,” a company spokesperson said.

“We also work with regulatory agencies and update them on our efforts that ensure regulatory compliance, in addition to participating in any audits or inspection.”

The Canadian Energy Regulator told Shootin’ the Breeze that it’s aware of such concerns and is working to address them, with the primary objective of protecting people and the environment. 

“We have lots of tools and processes in place to make sure things are done properly,” a CER spokesperson said.

According to CER, receiving concerns from citizens, following up and having regular check-ins with the construction project is the usual process for the approval and progression of such projects.

TC Energy shared a document with Shootin the Breeze containing the project’s environmental protection plan, which outlines what some of the expectations for the project would entail.

On dust, the document states that, “Where traffic as a result of the project has the potential to create a hazardous or irritating level of dust to nearby residents, dust control on existing access roads will be achieved through the application of water or calcium chloride (or equivalent).”

Regarding noise, the document says the project site would “take reasonable measures to control construction-related noise near residential areas.”


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However, some residents, such as David McIntyre, are concerned this may not be the case.

“When you can hear a project miles away and it causes you to jump — it’s noisy,” McIntyre says.

In addition to impacts on the residents from this project, he worries about the impact on the local environment.

“There are people that feel that I have stepped beyond what I should in standing up for the area and its ecological integrity, its beauty,” he says. “What I would say that I am for is that I respect and love the natural integrity that I would say we have left here.”

Having moved to the area long ago, McIntyre says he was initially drawn by its “incredible beauty.”

“I happened to have landed in, and now live in, a place that I feel is threatened,” he says, and he encourages his fellow MD residents to recognize the voice they each have in the future of their community.


Large tractor trailer leaves cloud of dust while driving on gravel road.
July 15 photo by David McIntyre, taken on North Burmis Road, depicts the traffic and dust concerns shared by some MD residents since the onset of TC Energy’s pipeline construction in the area.
Livingstone-Macleod election forum panelists seated at table – five men and one woman, with white-haired female moderator off to right side

Livingstone-Macleod candidates make last appeals at Crowsnest Pass forum

Riding candidates in Livingstone-Macleod gave mostly stock performances at an election forum in Crowsnest Pass on Wednesday, May 24.

The United Conservatives’ Chelsae Petrovic and the Alberta NDP’s Kevin Van Tighem, certainly no strangers to political controversy in what has been a bitterly contested election, were distinctly on-brand, repeating, defending and doubling down on their parties’ campaign planks. 

A re-elected UCP under Danielle Smith would “embrace the renewed Alberta Advantage,” Petrovic said, warning that to vote for anyone else would jeopardize her party’s recent accomplishments — especially this year’s whopping budget surplus.

Smith’s erstwhile promise to replace the Alberta RCMP with an independent provincial police force “is no longer a topic of conversation,” the candidate said. Nor does Petrovic have “any affiliation with” Take Back Alberta, the right-wing populist movement whose Marco Van Huigenbos watched the forum from the back of the room. 

Petrovic, who told TBA founder David Parker in a February podcast interview that she wouldn’t necessarily cleave to the party line if she were elected, strongly endorsed Smith’s leadership.  

Holding precisely the opposite view was Van Tighem, who wasted little time laying claim to Peter Lougheed’s Progressive Conservative legacy for the NDP. Party leader Rachel Notley would deliver “good government you can trust,” he said, holding up Smith’s “unstable and chaotic leadership” as the mirror opposite. 

An NDP government would eliminate Alberta’s small-business tax, and wouldn’t add to personal income taxes, he promised. He was less keen to engage Notley’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate from eight to 11 per cent, although he said the increased rate would stay the lowest in Canada. 

The Alberta Party’s Kevin Todd, who briefly entertained a run at the UCP nomination, repeatedly positioned himself as an independent voice for Livingstone-Macleod, reminding the audience that his party doesn’t whip votes — unlike the UCP and NDP.

Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

Van Tighem took knocks for his untrammelled opposition to coal exploration on the Eastern Rockies. 

“It’s a terrible position to take,” Pincher Creek MD councillor John MacGarva said from the floor, drawing thunderous applause from roughly half the audience. 

Lougheed’s PC’s blocked regional coal exploration for perfectly sound ecological reasons, Van Tighem shot back, scoring loud approval from the other half. 

Another resident introduced himself to Van Tighem as “one of those entitled rednecks you despise,” alluding to the candidate’s 2021 Alberta Views article wherein the author paints a disconcerting stereotype of oil and gas workers. 

The candidate said the article’s subtext underlined widely held conceptions about a rapacious oil and gas industry — conceptions Van Tighem has consistently said hurt Alberta’s interests on the world stage — but the barb stuck. 

