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Tag: Tony Bruder

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.


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Dry riverbed with intake valves showing

MD of Pincher Creek searching for water solutions

With a dwindling water supply and no real sign the situation will improve, the MD of Pincher Creek is looking at its options both now and into the future.

Among the possibilities are moving from current Stage 3 watering restrictions to Stage 4, which would limit water use to essential levels only, or declaring a local state of emergency, a move also discussed by councillors at their regular meeting Aug. 22.

Tony Bruder, deputy reeve and acting chairman of the meeting, feels the district needs to look at both a short-term solution to keep water taps flowing through the upcoming winter and a long-term plan moving forward.

“I don’t think this is going to be an only-this-year problem and we need to consider flushing out a capital project, while not rushing, for next year to mitigate this,” Bruder said.

Council will, however, need to explore available funding from the province or other sources.

As it stands, the MD is spending in the area of $8,500 per day to haul water from an outside source, a cost that could easily reach six figures before the end of August.

“I think we’re going to need temporary infrastructure over the winter,” Bruder continued.

One of the possibilities is an offer by the Town of Pincher Creek to connect to its water supply, until a more permanent solution can be found.

Another option discussed, but decided against, was to reopen standpipes in Beaver Mines and Cowley, something that wouldn’t result in any real savings compared to what’s being paid now for hauling water.

Completely unrelated but a potential impact in all of this is the MD’s decision to eventually add close to 60 properties near Beaver Mines to its system.

Could the eventual hook-ups be delayed with the challenges of finding water?

“We haven’t discussed that up to this point, but in my mind that might be a discussion to be had rather than add a whole bunch more people to the system,” Bruder said following the meeting.

“Most of them are on their own independent wells at this time. Why would we add the extra stress at this time if we don’t have to?”

Efforts to find a reliable water supply now and in the future affect not only the Beaver Mines area but also the hamlet of Lundbreck and the village of Cowley, where water for the communities is bought from the MD’s water treatment plant.

“I feel there wasn’t adequate information given to the domestic users here as it relates to the outflow of the Oldman dam,” Cowley Mayor Barb Burnett said. “I don’t know if that information was available to the MD, but there’s been a drastic reduction in the level of the dam.”

Burnett also agrees with Bruder that this year’s situation isn’t just confined to this year or only a local issue.

“I think it’s water management for this whole southern water distribution area … so it’s not just us.”

Smiling man with moustache grins as he shows a piece of art featuring mountains, while an auctioneer in blue shirt and cowboy hat calls the sale

Mental health fundraiser a great success

Twin Butte Community Hall was filled to capacity April 22 as people gathered to raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association. There were many light moments during the live auction while Tony Bruder put on a wide smile and showed items donated by businesses and individuals. Local auctioneer Frank Jenkins kept things lively as he cajoled the crowd to open their wallets, which they graciously did. Rebecca Feller kept tabs on the bidding during this part of the event.

The house fell silent as Jaime Mitchell took the stage to share her personal journey with mental health challenges since her son Zachary died by suicide in 2021. She spoke with raw emotion and closed with a powerful sentiment: It’s OK to not be OK.

Jeny and Phil Akitt of the Twin Butte Country General Store worked with Jaime and Scott Mitchell to host the event, the second they have done. The Akitts served up a dandy taco dinner to an appreciative crowd and Jeny’s face was lit up in a smile all evening.

Last year’s event raised about $5,600 for CMHA. While final numbers aren’t in yet, based on bids from the silent auction alone, the tally will significantly exceed what was raised in 2021. 


Smiling man with moustache grins as he shows a piece of art featuring mountains, while an auctioneer in blue shirt and cowboy hat calls the sale


Keyboard with large, orange key with pause written in white letters

MD of Pincher Creek hits pause on rezoning applications

Pincher Creek’s MD is pausing recreational development pending a review of the district’s land use bylaw.

Council voted last month to put off decisions on all rezoning applications for rural recreational development through the end of June, or until council updates the MD’s land use bylaw. The resolution, tabled by deputy reeve Tony Bruder, follows a recent spate of applications by residents and outside entrepreneurs hoping to launch tourist ventures on MD ranchlands, especially campgrounds. 

Ranchers who opposed a rezoning bid by the Waterton outfitter Blak Star Globes had called for a rezoning freeze at a public hearing last November. 

Council voted down Blak Star’s application in December, but approved a broadly similar rezoning at the same meeting. 

“The perception was that we were picking winners and losers,” Reeve Rick Lemire told Shootin’ the Breeze on Feb 8.


Wedding banquet view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


Lemire said the MD has heard from a number of hopeful rural recreational developers since the new year, prompting council to take a beat while it hashes out a consistent policy framework. 

Council had planned to update its land use bylaw, which outlines zoning, as part of its upcoming strategic plan — a long-term priority, according to Lemire.  

Seven rezoning applications came through council in 2022, five of which were approved, according to MD spokeswoman Jessica McClelland. 

“We decided that we couldn’t wait,” Lemire said. 

Council sat down for an initial review of its land use bylaw last week, drawing on the advice of Gavin Scott, a planning consultant with the Oldman River Regional Services Commission

The Covid-19 pandemic thrashed Alberta’s tourist economy, plunging tourist spending from $8.2 billion in 2019 to $4.9 billion in 2020 — a 43 per cent decrease, according to Travel Alberta. 


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But the industry is recovering — tourist spending hit $5.7 billion in 2021 — in part because pandemic travel restrictions inadvertently drew Albertans to camping spots in the Pincher Creek area. 

“There’s going to be lots of rezoning applications coming, so we need to look at them with a refreshed perspective,” Lemire said, explaining that council went through a similar process when windmills started to crop up in the MD.  

“We did a study that showed us where we wanted windmills to go and where we didn’t want them to go. So, we’re doing something similar here for campgrounds.” 

Developers can still file rezoning applications in the interim, but a staff report appended to council’s Jan. 13 agenda notes that “Council has the right to refuse them at first reading.”


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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.

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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. 

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

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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