June 27th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 26
Community participates in beautification open house
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Anna Kroupina Photo
Pass Herald Reporter
Beautification is part of Council’s strategic vision for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, but they have had difficulty identifying just what beautification means for this community and the residents.

Beautification takes all kinds of forms that people think makes a place beautiful, such as cleanup, planting, signage, enhancing historical sites or visual art.

Because of this, getting community consensus on which projects to implement and which projects hold highest value in the community may be difficult, especially when process approvals, time constraints and funding questions come into play.

The Parks and Recreation Authority, an advisory board for the municipality, hosted a beautification open house to gather input on what residents want to see and try to formulate some sort of general direction for beautification in the community.

Tom Hopkins from Straight Arrow Consulting was brought in to facilitate the discussion.

The information collected will also be sent out in an electronic survey for input from those who were unable to attend.

Roundtable exercises

The first step of the open house was to identify past beautification projects that residents thought were powerful and effective.

Divided into five focus groups of four to six people, participants shared initiatives from the past that they valued. After the round table brainstorming session was done, all tables had a chance to review everyone’s ideas and vote on the ones that were most significant to them.
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The most endorsed idea was by far the Community Trail system, while other popular items were the trails through the Pass Powderkeg Ski Area, the Crowsnest Community Market, the flower planters along main streets and the fact that some unsightly premises have been addressed and rectified.

Next, the groups had the opportunity to suggest new ideas they would like to see the municipality pursue.

As the exercise showed, there are an abundant number of ways to make Crowsnest Pass a more attractive place to live, work and play. Popular themes included enhancing and extending the Community Trail, having murals on empty walls in the community, instituting green initiatives, .

While there were some common themes that arose, some individual ideas stood out.

For example, one participant suggested preserving the iconic Burmis tree in a bronze cast. Although the historic limber pine is not within the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass but in the MD of Pincher Creek, it was noted that the Burmis Tree still holds great significance and impact for Crowsnest Pass and could be taken on as a joint project.

Another suggestion was to install artistic bike stands along main streets. According to the concept submission, the purpose would be to “highlight the growing bike culture in town and encourage more people to cycle around town to do small errands. It promotes a healthy lifestyle.”
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There were also some divisive ideas, for example surrounding the two concrete and steel totems of a mother and baby crow are stationed at the East entrance of Bellevue and on Blairmore’s Main Street, installed in 1958. Seventeen people voted to restore the crows while a close 13 votes considered the sculptures “past their time” and needing retirement.

The beautification concept that received the most endorsement was to enforce the municipal Community Standards bylaw and address unsightly premises.

“Unsightly premises detract from our community and undo other beautification efforts,” indicated the submission.

Going forward

Based on the feedback received at the open house and through the online surveys, Straight Arrow Consulting will produce a 10-page report reflecting the thoughts and ideas expressed by residents to guide Council in project development and funding allocation for beautification projects.
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June 27th, 2018 ~ Vol. 89 No. 26
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