Petrovic and Independence Party candidate Corrie Toone were pointedly asked if they would support a woman’s right to choose an abortion. Neither candidate gave a yes or no answer, despite prodding from moderator Val Danielson. 

Toone and Petrovic each said “life begins at conception,” with Petrovic saying that, while she supported bodily autonomy when it came to vaccines, she and the UCP are “pro-life.” 

The most compelling performance came from the Alberta Liberals’ Dylin Hauser, if audience reactions are to be any guide. 

When the candidates were asked to defend their leadership credentials, Hauser was the only one who gave a full “with flaws and all” recounting of a life well lived, but also tempered by ordinary struggles. 

“What do I bring?” he asked rhetorically. “I bring failure. I bring hardship. I bring the ups and downs we all face down in life.”

His answer palpably won over the audience, drawing applause so loud and intense, it rumbled the floor. Many cheered as strenuously Hauser’s call to “vote for who you want,” rather than voting in the least offensive party with the most realistic chances of forming Alberta’s next government. 

Toone and independent candidate Erik Abildgaard spent much time trying to convince the audience that climate change was bogus, that pandemic health restrictions were draconian and that the UCP and NDP were fundamentally untrustworthy. 

Albertans head to the polls Monday, May 29.

Advanced voting is open May 23 to 27.

For voter information, including polling stations, see pages 9 to 11.

View Crowsnest Pass election forum videos here: Part 1, Part 2

Individual candidate statements:

Dylin Hauser – Alberta Liberal Party

Kevin Van Tighem – Alberta New Democratic Party

Kevin Todd – Alberta Party

Erik Abildgaard – Independent

Corrie Toone – Independence Party of Alberta

Chelsae Petrovic – United Conservative Party

Related articles:

Livingstone-Macleod Candidates Make Last Appeals At Crowsnest Pass Forum

‘Not Notley’ Sign To Come Down, Says MD Of Pincher Creek

Scheduling Conflicts Derail Livingstone-Macleod Election Forum In Pincher Creek

Pincher Creek Health-Care Forum Draws Large Audience

UCP Candidate Calls Out Heart Attack Survivors

Claresholm Politician Enters UCP Nomination Race For Livingstone-Macleod

Read more Livingstone-Macleod articles

Grey rocks/gravel

Alberta Rocks gravel pit rezoning approved

MD of Pincher Creek council last month approved a rezoning application to expand a gravel pit in Villa Vega, a subdivision in the southwest corner of Division 5, near the intersection of Highway 3 and Highway 507.

The rezoning changes the lot’s land use designation from agriculture to direct control by council through an amendment to the MD’s land use bylaw, advancing the proposed expansion to the development permitting phase.

Craig Anderson filed the application in August on behalf of Alberta Rocks Ltd. Council unanimously rejected a similar application by the company roughly two years ago, according to Reeve Rick Lemire. 

Lemire reminded council that the MD hadn’t approved the original gravel pit when it was sunk into the ground about 15 years ago. The lot owner shut the pit down after a sternly worded letter from the MD, but Lemire says the land was never reclaimed.

Alberta Rocks hopes to dig a new pit on the site to extend roughly five hectares. Anderson’s application promises to fill in the pit after it’s retired and then establish suitable ground cover to prevent erosion. 

The application says operations would run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the week, with no operations on weekends or statutory holidays. There will be no gravel crushing on-site. The application details a September 2019 sound test that showed “low sound levels” during pit operations. 

The application says the pit is “downwind” from most Villa Vega homes, but doesn’t include specific plans for dust mitigation. 

The application triggered a public hearing in October, minutes of which show Anderson suggesting he’d use dust-control products. 

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Five of Anderson’s neighbours spoke against the rezoning, raising concerns about noise, dust and unwelcome neighbourhood disruptions.

When council took up Anderson’s application on Dec. 13, Lemire said he couldn’t support the rezoning. 

“This project was denied two years ago,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, the same conditions are still there.” 

Lemire acknowledged that redesignating the lot under direct control gives council broad authority to impose strict conditions, but said the MD doesn’t have the resources to enforce compliance. 

“I just don’t think we have the manpower to do all that at this time,” he explained. 

Deputy reeve Tony Bruder also voted against the application, with Couns. David Cox, Harold Hollingshead and John MacGarva voting in favour.


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More from the Breeze:

Public hearing focuses on proposed gravel pit



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Male youth pins poppy to Remembrance Day cross held by female youth, while another male youth stands at attention, on the front page of Shootin' the Breeze. Alberta news from Pincher Creek area and Crowsnest Pass.

Nov. 9, 2022

We will remember them

Peter Van Bussel and Abigail Rigaux receive a poppy from Walker Anderson at the MHHS Remembrance Day assembly in Pincher Creek.